By Oke Ndiribe & Chukwuma Nwakanma
LAGOSâ€”Unless serious efforts are made to turn the nationâ€™s economic fortunes around, the future of the nationâ€™s youths looks bleak.
This view was expressed yesterday in Lagos by Prof. Pat Utomi at a youth rally organisedÂ by the National Daily Newspaper and Forum of Christians United for Success ( FOCUS).
Giving a deeper insight into why he was deeply worried about the situation, Prof. Utomi who was the guest speaker at the eventÂ said when the statistics concerning the nationâ€™s youths was analysed recently at a forum with several other international experts, the conclusion that was reachedÂ was frightening.
Said he: â€œ The implication of the conclusion we reached was that Nigeria had not experienced an increase in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP)Â since 1975.
He further observed that when the nation was compared with some Asian countries like, Malaysia and Indonesia whose GDP was less than Nigeriaâ€™s at independence, it was realised that their GDP was now double that of Nigeria. He attributed the present state-of affairs in the country to the fact that the nation did not have a responsible elite.
He further urged the youths to ensure that only the right type of persons were voted into all levels of government in future elections to prevent the nation from â€œcontinuing to move around in circles in the desertâ€.
Utomi further urged the youths to identify how their personal troubles as Nigerians intersected with that of the nation and endeavour to find solutions to such problems as stakeholders inÂ nation-building.
He also informed the nationâ€™s youths that it wasnâ€™t only wealthy people who are capable of contributing to the growth of the nation .
Said he : â€œFor instance the late Sardauna of Sokoto only owned a few clothes when he was killed during the military coup of January 15, 1966 but he was one of the most powerful Nigerians of his timeâ€.
He also cited the example of how Yorubas were still grateful to the late ChiefÂ Obafemi Awolowo, former premier of western region as a result of the free education programme his administration implemented during his tenure in office, adding such individuals would remain indelible in the hearts of their people.