Nigeria is a very poor country ― Alasoadura

Says nothing special in being a Minister

Against the popular belief that Nigeria is a very rich country, the Minister of State for Labour and Employment, Senator Tayo Alasoadura, said considering its population, big landmass with its budget, Nigeria is a very poor country, and cannot be counted as one of the rich countries globally.

The Minister also declared that there is nothing too special in being a Minister, and thereby, advised his colleagues to work closely with the workers, with the respect they deserve and should not see themselves as in a master and servants relationship.

The Minister, who said this when the leadership of Labour Correspondents Association of Nigeria (LACAN) paid him a visit in Abuja, said the budget of Nigeria, with its huge population and landmass, is not up to that of London Bureau, a local government.

Unfortunately, he pointed out that the little that is available was stolen by the people who ruled this country in the past.

Alasoadura said, “How do you judge a country with about 200 million people with a large landmass and yet its budget for the year is about 10 per cent of the budget of London Bureau, a local government. We are a very poor country and worst of it is that people who ruled this country in this past were also stealing the money that was not enough. People don’t have work not because they don’t want to work because over the years, the private sector is being decimated.”

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He regretted that the private sector has been destroyed, while many of the manufacturing factories are being turned to churches.

The minister added, “The only thing I don’t agree with is that for us in Nigeria, we pray so much and do so little. Almost every street in the south has a church and almost every day, people have night vigil and yet, Nigeria is getting worse every day.

“Our brothers, the Muslims pray five times every day, just like Christians go to church and do night vigil and at the end of the day, we are still having a bad society. But we cannot say that because of that, we cannot recognise the role of God in our lives.

“In my 33 years of working life, I never worked for government. During our time, if you want to hire a Chartered Accountant to work for government, they will not go because the private sector was there, it was buoyant, it paid more and was more challenging.

“The private sector was challenging and everybody was happy. But gradually, it was being destroyed to the extent that today, some of the factories I knew in Lagos are now being used as churches. How can our people get a place to work? In fact, one of the things that has saved us are the churches because some of those people who cannot get anywhere to go are being made Pastors, churchwardens and stipends are being given to them.

“So, we are in big trouble and we need the cooperation of every Nigerian and let us think out of the box on how we can help Nigeria to get out of the quagmire. We are in a big mess, but with the cooperation of everybody, I believe there is hope, especially when we have a President that is so committed to Nigeria and will not steal money and will not allow you to steal. With a man like that, if we all rally round him, I believe that we can make Nigeria a better place.”

On his experience with Nigerian workers, he said, “One thing I know about workers is that they are not as bad as people think. If they see you as part of them, you listen to them, they can give you more than you expect. But the moment you think you are their master, they will tell you that we are all equal. I have always said it that there is nothing too special in being a Minister. You are first a man before you attain any position.

“So, once you know that the shoe could be on the other leg, then you don’t have to flout power. I believe that by the grace of God, because of my experiences in the past, and the will of God, we will succeed.”

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