By Ola Ajayi
As eminent Nigerians assembled in Ibadan to celebrate the former Governor of Oyo State, Senator Abiola Ajimobi at 70, Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, former governor of Osun State, has said for the economy to improve, the rich in the country “must be taxed mercilessly”.
According to him, to help lift the poor from the mud of poverty, the rich would have to pay more than they are paying as taxes.
He said this at the second Abiola Ajimobi roundtable to mark the 70th birthday of the former governor.
His views, which he said he presented as Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola and not as Minister of Interior, however, drew the ire of Mrs Ibukunoluwa Awosika, one of the discussants who asked why the rich had to be punished for striving hard, in the same difficult environment where the poor are.
The Guest Speaker, Prof Ayo Olukotun, who spoke on the topic entitled, ” Managing the Dynamics of Nigeria’s Advancement: The Socio-Economic options”, said, ” previous sections of this paper, some ideas were canvassed concerning remedial initiatives that can soften our plight and turn us off dreadful scenarios of predicted high and increasing population growth, in the midst of slow growth and dwindling resources. I intend to bring together these ideas in this section so that it can serve as a sort of prospectus of necessary reforms and a compass for charting our way out of what looks like a forest of a thousand demons”.
“However much we dislike the idea of arresting uncontrolled surge in population, we must now consider putting life into policies and institutions which already exist but allowed to lie fallow.”
“According to a recent report, almost 70% of existing families have large family sizes of 6 or more persons. Consequently, government must now consider how best to incentivize the raising of small families and organizing sanctions for those who depart from that norm.
“The projection of almost 260 million by 2030 should jerk us awake from the current inertia. Similarly, extant but ineffective institutions such as the National Council on Population Management should be forced awake from their slumber to carry out the activities prescribed for them.”