The 8th Annual Public lecture organised by the Foursquare Gospel Church Nigeria in Lagos ahead of the Church’s 66th Annual Convention 2021 turned out to be a platform to interrogate unnecessary government expenditures that have put the country’s economy in a bad shape.
Speakers at the occasion also harped on youth’s restiveness, citing unemployment and inadequate investment in education among other things as some of the challenges fuelling insecurity in the country.
The event themed: ‘National Security Challenges: Youth Neglect?’ featured Mr. Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, as lead speaker alongside Prof Mrs Cecilia Oladapo of University of Lagos as second speaker while John Momoh, CEO, Channels TV was Chairman. Others include Dr. Kayode Fayemi, governor of Ekiti State, represented by Hon Oladapo Jinadu and governor of Lagos State, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, represented by Miss Mosunmola Sasore.
Obi, in his incisive lecture, did not mince word in querying the rationale behind the establishment of the office of the First Ladies in Nigeria, adding that it is an outright waste of national resources, while canvassing for the scraping of the same office.
“The cost of governance in Nigeria is too much, bigger than that of any other country in the world. Why do we have to have the office of a first lady that has to be allotted a budget of about N4 billion to run?
To face the reality, nobody voted for my wife when I was a governor which is the same with all other current incumbents, including the president of the country. Then, how can she have an office when we are happily married and are covered under my disposition as a governor of a State?
How can we buy about 20 vehicles for a First Lady whose duty is not enshrined in our constitution with huge number of special advisers, and other official staff on the government pay roll?,” he stated.
The former governor mentioned that the most critical aspect of fighting insecurity and tackling the challenges of the nation is good governance. According to him, if there is good governance, all the issues and discussion about security challenges in the country will be taken care of.
With an analogy of measuring development, Obi stated that Human Development Index (HDI) which has three dimensions; the high, medium and low, Nigeria is still at the low ebb. He categorised the index as lifespan in Nigeria which is at 55, and education, which shows that Nigeria today has the highest number of out-of-school children.
He additionally mentioned that with that alarming revelation, about 70 percent of them from the northern part of Nigeria had not been to school. The number three according to him is capital income. He disclosed that about 98 million Nigerians are living under poverty which is about 50 percent of our population.
Momoh, in his remarks, stated that the efforts made by Foursquare Church in organising the lecture highlights the role of the church in the nation building; a role that bothers on intercessory prayers to making empirical inputs to national conversations focusing on a contemporary issue of insecurity.
Explaining that the large number of the unemployed youths in the country as a recipe for disaster, he challenged the church that their prayers should be in sync with government’s ideas, saying that government is making great efforts but need to do more.
Chairman, Foursquare Annual Public Lecture Organising Committee, Rev. Theophilus Netufo, said the programme was not designed to speak against government but to support government in the area of curbing insecurity in the land. He mentioned that the focus was well chosen, centered on youths who constitutes the larger population of the society.
Also in attendance at the event was His Royal Highness Prof Aderibigbe Olomola, the Arakpanata of Itebukunmi, Ondo State.