Less than 48 hours after his Rivers State counterpart, Chibuike Rotimi Amaechi challenged Nigerians to take drastic measures against their leaders for failing to fight corruption, Edo State governor, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole weekend warned that Nigerians may rise up against their leaders sooner than later, if government continues to pay lip service to the issue of corruption.
The governor, who expressed shock that nobody has been jailed as a result of corrupt practices despite the persistent alarm by the Federal Government on incessant oil theft and several other corrupt practices, warned that Nigerians are getting tired of excuses and may decide to take their destinies in their own hands.
Governor Oshiomhole, who was the Guest lecturer at the 2013 convocation ceremony of Benson Idahosa University Benin City, spoke at a lecture entitled: “Education and National Development”.
Represented by the Secretary to Edo State Government, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Oshiomhole noted that Nigerians spend over N80 billion annually on medical tourism and treatment overseas “just as we put our kids in foreign and African universities and this is with over N2 trillion lost to the fuel subsidy cartel, not to mention how much is lost annually to oil thieves”.
According to him, “the list of imperfections, failures, problems and contradictions can go on and on. The important issue today is how we can relate these issues to the importance of education and therefore national development. Fleetingly, about people, it is, in the first instance, about cars, skyscrapers, money in the bank, huge bureaucracies and those things that may be symptoms of growth rather than development.
“Our idea of development revolves round interest and exchange rates, import-export ratios, GNP per capita, even GDP and foreign reserves. These may show that growth and maybe accumulation are occurring; they do not show that development that is people-focused, people-based and people-driven is occurring”.
To drive home his point, the comrade-governor as he is fondly called stressed that “major companies like Unilever and Dunlop are closing down, setting up shop in Ghana and throwing thousands of families into unemployment, hunger and social pressures. I believe we should just leave the issue of power for another day after we fully understand what the GENCOS, DISCOS and TRANCOS are doing.
“Until leadership in Nigeria changes from the arrogance of power, perpetual infighting, accommodating corruption and impunity and finding excuses for failure to meet popular expectations, I am afraid, most of our educational institutions, private and public, would never meet world standards.
“With an unstable, non-hegemonic and unreliable state, frequent policy changes, an economy in crisis, and leaders that use power and public funds for personal aggrandizement; the university must prepare to engage the negative forces in a changing global order and a reforming Nigeria.
“When education takes citizens in the opposite direction of these values then it becomes dangerous to societal development. Infact, an educational system that produces election riggers, intimidators, looters of the treasury, bad drivers, disregard for communal values, lazy public servants, kidnappers, inefficient and ineffective workers, political opportunists, thugs, and bad politicians that visit pain on the people and contaminate and undermine institutions of society cannot be regarded as positive education”, he stated.