A SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMRADE OKPE SYLVANUS AT THE ONGOING ONE WEEK SUMMIT (HOW TO GROW ECONOMY) ON THE PLATFORM OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS’ RIGHT MOVEMENT.

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A SPEECH DELIVERED BY COMRADE OKPE SYLVANUS AT THE ONGOING ONE WEEK SUMMIT (HOW TO GROW ECONOMY) ON THE PLATFORM OF NIGERIAN YOUTHS’ RIGHT
MOVEMENT.
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My Fellow Compatriots On This Great Platform, Greetings To Everybody Here Present.
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When I was invited to speak on this great platform on how to grow our economy, I mumbled because I am not a trained economist. I was thinking such pressing economic issues should be brought before the internationally adorned tables of the likes of Prof Shanshudeen, Dr Ngozi Okonja Iwuala, Prof Soludo, Prof Pat Utomi and a host of others who have tilled the intellectual fabrics with dreadful economic credentials.
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Be that as it may, I could not shy away from this speech as the likes of Lee Kuan Yew and Hon Sui Sen who transformed the economy of Singapore were not core economists by profession and practice. In fact, Lee Kuan Yew was an English trained lawyer and an accomplished reformer. Mao Zedong who also transformed the economy of China and laid the blueprint for China to take over from America today as the greatest economy in the world was not an economist by practice.
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I must pause at this point to salute the organizers of this event for this catchy topic which is imperative in our country today given the situation we have inevitably so drifted into. Our situation has never been this bad. We are in recession, our economy is at its lowest ebbs and inflation is on the rise. Naira has continued to fall like the biblical walls of Jericho and the lives of the masses are at best in a horrific state.
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It is however not the end of the road. Our economy can be great again. We just have to start from somewhere like China and Qatar. We have to first understand our problems, what went wrong and how we were relegated to this sorry state. We didn’t start like this. We were doing well at the early stages of our colonial days. In fact, history has it that America once borrowed money from Nigeria in our days of bounty when raw materials and agricultural products were still given priorities.
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One of the reasons why our economy is this bad today is because of corruption. It has eaten so deep into our stem of existence, it has infested our roots with a dreadful disease and caused stunted growth to our economy. Our country is being chocked to death by this corruption. Right from the 1960s, our politicians have been disingenuous and highly avaricious, self-centered and egocentric.
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They only think about their families including the generations unborn while the others far from the corridors of power and their generations were left to wander despondently in an unmitigated misery. Our treasury is constantly milked dry by these cabals and a heavy straw is inserted into our bottle of riches to painstakingly gulp up its content. We are being intelligently robbed. If all the monies that accrued to Nigeria since 1960 was judiciously expended, what would be China and Qatar to Nigeria? We have the conducive environment, we are naturally endowed and we have the human power.
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Over politicization of issues is also needed to be nipped in the bud should we dream of resuscitating our economy from this Waterloo. Nigerians must emulate the Chinese and Americans. These two countries are more populated than us, they have different kinds of people. In China, there are different languages and cultures, yet, they understand that they have no other countries.
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Nigerians are too conscious of their languages, religion, ethnicity, and region. That has been our problem. We need to harmonize. Right from the pre-independece days, we have political parties that were region based. A section of the country don’t mind blowing up economic sources for political reasons and these unpatriotic and nefarious acts further impoverishes us with a delimitating effect on our economy. This ethnic and religious consciousness has so much impaired our sense of nationhood. It breeds favoritism and nepotism which contradicts meritocracy and invariably lead to economic melt down.
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Lack of patriotism and egocentrism. In America, after election, everybody comes together, work assiduously, painstakingly to contribute their quotas to the collective interest of America. In Nigeria, it is not so. We would want to place traps for them to fall so we could use their failures as campaign tools and grab power at whatever cost simply to satisfy our insatiable material libido.
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THE SOLUTION
Corruption must be stamped out. An apt, decisive and sincere war must be waged against corruption. A war that will not be poised towards the opposition and the perceived enemies of the government. A war that would not be fought on the alter of flagrant disregard of our democratic ethos and standards.
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Sense of nationhood must be culminated in Nigerians. We must forget our ethnicity and religions. They must be buried on the alter of nationhood. We must grow pass the politics of regions and ethnicity. We must embrace competency and meritocracy.
One thing that helped in burying our dead economy is borrowing to consume. A country that plans to build a robust economy must only borrow to invest. We should not borrow to pay salaries and pile up our debts without input. We should be thinking of industrialization. America is one of the biggest debtor countries in the world but it’s economy is still strong because they borrow to manufacture, sell and make profits. Not to consume and pay interest without any inputs.
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Nigerian Government must redirect it’s energy towards industrialization and production of capital goods. It will take years but we will get it right. We have the man power and industrialization will lead to massive employment which would translate to massive manufacturing of basic goods. We must stop being an importer of all goods. Our road transport and communication in the remote villages must be fixed to aid transportation of agricultural products to the target markets.
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Agriculture should be revitalized. Modern educational equipments needed in training world class scientists must be built. We must put an end to paper qualification.
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We must control inflation, budgets must be restricted at all levels and controlled, the value of naira must be guaranteed. Party affiliation must be killed after elections. It should die at the polls. We must continue on the previous government’s path if they laid viable blueprints for economic developments. We must not kill their initiatives simply because a certain party or person might take the glory. Nigeria’s interest must be primary.
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Loan facilities must be made available and affordable to young entrepreneurs and small scale businesses, we must diversify. Heavy capital projects should be encouraged. Nigeria is counting on our individual strengths and skills to be rejuvenated.
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Thanks for your time and attention.
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God Bless Nigeria

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