As the Nigerian Economic Group (NESG) opens its 28th summit in Abuja on Monday, the group’s chairman, Mr Asue Ighodalo, has stepped down.
Mr Ighodalo said his decision was in keeping with the group’s long tradition and also announced the erstwhile first vice-chairman, Mr Niyi Yusuf, as the new chairman.
“Having served two terms of two years each, and in keeping with our almost three decades tradition of seamless governance transition, at the end of this summit, I step down as chairman,” Mr Ighodalo explained.
Accordingly, at our last NESG board meeting, Mr Yusuf, who served as my first vice-chairman, was elected to succeed me as chairman.
“Niyi, the managing director of Verraki Africa, is one of the distinguished global leaders at the NESG and has served practically all “paying to serve” roles for over more than a decade,” he said.
Mr Ighodalo said Osagie Okunbor would assist the new chairman as first vice-chairman, Boye Okunsanya as second vice-chairman and Amina Maina as third vice-chairman.
“It has been my pleasure, privilege and honour to serve as the chairman of the NESG,” he said.
Mr Ighodalo called for transforming the Nigerian economy into “the complete opposite of what it is today.”
He called on leaders to concern themselves with how to grow the economy to about 20 times its present size.
“Successful national turnarounds start first with addressing basic internal problems and fixing them, and then settling the country’s sights on externally driven growth possibilities,” he stated. “We must start by achieving macroeconomic stability as this is the foundation of economic growth.”
According to him, our economic competitiveness is weak.
“Simply put, we do not produce enough for ourselves and cannot produce for the world. We must take active steps to multiply our productive output, particularly in those areas that support foreign exchange earnings and enhance livelihoods,” said the NESG chair.
Mr Ighodalo called for effective steps to address all areas of waste, leakage, theft and graft, adding that gas flaring must stop.
“Only a nation that does not take itself seriously will cry out year after year for power but continue to fritter away a resource that can deliver that power,” added Mr Ighodalo. “We must think through ingenious ways of fixing and strengthening our institutions, paying particular attention to our civil service and judiciary, and changing the attitude and temperament of those who work in those institutions.”
He urged the government to tackle national security issues with renewed vigour, noting that “a prosperous Nigeria cannot be created without decisively dealing with our security problems.”