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AJAOKUTAREVIVAL: We Know Those Who Want To Tie Down This Country. Sen. Smart Adeyemi.

 

Senator Smart Adeyemi is the senator representing Kogi West Senatorial District. In a recent interview, the senator lamented bitterly on the neglection of Ajaokuta Iron and Steel Complex in the 2022 budget.

During the interview;

Interviewer: Ajaokuta is one the commodities in Nigeria that is very prime when we talk about mineral resources and you’re also a member of this committee, we were just talking about funding, chairman was talking about special funding. Somebody who is from that area, now you’re a senator, how would you want to look at  that aspect of helping the mineral development sector to develop, special funding from the government.

Senator Smart Adeyemi: Well like I said in the cause of our deliberation, I think more than any time in the history of our nation, we need to start looking at the mode of declaring budget in Nigeria. A good budget must not be just for expenditures. A good budget must be a budget that is targeted towards wealth creation, so that it can provide job for people and it can help to accelerate the economy of your nation.

Today the kind of budgetary system we have is that of the one we inherited from the military, it’s not a democratic budgetary system that we have. A democratic budgetary system us that system that will allow inputs from looks and crannies of the country of issues of national interest, first and foremost.

In essence, if you had asked us in Kogi State what’s our need in terms of 2022 budget, we’ll tell you to come and come and complete Ajaokuta Iron And Steel Complex. Not for the sake of Kogi State but Nigeria itself. This is a complex that’ll provide about Sixty Thousand (60,000) jobs, about Twenty Thousand (20,000) Engineers And Technician. And we ask a question, the economy team of Mr. President, are they Nigerians? If they are Nigerians, it means they are not in tune with the reality of this country today. Today we have a large army of unemployed people and you’re bringing a budget that is so annoying, so questionable, so dubious?
Now how do you justify a Ministry in Nigeria that is asking for the Senate to approve of a Eighty Two Billion Naira (N82,000,000,000) to buy nets, mosquito nets? Thisis  money that is more than enough to kick-start or at least give an appreciable improvement on Iron And Steel Complex. And I think first and foremost, we need to have a Ministry For Steel Development in Nigeria.

Just a State not quite far from here, let me be specific, Kaduna State, they just completed a plant for steel development production in Kaduna state. Nigeria is a country where people do not address issues the way they are. The economic team of Mr. President, I don’t think they’re in terms with the vision of the Buhari government itself, because I cannot see any economic team preparing a budget and not looking at job creation, wealth creation, in a nation where we have a large army of younger ones who have no job? A country that is coping with the global economy recession? You’re not looking at how you’re going to improve your foreign exchange earnings? You’re asking us to come and approve N82Billion to buy net, those ministers should be sent to jail.

 

Assuming the National Assembly decides to compromise and approve it, let the mosquitoes kill us, if we’re going to put N82billion to stop mosquitoes, we have enough herbs in Nigeria to take care of ourselves, we grew up with herbs and we are still alive. It’s so annoying that a country that people are begging for three square meals, you’re coming with N82billion for us to approve to buy nets.

Now you’re leaving Iron And Steel Complex that would’ve created job and help to galvanize socio-economic development and bring new frontiers for technological development of our nation, we’re not thinking about that. Irrespective of whatever is the bigger challenge, I think Nigeria is capable of paying up and kick-start Iron And Steel Complex, and I think all of us who are here should mount the pressure. Iron And Steel Complex is fundamental to socio-economic development of Nigeria, technological development of Nigeria and wealth creation. We’re talking about we want foreign exchange earnings; we’re not developing solid minerals. So, who are the economic team of this President? You need to explain who are the economic team of this President as to whether they’re competent or they’re patriotic to hold such position.

Interviewer: Okay Distinguished, you have just told us about the challenges, talking about the advocacy and all of us putting our hands together, how does the senate lead this advocacy, because you’re in the committee, through your oversight, how do we do this to bring the change you’re talking about?

Senator Smart Adeyemi: You don’t need oversight on this matter, we’ve gone there times without numbers,  we’re talking about budgetary  formation. This is common sense, if the money is there then we can do oversight, if the money is not there, what do you want us to look at? We grew up to know Iron And Steel Complex, when it was functioning, I can tell you that there is no part of any automobile that they cannot produce for you in Iron And Steel Complex.

I went there about two (2) years ago, they produced a crusher, 95% of the materials of producing a crusher was from Iron And Steel Complex. The Technicians/Engineers in Kogi State, they used the materials on site to produce a crusher, do you know what that means? There’re countries in the World without stones, now if you produce crusher in 100s, do you know the implications of it? The implication is that it’ll bring the cost of construction down, because all the stones that are required will be provided locally and you’ll employ people. All these graduates, you’ll give them money to set up a crusher and they’re making a minimum of N100,000 per day, that is more than enough to take care of them and they’ll be willing.

Look, the problem of Nigeria is that we have some people who do not want this country to move forward, that’s just it. There are people who are wicked capitalist, visuals who don’t want this country to move forward and they’re scattered everywhere. Look, some of us who speak the truth, we speak here at our risk, because we know those who are involved, we know those who want to tie this country down.

Why will anybody in his right senses prepare a budget without talking about iron and steel complex, when you have army of Nigerian youths without job? And you’re asking us to continue to import steel from India? And you have your own plant here, is it not wickedness? How do you describe that?

This government promised to complete Iron And Steel Complex, now  this is sixth (6th) year of our administration, what do we tell our electorates when we finish Eight (8th) years without completing Iron And Steel Complex? We have a burden, we have a problem to stand up and say vote for me, because one of the things I said in the cause of my campaign was that we’ll work and ensure iron and steel is completed. Why would anybody leave Iron And Steel Complex?

The stanza of our national anthem says “the labor of our heroes past shall never be in vain”, some people conceive iron and steel complex and we’re allowing the place to deteriorate and to die, for what reason?

Those who have gone to court are highly placed Nigerians, who used foreigners as a cover to tie down Iron And Steel Complex, they’re Nigerians. EFCC should investigate those Nigerians who are involved in the sales of Iron And Steel Complex, they’re powerful Nigerians. These are people who can kill anybody, but we’ll not be afraid of how many killing without telling the truth. There are some people that deliberately do not want this country to grow. You think some of us came here to play? We came here to speak the truth to government; so that this country can be better for all of us, that is our position; it’s not all of us that came here because we have nothing to do. Iron And Steel Complex is key, fundamental to economic and social development and to everything you can think of a nation. Many nations are praying to have iron and steel complex that we have here and nobody is talking about it, they know the importance.

You guys should join in the crusade, if this is not done, then this country is doomed. Infrastructure isn’t just enough, you must prepare where people will work, people are begging for work. Nigerian youths are everywhere no job for them. So this is my position, so you guys should join us in this crusade, so that this country can be better, so that there can be peace in Nigeria.

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