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Nigeria@60: Why Nigerians are disappointed with governance: Minister, economist, others

Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Honourable Minister for Works and Housing Photo: FMIC

*Governance is not magic; looking for Federal Government or a magic President is why we seem to have been disappointed ─Babatunde Fashola, Honourable Minister for Works and Housing

*Nigerians must be granted freer access to loans if financial inclusion is to be deepened in the economy, says Mr. Atedo Peterside, investment banker and pioneer StanbicIBTC Chief

*There are no healthcare facilities, policies targeted at older persons as most community healthcare centres are not functioning ─COSROPIN President  

Isola Moses | ConsumerConnect

While stressing that governance is not magic and the results the people promptly need can only be delivered by state and local government which are the closest to grassroots, Mr. Babatunde Fashola, Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Works and Housing, has said that Nigerians are disappointed in the current administration because they are looking for results in the wrong place.

ConsumerConnect reports the Minister, who on the occasion of the country’s 60th Independence Anniversary stated this during an interview on Channels TV Thursday, October 1, 2020, said Nigerians should note that governance is not magic.

According to Fashola, the results the mass of the people promptly need can only be delivered by state and local government which are the closest to grassroots in the country.

He said: “Governance is not magic. It is the act of the possible and our responsibility is to always project hope.

“Perhaps those who feel that way (disappointed) should be made to realize that what we expect of the Nigerian Federal government lies more with the state government and the local government… some of the most basic things.

“What we should do is to focus on the government that is closest to us. I will urge people to go and read the constitution, the powers the President has are about 45, many of them are categorised as power but they are even functions and duties.

“The governments that can transform us and give us what we want quickly are the government closest to us – state and local government.”

According to him, basic infrastructure such as primary healthcare, primary education, among others which Nigerians clamour for, can only be delivered by state and local governments.

He stated: “Looking for the Federal Government or a magic President is why we seem to have been disappointed. We are looking for the results in the wrong place.”

Fashola, therefore, urged Nigerians to read the Nigerian Constitution to understand better the divide between the states and the Federal Government.

According to him refuse management, water supply, primary healthcare, basic education, etc., are all matters within the local and state government and the duties rest upon the state governors.

Meanwhile, Mr. Atedo Peterside, a foremost investment banker and pioneer Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of StanbicIBTC Bank Plc, says Nigerians must be granted freer access to loans if financial inclusion is to be deepened in the nation, report has said.

Mr. Peterside, while speaking as a guest on Covenant Christian Centre’s programme, said a large percentage of funds that banks in Nigeria have within their coffers must be made available for lending.

The investment banker stated: “We have to make sure that all the funds or at least a large percentage of funds that banks and other financial institutions have available are actually available for lending.”

He, however, noted that it is sad that a look at the balance sheets of Nigerian banks shows that they have huge sums of funds which are locked up in the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

“These are the types of challenges we are to solve” for the nation to attain financial inclusion, he noted.

According to Peterside, more important than just having money to be lent is the fact that the country must progressively enable freer access to the funds which will be borrowed by Nigerians.

He further stressed that “what should qualify people for credit should be the quality of the project they want to go into and less of how much collateral they have to offer.”

This is a long project, and the concept is something that various countries struggle with, he said.

Likewise, the Coalition of Societies for the Rights of Older Persons in Nigeria (COSROPIN) has lamented the condition of many older persons in the country even as the country Marks 60 years of political Independence.

Sen. Eze Ajoku, President of COSROPIN, when congratulating the country on its 60th Anniversary in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria, in Abuja, FCT, said the state of many senior citizens was disturbing.

Ajoku, who regretted the dearth of quality healthcare facilities targeted at older persons to assist them in the ageing process was not helping matters.

The COSROPIN President said: “There are no healthcare facilities and policies targeted at older persons. Most community healthcare centres are not functioning.

“There is no social security and incentives for them; that is why many people become nervous approaching the 60 years retirement age.

“There is no plan for older persons who are suffering from non-communicable diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, and some of them who are suffering from dementia are being branded as witches and wizards.

“So, the older persons are not enjoying any form of sympathy or benefit from Nigerians and government.”

The coalition leader, therefore, called for a comprehensive health plan for older persons, and urged Nigerian to rise to the responsibilities of giving the much needed care to older persons.

The government should begin to give discount for drugs of older persons suffering from non-communicable diseases, said Ajoku.

He as well stressed the imperatives of giving priority to older persons, noting that Nigerian leaders were dominantly older persons.

He said: “The poor, the needy, the frail looking older persons are appealing to the leaders who are also older persons to give priority attention to senior citizens.”

“You can get data of older persons in two weeks from communities through councillors who represent the areas.”

According to him, Nigeria at 60 has attained old age, and therefore, ought to rise to the aspirations of older persons in terms of healthcare and social security.

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