Prof. Pat UtomiBy Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
A renowned Economist, Professor Pat Utomi on Thursday disclosed that the biggest challenge confronting Nigeria at present is mental health of the youths.
Utomi, a Professor of Political Economy and a Management Expert spoke at a Lecture, organised as part of activities to mark the Inuaguration of the incoming Governor of Ogun State, Prince Dapo Abiodun and his Deputy, Mrs. Noimot Salako-Oyedele at the June 12 Cultural center, Abeokuta, the State capital.
Utomi who spoke on the topic, “Good Governance and Public Administration”, attributed the challenge to increased poverty level, called on political leaders to tackle the menace with all the seriousness it deserves to ensure a healthy nation.
His words “If you read the newspapers these days, you will find out that perhaps, the greatest challenge we are facing in the country today is mental health in youths. If you know of how many of us are suffering from health challenges you will marvel and we don’t have enough doctors.”
Dignitaries present at the event included, former Governor of the State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Gen. Oladipo Diya (Rtd), the Governorship candidate of the African Democratic Congress (ADC in the last election, Prince Gboyega Nasir Isiaka and the Speaker of the State House of Assembly, Hon. Suraj Adekunbi, among others.
Utomi siad, “If we reflect for a minute, we will discover that poverty is killing us in this country. How do we move forward in this kind of challenges, how do we govern in a time like this”
He added, “We need to come to an understanding that human progress in based on production, output. In this generation, we have shared revenue, fat bank accounts so we don’t know the importance of everything that is needed for production. If we have a production culture, you will know that it matters to produce to get the nation moving” .
For Dapo Abiodun to make the difference, Utomi urged him to tackle corruption, unemployment and security with all the seriousness they deserve.
He also advised him to provide quality medication , health care and constant training and retraining of civil servants.
The Chairman of the occasion, Mr. Fola Adeola in his speech challenged political leaders to learn how to submit their personal interest and that of their cronnis to benefit of the people.
He also challenged Dapo Abiodun who is to be the 5th Governor to administer the affairs of the 46-year old State to strive to become a better Governor “than all those before him.”
Dapo Abiodun in his response pledged to submit himself to the will of the people, assuring that he would invest massively in human capital development.
“I will remain humble, if it (humility) has gotten me this far, I don’t have any reason to change”, he affirmed.
“There are many challenges confronting our nation and our dear state. However, there seems to be consensus that, with good governance, some of these challenges will be significantly addressed if not totally eliminated.”
His view was that “Citizens have become cynical of government and trust which is an essential element of the social contract between the government and the people has been badly impaired.”
“Indeed, the wide gap between the potentials and realities on ground showed that there is a missing factor in catalyst and an enabler. I have no doubt that the missing link is good governance.”
“My commitment to serve you (people) diligently and sincerely as an appreciation of the mandate which you have bestowed on me. This event is therefore, another step to emphasise on the need to interrogate further, an enriched good governance of the next administration.
“The tasks ahead are daunting, the challenges are many, the resources are limited, yet, I am confident that once we have the most important currency in our people’s bank, which is the trust of our people, we will be okay”.
He assured “We will be accountable, we will be transparent, we will be responsive, we will be equitable and inclusive, we will be effective and efficient, we will follow the rule of law and we will be participatory”.
“These are non – negotiable principles that will underpin government operations and our definition of good governance”.
“Let me assure you that we will careful study and stick to today’s conversations and synergize them with other suggestions such as that of the workgroups’ reports”.