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Peter Obi, “Our generation and those before has failed Nigeria”


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Most public office holders across Africa have continued to run governance anticlockwise, a factor responsible for underdevelopment and high rate of unemployment in the country, says former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

Aside making bad character the prerogative of the very rich and powerful, Obi lamented that these set of leaders in Nigeria have further insulted the sensibilities of Nigerians by failing to take a cue from organised system which they often experience when they travel overseas.

Obi who was the keynote speaker at the maiden convocation of Chrsiland University Abeokuta weekend, told the seven pioneer graduands of the institution, that their (Obi) generation and those before them have failed the country. According to the former governor, the surge in unemployment coupled with the failure in the country’s economy has become so huge, and compelling the youths to gird their loins and toe the entrepreneurship path.

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Obi’s address was themed: ‘Creativity, innovation and entrepreneurship: A critical ingredient for the development of Africa’.

Going down memory lane, the former governor recalled a lot of economic prospect the country had in the 70 and 80 and even up to 2000. Unfortunately, Obi noted that through greed, corruption and poor investment in education, the leadership blew away what could have put the country on a solid rock when placed side by side countries within its status at the time.

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He said: “As at 1980, the GDP of China was 340 billion dollars while their per capita was 107dollars. Same year, Nigeria’s per capita was almost 820dollars. In terms of savings, Nigeria’s reserves at the time was about 5.5 billion dollars while China was N5 billion dollars. Today, China has savings of about three trillion dollars, while Nigeria has 500 billion$. We must remember that China is a country with which we both started at the same time. That simply explains the enormity of the problems on our hand.

Obi noted that Nigeria is a country whereby the fate of professors, teachers, doctors and other intellectuals are determined by politicians who not only earn more than them for doing next to nothing, but often deny these intellectuals their entitlements.

Obi wondered how Nigeria could attain economic greatness as being repeatedly mouthed by its leaders in the face of dwindling budgetary allocation to education.

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Obi continued: “For instance, Nigeria today has the largest economy in Africa followed by South Africa. As at 2018, South African which has about 55 million populations budgeted 17 billion dollars for education. Brazil which has about 110 million population had 50 billion dollars as budgetary allocation for education in 2018.

“However, the education budget of Nigeria in 10 years stands at 4.4 billion dollars, and if we split this into 10 means about 14.4 billion dollars is being spent yearly. This is not up to the education budget South Africa spends in a year despite that her population hovers around 55 million while Nigeria ‘s is about 200 million.”

Obi therefore challenged the youths to embrace entrepreneurship, saying as against or industrial economy, knowledge economy is what would rule the world in no distant time. He urged them to perish the thoughts of jetting out of the country, but be ready to contribute their knowledge towards Nigeria’s greatness.

He admonished the young graduands to learn from global entrepreneurs such as Bill Gates, Steve Jobs Jeff Bezos, among others who started small but demonstrated zeal and determination, despite that they encountered challenges on their path to greatness.

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Obi continued: “Things are changing fast. Smaller countries are rising to the occasion and challenging the status quo. On our part, we are not going to do much; that is why you must take on that mantle of leadership and change the narratives. For years, you have been hearing rhetorics that things would change for the better. I’m afraid things are not going to change as much as we all expected. All you will continue to hear are rhetoric but no action.”

Earlier, the Vice Chancellor of the institution Prof Chinedum Peace Babalola, described the graduands as ‘stars’ saying it was not about the number but their worth. Babalola said the graduands were not only certificated but imbued with various entrepreneurship skills that would make the flex muscles with their counterparts globally.

Similarly, Miss Onemu Laureta, a graduate of Psychology emerged the Overall Best Graduating Student with a cumulative grade point average (CGPA) of 5.0.

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