Former Governor of Edo State, Adams Oshiomhole, said on Thursday that former military President, Gen. Ibrahim Babangida (retd), owes Nigerians an apology for helping to bring the country to present level.
Oshiomhole also said current clamour for diversification of the nation’s economy cannot succeed unless it begins with the oil and gas sector which he said employ about 40 percent of the working population in the country.
The ex-governor, who spoke through the General Secretary of National Union of Textile, Garment and Tailoring Workers, Comrade Issa Aremu, at the 5th Triennial Delegates Conference of the Petroleum And Natural Gas Senior Staff Association of Nigeria (PENGASSAN) in Abuja, said it was under the Babangida regime that “the economy was restructured and the naira devalued.”
Oshiomhole spoke on the theme: “Emerging Trends in the Oil and Gas Industry and its Impacts on Labour Movement in Nigeria.’’
The former governor argued that a lot of misinformation was being fed to Nigerian youths that the country was too big and therefore need to divide.
He stressed that Nigerians must be careful about the ongoing clamour for restructuring and quit notice to fellow Nigerians to leave their current place of residence.
He called for review of the constitution to replace citizenship with residency, pointing out that indigeneship should not have a place in the nation’s constitution.
Oshiomhole said: “The discussion now is about restructuring and I think those of us in the labour circle must be careful about some words. I heard Babangida talking about restructuring. Although he could have been converted, this is a man under whose tenure, the cabinet was dissolved and for almost a month, he was alone, ruling the country.
“I thought that he should have apologized to the whole country, but there is nothing like that from him. But it is now fashionable for him to talk about restructuring. It was under him that the economy was restructured. He devalued the currency and downsized workers. It is important that we prioritize these terms.”
“What we need to do is organize and not agonise. Let us quit our problems and not quit ourselves. We are giving quit notice to ourselves and as Nigerians we cannot afford that.
“We are just victims of xenophobic attacks. How can we be looking for global sympathy when misguided South African youths are attacking other African countries that fought for their liberation only to come back home and be giving quit notices to ourselves.
“I think we should quit poverty, lack of electricity, import dependency, exporting crude oil and importing refined products and unemployment, but we should not quit ourselves. It is time for us to make a case for the amendment of the constitution in such a way that residency should replace citizenship, not indigeneship.
“There are many workers who have worked outside their homes for several years more than their home states. They should have a right to remain there, contest election. I think that is the way to go. Nigerian leaders should think ahead. Africa is the way it is now because Nigerians are no longer on duty. We must regain Nigeria for posterity. What we need is development and not disintegration.”