• Tuesday, April 16, 2024
businessday logo


Nigerian elite competing in game called ‘state capture’ -Atedo peterside

…As Ike Nwachukwu wants Nigeria decentralised

Atedo Peterside, founder of Anap Jets Limited, has said that the members of the Nigerian political and business elite were competing in a game called ‘state capture.’
He defined state capture as a situation where a country that is supposed to work for 200 million people, works for a handful of people.
Peterside said this on Tuesday while speaking at the 4th Nigerian leadership colloquium in honour of Ituah Ighodalo’s 63rd birthday with the theme: ‘Mistakes Nigeria Made’, which was held at the Trinity Church in Victoria Island, Lagos.
The former group chairman of Stanbic IBTC Holdings said that the political and business actors were working to ensure that Nigeria only works for them.
“The common trend that I see today, 2024, is that many actors; political and business actors, are actually competing at a game called ‘state capture.’
“The Nigerian state is supposed to work for 200 million Nigerians, but I’m concerned that this set of people are making sure that it doesn’t work for 200 million Nigerians, it only works for them- a handful of people,” he said.
Speaking on the theme of the event, Atedo identified nine major mistakes Nigeria made. This includes the first military coup in January 1966 and a counter coup that followed in July.
He mentioned the civil war, which led to the destruction of many lives and property in the country.
The Anap chairman also mentioned the introduction of religion in politics by the elite, lack of conflict resolution mechanism, enthronement of injustice and rewarding bad behaviours as major mistakes made by the country.
He added that people no longer believe in serving but getting reward from the office and Nigerians no longer believe in their leaders’ words.
Peterside also said that parts of the mistakes Nigeria made was the destruction of standards in the civil service by the military.
According to him, “We have never adopted global best practices of resolving crisis; the words of leaders are no longer their bonds; we enthrone injustice; we reward bad behaviours, among others.”
Speaking on the solutions to the country’s problem, Peterside called for electoral reform, advocating for the use of the National Identification Number (NIN) instead of Permanent Voter’s Card (PVC). He argued that the former has elaborate data than the latter, which enables rogue electoral officers to overturn the will of the people.
He also urged citizens to continue holding the leaders accountable for their actions, saying that the whistleblowers must not stop to expose wrongdoings.
He also called for a strong opposition to strengthen the country’s democracy and hold government accountable.
The event, which was chaired by Ike Nwachukwu, a retired general and former minister of Foreign Affairs, had Reuben Abati and Professor Olubukola Oyawoye as discussant

In his opening remarks, Nwachukwu faulted the current presidential system in Nigeria, saying that the system was failing because it gives too much power to the president.

He advocated that the country should rather be decentralised to give more autonomy and powers to states to control their resource to develop their state and people.

He further noted that Nigeria should rather copy the French system, where 70 percent of the ministers are members of the parliament, while 30 percent of the ministers should be appointed from people outside of government.

“The current presidential system is not the best for Nigeria, it has been compromised, we should have like what they have in France.

“We said 70 percent of the ministers should be people in parliament and 30 percent should be people outside government, the presidential system is not the best, it is expensive,” Nwachukwu said.

Nwachukwu, who was chairman of colloquium, further said that Nigerians must endeavour to avail themselves of the mistakes in the past, which may have hampered the growth and development of the country.

“The mistake Nigeria made is wide, it is good to know them to survive as a nation,” he added.

Speaking on the current structure of Nigeria, he stressed that there the need to decentralise government, warning that the current system was not viable.

He noted that all states in the country had the potential to develop with the available resources at their disposal.

According to him, “We must decentralise the country, every state would be in control of its resources and percentage given to the central government.”

Nwachukwu further called for electoral reforms ahead of the 2027 polls, noting that flaw polls was inimical to the progress of the country and lead to apathy among the populace especially the youth.

He said the youth of the country have tremendous potential that could be tap into if they are given a chance to excel.

“We can’t have election where is so much flaws in the system,  not only are we digging the country to oblivion we are denying young Nigerians opportunity to lead”.

A member of the panel of discussion, Reuben Abati, said that with the high youth population in the country, there was the need for the federal government to declare a state of emergency on education and increase investment in the sector, so that the nation’s youths can compete globally.

Abati further said that strong opposition in the country was crucial for democracy to thrive and for good governance, citing example with Senegal and other countries.

“Informed opposition that is committed to the common good and not name-calling is vital in a democracy,” Abati said.

He added that there was the need for Nigeria to declare a state of emergency on education to check the socio-economic challenges of the country

Another member of the panel Olukobola Oyawoye, a professor, called for attitudinal change among Nigerians and gender inclusion in governance to check the leadership crisis in the country.

In his appreciation speech, the celebrant, Ighodalo, said it was vital that ethnic nationalisties, stakeholders and citizens continue to dialogue about the state and future of the country.

He expressed dismay that some Nigerians who had lamented the state of the country in the past, failed to effect the needed change or take action to move the country forward when they got into public office.

The pastor appreciated Triune Foundation for organising the colloquium on his behalf, while appreciating guests and participants for honouring him with their presence.