Columns

May 28, 2024

The impact of the exit of NEIC (2), by Eric Teniola

Who else but Professor Benjamin Nwabueze (2), by Eric Teniola

IN 1965, when Professor Saburi Biobaku  (1918–2001), the deputy Vice-Chancellor of UNIFE advised all lecturers to support the party of the day, which was NNDP, a splinter group of the Action Group led by Chief Samuel Akintola,  Professor Aluko sided with Awolowo’s side of the Action Group who were receptive of the recommendations offered by the Ife group. Professor Aluko offered to resign and gave a three-month notice, the resignation was accepted immediately and he was ordered to vacate official premises as soon as possible, he left the university and joined the economics department of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. 

Before the January 1966 coup, Professor Aluko addressing a youth conference and tasked the youths to be less tribal and engage with one another to unite the regions.

Professor Aluko’s views on economic growth and public finance was less elitist and was to approach decision making by using the federal, state and local government institutions as an instrument of growing the national economy. Professor Aluko’s view was drawing funds through higher rates of taxation and tracking tax defaulters to generate government income. 

In interviews, columns and public lectures, Professor Aluko supported measures to increase workers productivity through better supervision and cutting of waste such as subsidised rent and allowances to government employees. These measures are capable of increasing government revenues that could fund policies to reduce unemployment and rural development. 

As oil production increased in Nigeria in the 1970s, Professor Aluko was still inclined to support the thought that the state can be an engine of industrialisation through funding of technical education, agriculture extension and infrastructural development. With a technical literate populace, the adoption and local reproduction of technology will be feasible. In addition, introducing mechanized farming will increase the income level of commercial farmers and the taxable income of government. 

Professor Aluko’s support for mechanized farming meant balanced assistance to surplus producing commercial farmers and technical and educational assistance to small scale farmers to become surplus producing farmers. Small scale subsistence farmers who mostly live in the rural areas will use some the additional income to buy more affordable productive instruments. A strong believer in planning, it became important in agricultural planning for the development of a locally initiated agriculture instruments industries to save foreign exchange and produce affordable instruments for small scale farmers. 

During General Ibrahim Babangida’s administration, Professor Aluko still steadfastly held on to the thought that the tiers of government had a major role to play in developing the economy. He was critical of the liberalization prescriptions of the structural adjustment programme adopted by the government. 

Professor Aluko’s trouble with Structural Adjustment Programme also extended to the multilateral institutions who made the recommendations and the Nigerian economists who followed the dictates of Western capitalist thought. Professor Aluko faulted the benefits of free market currency devaluation and high interest rates that came after the programme was implemented. 

Professor Aluko married his wife, Joyce Amomogha (September 20, 1934- March 5 2021) from Ekpoma in Esan West local government area of Edo state on Valentine’s Day in 1955. 

He had his education at Christ’s Secondary School, Ado Ekiti, 1942-1945, London School of Economics and Political Science, University of London, 1955-1959; lecturer, Nigerian College of Arts, Science and Technology, Ibadan, 1959-1962, lecturer, University of Ife,Ile- Ife, 1962-1964, senior lecturer and head, Department of Economics, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, 1964-1966 and  reader in Economics, 1966-67, dean, Faculty of Social Science, University of Ife, 1968-1970, chairman, College of Humanities, University of Ife, 1972-1973, appointed Professor and head, Department of Economics, University of Ife, Nigeria, 1967.

To be concluded