Former Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State on Saturday in Abakaliki, the capital of Ebonyi State, said that Nigeria had failed as a country.
He stated this during the 2017 Independence Anniversary Lecture at the Akanu-Ibiam International Conference Centre where he spoke on the topic “Change and changing Nigeria through harnessing of investment potentials of Ebonyi state: yesterday, today and tomorrow” as a guest lecturer.
According to him, Nigeria was still operating in the past with no qualified leader to revitalize the economy, adding that the nation’s situation is due to cumulative leadership failure from independence in 1960.
The former governor also noted that except the leadership challenges of the country are addressed, more agitations like the recent by the Biafra Secessionist Group, Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) would emerge.
“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 added
He noted that jobs need to be created for unemployed youths so as to stop them from engaging in 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,” Obi 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,” he added.
He called on the government to ensure that the Sustainable Development Goals are mainstreamed in the country’s development agenda.
“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.”
“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.