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Retired Army General, and former Chief of Defence Staff, CDS, Alexander Ogomudia has expressed grave concern over the prevailing economic situation in the country. He is of the opinion that if left unresolved, could lead to inability of government to pay salaries with the attendant consequences of social upheavals unless the government would continue to take loans.
General Ogomudia therefore canvassed that Nigeria required “great financial engineering” to resolve the multifaceted economic challenges bedevilling its sustainable development.
Ogomudia spoke on Friday, in his capacity as chairman at the public presentation/launch of a book titled “200 Most Outstanding Deltans” held at the Unity Hall, Government House, Asaba.
He said financial engineering was also needed to generate resources that would oxygenate the economy of the nation, as well as the foreign reserves needed for the country to interface with the global economic system.
According to the former CDS, “We were told that Nigeria needs a total of ₦13.57 trillion naira to run as a country, but we are barely able to generate ₦5.5 trillion naira in revenue out of which, last year, we spent ₦4.2 trillion naira on debt servicing thus leaving only ₦1.3 trillion naira as against ₦13.57 trillion which we needed to run the country.
“You will agree with me that resolving this kind of economic challenge will require great financial engineering.
“This kind of engineering is also needed to generate resources we need to run our country and the foreign reserves needed for us to interface with the global economic system.
“This situation, if left unresolved, could lead to inability of government to pay salaries with the attendant consequences of social upheavals unless we are going to continue to take loans”.
Speaking on the book jointly authored by Pastors Powell Tos, Kennedy Bienose, and Nelson Egware, Ogomudia described the publication as a power house of individuals whose personal achievements were truly outstanding.
According to the chairman, the public presentation/launch of the book, by implication, speaks to the subject of development, be it in Delta State, some other states, or in Nigeria generally, as a country.
“To some people, the event of today is an ordinary one; but to me, it is unique and special since it mirrors a perspective to development which recognises achievements, hard work, and the idealism of performance per excellence.
“From the names of those who made the list in this first edition, it is clear that putting the list together, like the Secretary said, is a herculean task.
“I am aware that Delta State parades some of the best talents in this country. Therefore, the list would have been a lot longer than what we have now, but I believe that subsequent editions, like the Secretary said, would definitely address all that have been ommitted,” he said.
While congratulating the outstanding personalities, Ogomudia noted that their recognition through the publication, was a further manifestation of a little mustard seed which, he noted, was planted by Governor Ibori at the onset of democratic governance in 1999. According to him, Ibori set the stage for the recognition of Deltans who were able to make it to the top of their careers.
“Today’s event, therefore, marks another dimension in performance and recognition of individual achievements since it has some historical perspectives through the launching of this book.
“The 200 outstanding Deltans who made the list, have made history today. Indeed, their achievements and joint contributions made today’s event possible. If they didn’t achieve, l am sure nobody will waste his time trying to put together a list,” he stated.
Ogomudia posited that “occasions like this, work for our youth because they are our hope for the future”, adding that they must recognise that the profound challenges of the future which stretched before them were enormous.
“To this extent, you must note that every generation has its own challenges and yours, l doubt, if it could be an exception.
“If you are prepared to play any role of your own which of course, you must do, you must recognise that the future is already here with most economies now being technologically driven.
“In addition, competition for the best jobs and industries will come from the cutting edge technologies which you must endeavour to play a role.
“The challenges will also include mind boggling inventions that are coming up daily which are also knowledge-driven for which you must prepare yourself adequately,” Ogomudia counselled. He said the event should serve as a catalyst that would spur the youth into working hard in order to meet the challenges ahead.
In his remarks, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa thanked the authors of the book for their painstaking efforts in putting the book together.
The Governor who was represented by his deputy, Kingsley Otuaro, noted that in a population of about six million people that are outstanding in their different respect, picking 200 most outstanding “is undoubtedly, a very painstaking work.”
“l want to use this opportunity to say that whoever that is there, is there in a representative capacity of the fact that we are all true Deltans and we are all winners,” he added.
Earlier in his welcome speech, the Secretary of the organising committee, Pastor Kennedy Bienose, described the book as a document for posterity. Disclosing that there would be subsequent editions, Bienose also hinted that the e-version of the book would be available soon.
The book reviewer, Godfrey Ubaka, Editor-In-Chief of The Pointer Newspaper, said the book, which was lucidly presented, was aimed at celebrating excellence.
The highlight of the ceremony was the unveiling of the book by the Minority Leader of the House of Representatives, Ndudi Elumelu, and Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Sheriff Oborevwori, among other dignitaries.