BY SIMON EBEGBULEM
BENIN— GOVERNOR Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State, weekend, warned that Nigerians might revolt against leaders sooner than later, if government continued to pay lip service to the issue of corruption.
While expressing shock that nobody had been jailed as a result of corruption despite the persistent alarm from the Federal Government about oil theft and several other corrupt practices, he warned that Nigerians were tired of excuses and might decide to take their destinies in their hands.
The governor, who was the guest lecturer at the 2013 convocation of Benson Idahosa University, Benin City, spoke in a lecture entitled: Education and National Development.
Represented by Secretary to the State Government, Professor Julius Ihonvbere, Oshiomhole noted that Nigerians spent over N80 billion annually on medical tours and treatment overseas “just as we put our kids in foreign and other 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.
“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.
“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 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.”