By Suleiman Shehu
Ibadan – An Economist, Prof. Ibidayo Ajayi, says the high cost of governance in Nigeria is a major factor contributing to the high poverty rate in the country.
Ajayi made the disclosure on Tuesday at the 2020 Aquinas Lecture of Dominican University, Ibadan.
The professor of economics said Nigeria must take a critical look at the cost of governance with a view to eliminating various sources of waste in the economy.
“The amount of money Nigeria spends on governance is too much.
” The remuneration given to those in government as well as ex-governors is too much compared to the rest of the economy.
“Nigeria cannot sustain the high cost of governance and there is the need to bring a high level of justice and equity in our payment system to reduce poverty in Nigeria,” Ajayi said.
He also lamented the wide gap between the rich and the poor, linking this to the insecurity in the country.
The economist emphasised that the role of government was to improve on the economic well-being of its citizens, adding that Nigeria must get its priority right in order to grow the economy and reduce poverty.
Ajayi also called on the Federal Government to diversify the economy, saying it would be wrong to rely on oil to drive the future growth and development of the country.
“Agriculture holds the ace for wealth creation in our environment and we must focus on various value chains in agriculture.
“We need to focus on value-added agricultural centres for the development of agro-allied industries and manufacturing industries which are needed in our economy in large numbers,”Ajayi said.
Earlier, Prof. Anthony Akinwale, the Vice Chancellor of Dominican University, had wondered why Nigeria being an oil rich country had remained home to an impoverished population.
According to Akinwale, Nigeria is blessed with abundant resources that can improve the well-being of Nigerians if properly utilised.
He called on the Federal Government to make the welfare of the citizens a priority.
Akinwale said that Dominican University, now in its third year of establishment, would by 2021 produce its first graduates.