Christopher Isiguzo in Enugu
The President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief John Nnia Nwodo, thursday in Enugu declared that unless something urgent was done to arrest the socio-economic crisis rocking the nation, Nigeria would soon slip into a failed state.
Nwodo spoke as notable Nigerians, including Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State; Speaker of the state House of Assembly, Edward Ubosi; MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo; Director of Public Affairs, Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC), Mr. Tony Ojobo, and a United Kingdom-based businessman received meritorious service awards from the Faculty of Management Science of the Enugu State University of Science and Technology (ESUT).
Nwodo, who chaired the event, painted a gloomy economic outlook for Nigeria, saying the country is in serious socio-economic crisis that requires urgent intervention.
The Ndigbo leader, who spoke as the chairman of the occasion during the home coming/32nd anniversary celebration of the faculty, lamented the continued delay in restructuring of Nigeria in line with modern economic trends, and the continued over dependence on oil revenue shared centrally on monthly basis.
According to him, only very few Nigerians are thinking and discussing the implication of such development where other industrialised countries have already introduced new technologies that rely less on machines that depend on fossil fuel.
The Ohanaeze chieftain called on the federal government to think fast and adjust to the modern realities of knowledge driven economy as against reliance on oil and export of raw materials.
He said in the next seven years, most state governments in Nigeria would no longer be able to pay salaries with internally generated revenue (IGR) due to dwindling oil revenue.
â€œOnly three state governments can pay salaries from their internally generated revenue today. The federal government has gone on two bailout programmes to help state governments to meet basic recurrent expenditure.
â€œAs I speak to you today, United State does not import one barrel of Nigerian crude oil. That means by 2024, seven years from now, the volume of demand for Nigerian crude oil will fall drastically. That also means that the volume of federally acquired revenue, federally collected revenue due to state governments that finance universities like yours will fall down tremendously. That means that recurrent expenditure of states as well as their establishment like your universities can no longer be sustained,â€ he said.
In his remark, the MD/CEO of Fidelity Bank, Okonkwo, expressed gratitude to the university for the recognition, saying the knowledge he gained in the university had positive impact on his carreer.
Also, Ojobo of NCC pledged his readiness to get his commission to digitise ESUT campus in order to get the students to be up to date in modern Information and Communication Technology (ICT).
The Vice Chancellor of the university, Prof. Luke Anike, stressed the need for digital academic environment, saying the days of commodity based economy were over as current economy is knowledge- based driven by ICT.
â€œFor the current and future competitiveness of the South-east and our country as a whole, academic institutions such as ours must re-strategise in the content and method of delivery of instructions,â€ he stated.