Governor Rauf Aregbesola of Osun has said that Nigeria must not just exist as a nation but lead the black race in advancing African renaissance.
The governor said this in Ibadan on Monday at the opening ceremony of a three-day conference held in honour of Professor Toyin Falola, who turned 65.
The conference, themed “African Knowledge and Alternative Futures,’’ attracted prominent Nigerians, traditional rulers, academia and students from Nigeria and the diaspora.
Falola is a professor of history whose works have been published in journals across the world.
“Nigeria stands as a cardinal element in rallying other Africans together in advancing the cause of African renaissance,” he said.
Aregbesola in his paper entitled “Development, Good Governance and Productivity,’’ said the people and government must sustain a support cycle to achieve growth and development.
“The nation is poor and remained poor. This is because the people do not realise that civilisation requires people to support government from their productivity, while government provide infrastructure.
“The challenge of government is not getting able-bodied to engage in productive ventures and earn their living.
“If 50 million able-bodied out of the Nigerian could be engaged productively, the nation would have up to N1.5 trillion circulating in the economy. I bet it Nigeria will become super power in 20 years,” he said.
The governor said Ibadan does not reflect hosting a university with the status and calibre of University of Ibadan if not in anything but effective waste management system.
Aregbesola condemned the spate of killings in the country, calling on security agencies to stem the trend.
“Progress and development can only be achieved in a society where there is peace,’’ he said.