• Wednesday, July 17, 2024
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Nigeria remains poor despite abundant resources – Mimiko


Olusegun Mimiko, the former governor of Ondo state on Thursday said Nigeria still wallows in poverty and suffers from meaningful development despite its large youth demographic dividends and human capital.

He asserted that the country has failed to transform its human capital into asset to foster the needed economic and social development it is in dire need of.

Mimiko made this known at the honorary symposium held in Lagos to celebrate the 70th birthday of Gboyega Fatimilehin, the co-founder of the Diya, Fatimilehin & Co with the theme “Let us Rebuild: Future-focused Solutions for Economic Growth”.

The former governor said Nigeria hasn’t done well as a nation even after 25 years of uninterrupted democracy, stressing that its Gross Domestic Product and per capita income have significantly dwindled.

“Our economic trajectory has been disturbing. As at 1962, our GDP was $4.91 billion which was more than the GDP of South Korea which stood at $2.24 billion at that time. While we are still hovering around $400 billion, South Korea is now around $1.7 trillion with a per capita income of $33,170 compared with our own $1,700,” Mimiko said.

He added that what should be advocated in the country is development not growth as a country can be growing without developing.

Mimiko said Nigeria’s youth unemployment keeps rising, rendering many graduates jobless. He stressed that the government needs to invest in capacity development of the young population in order to turn it into asset.

“Our greatest possession as a country is our youth demographic dividends but we’re yet to turn it into asset and we have not been able to utilise this demographics to our benefit.

“There is a demographic deficit of young people in the industrial north and what that means is that we must invest massively in the education and skills of our children so we can take control of industries as they would be looking for people to take them up,” the former governor said.

As part of his future-focused solutions to the many economic issues in Nigeria, Mimiko stated that the government must prioritise agriculture and invest in it for more output in order to stem the tide of hunger and social tensions in the country.

“We must tap into the value chain of agriculture for more output. We have arable lands. Why not use them to our advantage?” he questioned.

He added that Nigeria needs to leverage on technology and incentivise local businesses for improved productivity and development.

The former minister of Housing and Urban Development said Nigeria is plagued with capacity and financial deficits hindering the development of the nation.

He noted that economic development can only be possible when there is security of lives and property, ascribing the low investment in the country to the rising insecurity.

Also speaking to the theme, Biodun Otunola, managing director of Planet Projects Limited (PPL) said Nigeria is in the construction stage, asserting that in the process of rebuilding a nation, the right people must be engaged for desired results.

“Nigeria needs to have engineers in the policymaking process, you can’t have an Accountant as a minister of power and you expect us to have power. The right people must be placed in those positions not just lawyers, bankers and accountants,” he said.

Describing the celebrant, Mimiko said the real estate guru is a dependable, reliable and humility-personified human, revealing that the celebrant has been his friend right from their university days in Ife and is his friends of all seasons.

“Gboyega is a compassionate entrepreneur, philanthropist, a world class realtor, lover of God who personifies the leadership persona that our nation needs,” he said.

Gboyega Fatimilehin is an accomplished estate surveyor and valuer with over four decades of practice. He is renowned for his humility and quiet philanthropic activities.