Kuni Tyessi in Abuja
The Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi yesterday lamented that Nigeria had not been faithful to the youths, who constitute the largest chunk of the national population.
Obi, former governor of Anambra State, revealed that only in the last four years, the sum of N4.4 trillion had been spent in the education sector, saying with this fund, Nigeria still had the highest number in out of school children.
He made the remarks at the eighth convocation of Veritas University, Federal Capital Territory, lamenting that the current security situation nationwide “is completely unacceptable and should be addressed with proactive measures.”
He submitted that the current crop of politicians in Nigeria, including himself, had, through failure to provide good leadership made the country unbearable for everybody and not conducive for survival for the new graduands.
He said: “Though Nigeria is tough, your education has equipped you for survival and competition with others. It is those that fail to explore their knowledge through creativity and innovation that would find things irredeemable and challenges unconquerable.”
He told the graduands to know that their education would not guarantee them inheritances from their parents.
He further told them that their education could guarantee them jobs, but the jobs were non-existent.
He added that their education would surely guarantee them one thing: the ability to think outside the box at all times by employing their knowledge to conquer themselves, their environment and the world.
On the task before them, Obi said: “the tasks before you are enormous. Nigeria has been bastardized by my generation, all of us, you owe it to yourselves to restore the glory of the country. Today, our country is owing heavily, the states are owing, most of the debts are to be re-paid in 10,20,30 and 40 years time.
“At that time, some of those that plunged the country into the mess would have died and the task of rebuilding will rest squarely on you. I am telling you this for you to realize that the task of re-directing the destiny of this country lies with you and must be pursued with all sense of responsibility.”
In the last four years, Obi disclosed that N4.4 trillion was spent in the education sector and yet, Nigeria had the highest number in the case of out of school children.
On the case of returning schools to their former managers in Anambra state during his governorship tenure, Obi said the schools were assets of other people and not of the government as they were wrongly taken and appropriately returned to the rightful owners
He encouraged the graduands not to tow the line of their parents, but to build a new country while emphasising that the biggest money countries can boast of is in their population and the knowledge acquired.
“Another is education and we have 13.5 million out of school children which is the highest in the world. On education alone Nigeria has spent N4.4 trillion in four years.
“We did not give them back the schools. We wrongfully took away people’s assets. Government cannot manage schools. In Anambra after the exercise, we moved from number 24 to number one. So only returned what was wrongfully taken as education cannot thrive without the church.
“This country has the highest number of people living in poverty. India and China have population in billions and yet the number of people living in poverty in Nigeria when compared to the population of both countries surpasses those of the two countries put together,” he said.
On the security situation in the country, Obi said it “is not all about the removal of the security chiefs, but in dealing with the economy. No country in the world has enough money. But we can achieve a lot with the little available.”
He lamented that the situation of Nigeria, which according to him, was cancerous as a result of lack of sacrifice from the leaders, adding that one way of achieving a viable economy lies in cutting down the cost of governance.
He said: “It is alarming. It is totally unacceptable. We can do something about it. Everyone has been clamouring about insecurity based on terrorism. One of the greatest threats to insecurity is to get people employed. Get people to do something.
“Let’s shut down the cost of governance. Why will I not move with only three vehicles? Shut down all irresponsible offices we have all over the place. People should live normal lives. Why should I have a lodge in Abuja? Am I governor of Abuja?
“I am part of this mess. We as leaders of this country have not sacrificed enough. We know what we can do to end this. We are to create wealth and not waste it,” he explained.
During the mass, the Visitor to the university and the President of Episcopal Conference of Nigeria, Archbishop Augustine Akubueze thanked the students and staff of the institution for maintaining the standards for which Catholic institutions are known worldwide.