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UN-Habitat director seeks new path to sustainable development

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By Jude Njoku

A university don and senior director with the United Nations Human Settlement Programme, UN-Habitat,  Prof. Banji Oyelaran-Oyeyinka has called for a return to the path of sustainable development which he said would guarantees improvements in the quality of life for all Nigerians.

Oyeyinka who is Nigeria’s first professor of Innovation and Industrialization Policy called on all and sundry to rise up to building a new Nigeria. The UN-Habitat senior director who will on Thursday at the NECA House Ikeja, launch his 240-page book titled Rich Country Poor People, regretted that Nigeria’s oil-dependent economy feeds perverse extractive institutions and breeds the Spoil System.

Oil-dependence generates “enclave” activities, which limits employment and stunts industrial manufacturing. The book launch will be jointly chaired by the Executive Secretary, Obafemi Awolowo Foundation, Dr Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu and Prof Oye Ibidapo-Obe who is a past president of the Nigerian Academy of Sciences and Vice-Chancellor, University of Lagos.

Prof Oyeyinka explained that “a dysfunctional oil economy built on weak institutions, low-level industrialisation, has undermined the development ideal. This convergence of factors has been at the root of widespread and rising poverty, and the unceasing trend of seemingly unbridgeable gap between the rich and the poor.”

“The book, he said, “over systematically analyses with an avalanche of data, a strong grounding of history and theory, the reasons why Nigeria evolved into a country marked by extreme social and economic paradoxes. It examines why a country rich in material wealth has large swathes of its people in poverty. Nigeria’s overall Gross Domestic Product, GDP has grown remarkably and its growth rate has been consistently high but its citizens suffer poor quality of life”.

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