A former Anambra State governor and vice presidential candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday stressed the need for Nigeria to invest in her human capital as it is being done in developed countries, noting that this would go a long way in improving the leadership qualities in the country.
Obi, who featured on Arise TV, expressed concern that the country seemed to be jostling between productivity and certificates, saying rather than calling the Nigerian youths lazy, we should invest in them.
According to him, “Those youths we are calling lazy are our assets. The founder of Apple didn’t go to the university. Bill Gates didn’t go to university. Let’s invest in these lazy youths and if they don’t perform, we call them lazy. If you look at what is happening globally, Nigerian youths are hard-working. We need to encourage and support them. Nigerian youths are intelligent and smart. You cannot classify people who have not been given opportunity. We need to give them the opportunity and invest in them.”
He expressed concern that the budget for health and education in Nigeria in the last 10 years was relatively low compared with what South Africa and Vietnam spent on education alone.
He argued that the reason why terrorism thrived in the country was as a result of the cumulative effect of leadership failure over the years, adding that the cost of governance was high and dependence on oil subsidy should be put aside.
“What we are paying as subsidy is inefficiency. All the subsidies we are paying are going into demurrage and transportation. All the subsidies we are paying are for the time we spend on the road. There is nothing wrong with having toll gate, but we should be able to have good roads.
“The money am going to save will compensate for all this. Above all, for health reasons, Nigerians have a life expectancy of 54 years. If you know what people go through in terms of health issues and spending long hours in traffic on bad roads, it calls for serious concern,” he added.
On the rising rate of dollars, Obi said: “It is because we have multiplicity of windows such that everybody is thinking of where they can get more money. We need to agree on the rate of dollars to the naira. If we dollarise the economy, you are creating more confusion. We must talk about how we can get more money and invest in human capital.”
Emphasising on the issue of Igbo Presidency for 2023, he said: “The Igbos are not fairly treated in Nigeria unless you bring inclusive government. Let’s restructure the country and make it more competitive. Our process of selecting people is faulty. Let’s see what people are doing and have a capacity to create a new economy.”
Asked if he would like to run for presidency in 2023, Obi said: “How do we pull people out of poverty? If we don’t, it will consume all of us.”
Written by Funmi Ogundare Thisday reporter.