A former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has said that Nigeria has failed as a country.
Mr. Obi stated this in Abakaliki, Ebonyi State, on Saturday during the 2017 Independence anniversary lecture at the Akanu- Ibiam International Conference Centre where he was a guest lecturer.
The former governor spoke on the topic “Change and changing Nigeria through harnessing of investment potentials of Ebonyi state: yesterday, today and tomorrow”.
He expressed regret that the country was still operating in the past with no qualified leadership to revitalise the economy.
He blamed the country’s situation on the “cumulative leadership failure” from independence in 1960.
Mr. Obi said more Nigerians are bound to agitate except the leadership challenges of the country are addressed.
He said the recent agitations by the Indigenous People on of Biafra and other groups indicate that more of such would be coming.
“Whenever they talk about Nigeria at 57, I refuse to talk. My opinion is that Nigeria is a failed country, period. And that is why you are seeing so many agitations you are seeing today. The agitation is not ending, it’s just beginning,” he said.
“It is a cumulative effect of leadership failure over the several years of this country and you can’t stop it because you now have millions of young people in their productive age doing nothing, you can call them anything.”
He spoke on the need to create jobs for the teeming unemployed youth so as to stop them from further agitation.
“If you don’t have a job and you have not eaten food in the morning, afternoon and night, tomorrow you are a potential terrorist, quote me anywhere. The only way to stop that is to give them jobs,” he said.
“We are moving from baggage economy to knowledge economy. So, the country should stop dwelling on solid minerals because it is a baggage economy and nobody lives with it. This is what Nigeria is doing and we are still talking about oil which is already destined to finish one day,” Mr. Obi stated.
He called on the government to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are mainstreamed in the development agenda of the country.
“Nigeria should queue into Sustainable Development Goals (SDG), not in signature. The country is there in signature and it is the only country that got involved in Millennium Development Goal (MDG) and did not achieve one goal because as soon as we signed the signature, we threw it away and came here and started doing things wrongly.
“China put MDGs in their developmental agenda, they mainstreamed it in their developmental agenda and they are targeting to lift 16million people out of poverty but I don’t know how many people Nigeria will lift in the next 10 years because there is no such measurable goals, everything is done in confusion,” he said.
“Our reserve is weak today and we are not talking about savings rather we are borrowing more. In 2007, all our debts were written off and we didn’t owe anybody. But in 2017, we have accumulated a debt of $69 billion and nobody is thinking how do we get over this because what we are doing is based on nothing. We just borrow money and share,” Mr. Obi stated.
Editor’s Note: This post has been updated to better reflect Mr. Obi’s comments on Saturday.