A don, Prof. David Esezobor, says focus on wealth creation is fundamental for any nation trying to depart from poverty to prosperity.
Esezobor, a professor in the Department of Metallurgical and Material Engineering, University of Lagos, said this at a Public Lecture/Award Ceremony and Annual General Meeting of the Nigeria Society of Engineers (NSE) Lagos Branch, on Tuesday.
The theme of the lecture was: “Departing From Extreme Poverty to National Prosperity: The Veritable Tool”.
Esezobor, who was guest speaker at the lecture, described poverty as a denial of opportunities and choices to most basic needs of human life, with no fewer than 150million Nigerians in that category.
According to him, the problem with Nigeria is the focus on job creation rather than wealth creation., as job creation is not the solution to the nation’s economic woes or poverty.
“Yes, creation of jobs is good, but is only part of wealth creation. No country has ever solely industrialised through trading and commerce.
“The real problems in Nigeria are lack of economic growth and lack of economic strength necessary for development,” Esezobor said.
The don, therefore, urged the Federal Government to focus on rehabilitation and development of the Ajaokuta Steel Project (ASP) as a way to unleash wealth creation to the Nigerian economy.
He said that development of the ASP remained the bedrock of wealth creation, stressing that government should develop the political will to ensure its functionality.
Esezobor said there was the need for establishment of Metallurgical Development Bank for financial assistance in the discovering and development of coal, steel, iron and other metals.
He said that dearth of raw materials and policy misalignment were some of the factors which had pushed the mines, steel and aluminum industry in Nigeria into comatose.
In his opening remarks, the President of NSE, Mr Adekunle Mokuolu, called for more collaboration between the governments and the engineers to bridge the infrastructure gap in Nigeria.
Mokuolu said the three tiers of government needed to evolve and implement robust polices targeted at creating jobs for the growing population and entrench an era of wealth creation.
According to him, state governors, particularly the new ones, are to re-evaluate all the on-going projects of their predecessors with a view to continuing and taking them to completion, rather than initiating new ones.
“In recognition of the huge infrastructure deficit, engineers should lead the drive for infrastructure development in Nigeria in order to bring about accelerated development at the least cost and highest quality.
“I recently observed that the greatest of achievements are recorded during the worst of times. Hence, Nigerian engineers are seeking partnership with the government to ensure that Mr President’s vision is realised within a short period,” Mokuolu said.
Earlier, the Chairman of NSE, Lagos Chapter, Dr Musliudeen Agoro, said that the public lecture was to proffer solutions that could assist the government to overcome the current level of poverty and hunger in the country.
According to him, to lift Nigeria out of poverty, government at all levels must make it a priority to liquidate all outstanding domestic debts owed indigenous contractors across the country, especially in the construction industry.
reports that the Chairman, Nigerian Institution of Civil Engineers, Mrs Lolo Adetona; Prof. David Esezobor; Mr Gbolahan Yishawu, member representing Eti-Osa Constituency 02, Lagos State House of Assembly, among others were given awards at the event.
Edited by Edith Bolokor/Oluwole Sogunle