The need to be strategic in policy formulation and decision making, in order to salvage the country from economic decline, has been emphasised by the Founder of Centre for Values in Leadership, Lagos, Prof. Pat Utomi.
Prof. Utomi made the call at the fourth Convocation Lecture of McPherson University, Seriki Sotayo, Ogun State, a Faith-Based University, noted that the current challenges bedevilling the nation were indices that Nigeria is dying, hence the need for urgent steps to restore the country to the path of glory.
Speaking on the Topic, “Saving Capitalism From The Capitalists”, Utomi condemned the decision of the federal government to shut the borders, saying there were better ways of tackling the issue of smuggling.
He revealed that intelligence at his disposal showed that most of the big time smugglers were heads of state of neighbouring countries, hence the need to change our counter-smuggling approach.
At the event which held at the University Multipurpose Hall, recently, the Convocation Lecturer also drew attention to politics of the nation, saying Nigeria had never had an election since 1999.
He said: The poverty in the land is palpable, you can feel it, you can touch it. The unemployment of the young people losing hope is one of the major challenges. The incredible level of violence around the whole place, whether it’s in Northern Nigeria, where you can hardly travel anywhere by road, or kidnapping in the South-East or South-South, all of these are indications of decline, but we can turn things around, that is the most important.
“But we have to change many things if we have to make the kind of progress our country needs to make. Our politics is a disgrace, we have never had an election in Nigeria, we can fool ourselves, starting from 1999 I have the evidence, but the bad thing is that it keeps getting worse with every election and we keep thinking that somehow there will be learning and we can grow, but it keeps getting worse. So the legitimacy of the Nigerian state is essentially being eaten away and one day what results will be anarchy because of the declining legitimacy of the state.
“We need to be strategic with the way we do things, and not all these patchworks. We have just signed an after the deal and we are looking for open borders, free trade in Africa and we are closing our borders. Those things don’t go together. Yes, there might be challenges and there can be better ways of dealing with them. Why is it better to get things into the Benin Republic and smuggle them into Nigeria? What can be done?” Some of the biggest smugglers are heads of state of our neighbouring countries, that is their biggest personal business, and we know that we have information, our intelligence have these things.”
While also admonishing the 92 graduating students of the University, who were being awarded degrees in various disciplines, Utomi urged them to be focused, set goals, and work hard to reach their goals.
According to him: “ As you set forth, let me leave you with my mantra. If you dream it, you can make it happen. Dream it and make it happen. Good luck to your class of 2019. May your road be rough and the outcome moves our country forward and give you personal success and fulfilment.”
In his charge to the graduating students, the Vice-Chancellor of the University, Prof. Adeniyi Agunbiade encouraged them to be good ambassadors of the institution.
Agunbiade who described the graduands as the Elites Class, urged them to in line with the school’s vision, place a premium on their integrity, go out with strong determination and great enthusiasm to impact their generation positively.
The Vice-Chancellor said, “Our highly celebrated graduands of today have chosen for themselves to be called the Elites Class of 2019 Champions. This special set of our graduating students received this name because throughout their stay on-campus, they distinguished themselves in an elitist manner.
The Daily Times reports that of the 92 graduating students, 15 made First-Class Honours, 38 of them, Second-Class Upper Division, 31 persons made a Second -Class Lower, while eight of the graduating students earned a Third-Class.
Meanwhile, the overall best graduating student of the University was Osasona Sunmisola Ibukun, a graduate from the Department of Accounting, with a CGPA of 4.91.