By Chinenyeh Ozor
Nsukka: – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been described as the worst leader ever produced in the country since the advent of democracy in 1999.
The former governor of Abia State, Dr. Orji Uzo Kalu made this known at a lecture on youths empowerment and good governance at the University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, Tuesday, adding that there was no transparency in government through out the eight years of Obasanjo’s regime.
Kalu noted that his problem with Obasanjo started in 1999 when he single handedly financed the People Democratic Party, PDP, lending the party N500 million which he borrowed from the defunct Hallmark bank, but which the former president asked the then PDP National Chairman, Chief Barnabas Gamade not repay.
”As if that was not enough, the former president closed Slok Airlines (owned by me) as it landed at the Akanu Ibiam International (then Enugu) Airport without explanation; shut down Hallmark bank. It was then that I know the problem had begun,” he said.
He further said that re-payment of the N500 million loan formed the major reason for his disagreement with Obasanjo till date, pointing out that he was arrested by Economic and Financial Crime Commission, EFCC, immediately he stepped out of office and charged with money laundering before both the United kingdom and America came to his rescue.
Kalu pointed out that despite all the setbacks faced by the Slok Group of Companies, it had no fewer than 13,000 in it’s pay roll and planned to employ up to 25,000 Nigerians within the next two years.
According to Kalu, youths unemployment was the biggest social problem in Nigeria today as only about 50 percent of the people were gainfully employed.
He noted that it was only in Nigeria that thousands of graduates remain unemployed years after graduation, saying that institutions get licensed without commensurate provision for employment of youths. Earlier in his opening remarks, the Vice Chancellor of the UNN, Prof. Bartho Okolo said that the country had 23.9 per cent unemployment rate, implying that every 30 people out of 100 were unemployed.
Okolo was represented on the occasion by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic), Prof Polycarp Chigbu
Okolo, said that the situation was worse for the youths because unemployment which stood at 50 percent in 2013 indicated bleak future for the ever increasing graduates of tertiary institutions in Nigeria.