The governor of Zamfara State, Abdulaziz Yari, stated that the increase in the unproductive population of Nigerians constitutes a time bomb and must be addressed.
Governor Yari who is the outgoing Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum made this claim on Thursday at the Valedictory session of the National Economic Council which took place at the State House, Abuja.
He said, “We are sitting on a time bomb’’, however, stressed the need for urgent actions against the alarming increase in the number of unproductive population in the country.”
He called on the Federal Government to release fund for the expansion of the country’s agricultural sector to help end the menace of youth in the country.
“I will say, yes, the government has done tremendously well in terms of expanding the economy through agriculture by spending over N200 billion through the anchor borrower programme but we need to do more because we all agree that agriculture is the mainstay of this economy.”
“It provides over 80 per cent of the employment. So, if two trillion naira can be spent yearly on oil development we need to increase our spending on agriculture too.”
“With what we are seeing as governors especially from the zone where I come from, the rate of population growth, if nothing is done to address it, I am afraid Mr Chairman, we are sitting on a time bomb. And that’s the truth.”
“Mr Chairman, we have a very gigantic job and we have to start now. If other associations are doing nothing, we have to lay a foundation otherwise in the next 10 to 15 years if we did not plan properly, we will be faced with a serious problem.”
“I think even Niger Republic that is not up to the size of Kano State, they have their plan on the population; they know the number of people they have, the dead, new born and all. Mr Chairman, if Nigeria must move forward we must expand our economy”.
In his reaction on boosting Nigeria’s revenue, he said, “proactive measures must be taken to ensure that some laws are repealed most especially the ones that have to do with NNPC, the issue of Offshore, Royalties Payment and other issues”.
Governor Yari stated that revenue generating agencies of the government should be given targets, “with my experience from 2011 to date I think we are just giving them free hand.”
“We need to give them a kind of target even the NNPC itself. What the NNPC is spending especially when it comes to the issue of cash call, it’s in trillions but what comes into the basket for two hundred million people to share is very meager”.
Yari appreciated other Governors in Nigeria for giving him the opportunity to serve them in the last four years.
The Governor of Lagos, Akinwunmi Ambode, while speaking stated that the subsequent council should learn from the past Governor forum.
He stated that they related without political differences, he added that their objectives were the economic issues that affect the whole country.
“Considering the fact that we all came in when we had a backlog of salaries, I want to congratulate us because when we came in almost about 27 states could not pay salaries.”
“And then, two subsequent meetings led to Mr president giving us the intervention which also led to the clearing of the backlog.”
“So, we like to say a big thank you to the president and vice-president for taking us through that recession.”
Rochas Okorocha of Imo State who spoke on behalf of South East governors commended President Buhari and Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo, for their passion and love for the country.
Okorocha who stated that he would be missing his colleagues advised Osinbajo to stay away from Adams Oshiohmole and Nasir El-rufa’i.
“I feel like a member of the family when I look at my left and right, even the worst of them like the Oshiohmoles and El-Rufais even within this I still feel like member of the family.”
“This people I mention, Mr chairman (Osinbajo) I do not know why you share one thing in common with them. May I request you henceforth to distance yourself from them.”
“I will miss this chamber really and I don’t know where I will meet people like El-Rufai again to talk to.”
“All my colleagues especially the outgoing ones have contributed a lot today to what we have as Nigeria.”
He called on the Council to set targets for state governors so as to encourage performance in states.