The National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief John Odigie-Oyegun has defended the borrowing plans of the President Muhammadu Buhari-led administration, saying borrowing is inevitable in view of the current economic realities in the country.
Odigie-Oyegun said Nigeria must borrow to invest in infrastructure and grow the economy.
The APC National Chairman spoke on Sunday night after receiving a lifetime achievement award presented to him by the Warri Choral Society during a classical music concert the Society held in his honour at the Muson Center in Lagos.
Odigie-Oyegun assured that the borrowings will not be used to pay salaries.
“If you read the newspapers, you hear the President being advised to pump money into the economy. So the question is where is the money coming from? Simple! It has to come from somewhere including borrowing — both internal and external. To get this country going again, you have to pay contractors. Some contractors have not been paid for 4, 5, 6, 10 years.
“So long as the borrowing is done not to pay salaries which the President Buhari administration will not do, but invested to create opportunities, solve our problems of power and things like that. To allow people to have money to consume, to buy goods, to pay for services so that factories can produce. So it is that cycle. We must kick-start the economy and to kick-start it will need money, lots of money.” The APC National Chairman told journalists after the concert.
Odigie-Oyegun said the ongoing fight against corruption was necessary for the country to make progress.
“That is a task (anti-corruption) that must be accomplished because it is at the bottom of all the ills of this country. When you are corrupt, you are immoral, when you are corrupt, you don’t have ethics, when you are corrupt, you lose the distinction between right and wrong. When you are corrupt, even life does not mean anything to you. So, we must get it under serious control for this nation to have hope of making any progress.” He said.
Odigie-Oyegun who was accompanied by his wife, Victoria, said the timing of the concert came at perfect time for him in view of the gradual de-escalation of the political atmosphere in the country.
“I have had the esteem pleasure of being associated with the Warri Choral Society. I got to know that they deliver the kind of music that relaxes me, that transports me that comforts me. The date of this event cannot have been chosen more fortuitously. It is absolutely perfect, given the chain of events that have been reported in the newspapers almost on a daily basis. There has been a gradual de-escalation of the political atmosphere and I think this event is just capping it.” He said after receiving the lifetime achievement award.
Edo state governor, Mr Godwin Obaseki in his remarks at the concert said Odigie-Oyegun has changed the face of politics in the country. He thanked the founder of the Warri Choral Society, Mr. Joe Ayomike for his contributions to classical music in Nigeria.
“I am so jealous that Warri has a choral society of this international quality. I see it as a challenge that in Benin we will have to develop one. But we must support our brothers and sisters from Delta state. Tonight we celebrate our National Chairman who we are very proud of. A man who has by the divine intervention of God changed the face of politics in our country. Let me also use this opportunity to thank Mr. Joe Ayonmike for what he has done for classical music in our country.” Obaseki stated.
Dignitaries at the concert included the Edo state governor, Godwin Obaseki and his wife, Betsy; former Governor of Ogun State, Olusegun Osoba; former governor of Ekiti State, Otunba Niyi Adebayo; former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Rt. Hon. Patricia Etteh; Senator Domingo Obende; Senator Ovie Omo-Agege; Group Captain John Obakpolo; Captain Hosa Okunbo; Chief (Mrs.) Nike Akande,
President of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce; Senior Special Assistant on Foreign Affairs and the Diaspora, Abike Dabiri-Erewa and her husband, Segun; Mr. Umana Okon Umana, Managing Director of Oil & Gas Free Zone Authority; Olorogun Otega Emerhor; former Lagos State Commissioner for Health, Dr. Leke Pitan; Grace Egbagbe amongst others.
Members of the APC National Working Committee (NWC) in attendance were Engr. Segun Oni, Deputy National Chairman (South); Hon. Emma Eneukwu, National Vice Chairman (South-East); Alhaji Bala Mohammed Gwagwarwa, National Treasurer; Dr. Muiz Banire, SAN, National Legal Adviser; Chief (Dr.) George Moghalu, National Auditor; Sen. Osita Izunaso, National Organising Secretary and Hon. Dasuki Ibrahim Jalo, National Youth Leader.
Aliko Dangote; Delta State Governor, Ifeanyi Okowa; Chief Great Ogboru; Dakuku Peterside as the Director General of Nigerian Maritime administration and Safety Agency (NIMASA) sent representatives.