Iweala, Duke, Utomi blame nation's ills on poor leadership

By Luka Binniyat & Adamu Shuaibu
ABUJA—FORMER Minister of Finance and Managing Director of the World Bank, Mrs Ngozi Okonjo_Iweala, yesterday, joined forces with the former Governor of Cross River State, Mr. Donald Duke and Prof. Pat Utomi of Lagos Business School, among others, to carpet the Nigerian leadership for letting down its people in the past 50 years.

Okonjo-Iweala who was speaking at the public presentation of Next Generation Nigeria Report in Abuja which they took part in making, said the findings which were done with empirical evidence revealed that youths were the worst hit.

She said the country urgently needed to create almost 25 million jobs over the next ten years noting that “the crisis in the job market will worsen rapidly as growing numbers of young Nigerians enter the workforce.”

Director General of the Nigerian Economic Submit Group, Chief Frank Nweke, Jnr. Who also spoke, said the country had wasted several opportunities at attaining development, but noted that hope was not lost.

Presenting the main report which was sponsored by the British Council, in which Ngozi, Utomi, Duke, Nweke and Lamido Ado Ibrahim (Chiroman Kano) and others co-authored, Nweke said: “During the past 30 years, the Nigerian economy has stagnated, in sharp contrast to the fortunes of such natural competitors as Indonesia.

“The 1990s was a lost decade for Nigeria with per capital GDP falling to below 1980 levels. At present, health and education standards are low, especially in disadvantaged regions and among the poor. Many young Nigerians are ill equipped for life in a modern economy. Young women are especially likely to be excluded from opportunities."

Youth, not oil

The report, however, noted that, by 2030, Nigeria would be one of the few countries in the world that had young workers in plentiful supply. It stated: “Youth, not oil, will be the country’s most precious resource in the 21st century.”

On the way forward, the report recommended that Nigeria needed to create almost 25 million jobs over the next ten years if it was to offer work to new entrants, and halve current unemployment.

It said: “Nigeria needs to develop the infrastructure that will underpin a world class economy, spending up to an additional four per cent of GDP on this task.

It should diversify away from oil, with an emphasis on sectors that will improve employment prospects for young people, while removing obstacles to economic growth and private enterprise. With the right policies for the next generation, Nigeria’s aspiration to become one of the world’s largest 20 economies is in reach.”

It warned that if the nation’s leaders made the wrong choices today, the country would suffer
the consequences for many decades to come, adding that her development breakthrough could be lost forever.

The British High Commissioner to Nigeria, Mr. Robert Scot Dewar, was also at the presentation regretted that Nigeria was yet to match much of her South East Asian contemporaries in terms of development in spite of its huge resource base.

The global boss of the British Council, Vernon Elis, in his comments said that if Nigeria invested in its young, it was investing in the future, adding that all over the country, young people were very acrimonious towards the political leadership.

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Comment by Mike Edo on September 9, 2010 at 11:27am
Sidi Babio Adamu, it appears you're sorely vexed! I don’t think there would be a formal organize revolution by the Nigerian youths. The latent consequences of our dubious & preponderance old greedy leaders are being felt around Nigeria as we write. The concept of state of nature according to Thomas Hobbes "during the time is men live without a common power to keep them all in awe, they are in that condition called war; and such a war is of every man against every man" (Leviathan). He added that in such a state any person has a natural right & liberty to do anything he deems fit to preserve his own life. Life in Nigeria has thus become "solitary, poor, nasty, brutish and short”.
Insecurity & fear of crime is now holding Nigerians hostage irrespective of age, class, religion or sex. Kidnapping, torture, murder & all sorts of vices are now being mercilessly unleashed on the citizenry of Nigeria. No one knows who will be the next victim. In Nigeria now, Man is supposedly ‘Born free but Everywhere He is in Chains' – Rousseau.
Take heart my friend, for whatever goes up must surely comes down. The very eyes of the few righteous & the seemingly helpless Nigerians will see the serial looters, the wicked & the greedy selfish leaders destroy by thunder from above.
May our merciful God touch our hearts for good & for His righteousness & fear to reign supreme in Federal Republic of Nigeria. Amen
Mike Edo (Crime & Forensic Psychologist) London, UK
Comment by sidi Babio Adamu oumar on September 8, 2010 at 9:24pm
When will men of integrity enter Aso-rock? determined people, focus having in mind the poor masses?,When will the truth come in nigeria? just imagine in a state may be in the millde belt or part of the northen state, the son was a Governor for 8 good years, the blood sister was in the senate for 8 good years, now the father want to impose her on the people of that state, yet Mr President is saying one man one vote.Well meaning people of this country are silent eventually when violence, public desobedince will start they will tag it as religious matter.2011.May god Almighty as usual save Nigeria. leaders will ignore security report because it is not their state or their tribe, well God... Allah. .. Olohun.. Chineke... protect us once again.
Comment by sidi Babio Adamu oumar on September 8, 2010 at 9:09pm
I quiet agree but the problem now is that despict paper presentations, condenminations, cries out, our leaders seems not to hear talkless of seeing. you see them all over the places mosques, churches, yet nothing is moving.IBB was quoted as saying that the youth have failed this nation, i asked myself when, where and how?
Well what we are all running away from will come one day. Physical elimination of all this thieves. Revolution, Revolution not based on sentiment or religion. We are been pushed to the wall the next thing for us to do is to kick with our last energy. we have tolerated, we have been patient, we have forgiven, yet the gap between the governed and our leaders are wideed.Nigerian youths are too disciplined,that is why they have being taken for granted.some people are born to rule, no problem but why should they empty the public treasury? Prosperity will never forgive our leaders.
Comment by Alli Adetunji on September 3, 2010 at 12:13pm
Men like PAT, Soyinka etc are not common; these are people who build their integrity in face of daunting challenges. But with the way the democratic system is constructed in Nigeria, the mines and hurdles are so many that they will also need to sell or mortgage their conscience before they can be declared as a winner on any elective post. Gani tried it and lost in his ward. What we need is a change of mindset, orientation and focus that will lead to mass movement across Nigeria defy of party affiliation or ethnic coloration. We cannot trade our right during the electioneering period and expect good governance. If we miss it this time, we have to wait for another 4 years, however, we have the right and privilege to wail as usual, but that won’t change anything. God Bless Nigeria
Comment by Yomi F. Opeola-Messiri on September 2, 2010 at 4:56pm
Now, I admire the likes of Pat Utomi and Ngozi but remember that they have never been given the opportunity to rule Nigeria. We need men of unquestionable integrity in Aso rock. So, let's vote wisely next year. Remmember only righteousness can exalt a nation from the value of corruption and depravity!
Comment by Tokunbo Ajasin on September 2, 2010 at 1:04pm
Most of the statistics about the state of our economy, demography etc are available and do not require repetition but what is needed are very specific solutions to these problems rather than generalized prescriptions. We want to know what must be done holistically to education, health, infrastructure, industry unemployment, etc in the short, medium and long term to get us out of this predicament.
Comment by Herman Dongod on September 2, 2010 at 12:55pm
Let us stop job killers in this country
Comment by Olusheni Fredrick-Owoaje on September 2, 2010 at 12:32pm
Hear the Trio comment as if they were not part of the leadership problem.....Useless Nigerian Leaders!
Comment by Olajide on September 2, 2010 at 10:57am
Na wa oooooo. Where are we going to again with these former Nigerian political leaders? Pls help......
Comment by Mike Edo on September 2, 2010 at 10:50am
Complete porous descriptive of persistent problems with no specific prescriptive measure on how to create the 25 million jobs. Waste of time & money.

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