By Ikechukwu Odu, NSUKKA
The former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, on Tuesday said only restructuring can end the escalating criminality, banditry and other forms of insecurity in Nigeria.
Mr Obi who said that those fighting against restructuring are beneficiaries of the near failed state of the nation added that the greatest fight against insecurity in the country is to put food on the tables of Nigerians.
He spoke at the Princess Alexandra Auditorium, University of Nigeria, Nsukka, UNN, during the Association of Nsukka Professors’ 4th Adada Lecture, tagged ‘Restructuring, Security Challenges and Development.’
He equally bemoaned the rising poverty index in the country, adding that Nigeria has more poor people than China and India put together.
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He also said that if Nigeria must grow, the nation must diversify the economy and equally invest in her youths to acquire a knowledge-based economy.
Mr Obi also said “Security is the most vital ingredient in a country’s existence. Any government which fails to secure the lives and properties of the citizens has failed. Unfortunately, today, we have seen the impact of insecurity in our country.
“Now that we have found ourselves in this mess, the best thing to do is to restructure the country. People do approach me to contest for the presidency in order to fix Nigeria, but I had always told them that I am not the solution to our problems. If you have a car that has an engine problem, would you change the driver instead of the engine? The engine of our problem in Nigeria is restructuring and until that is done, things would continue to go wrong. It is when we do this that national development can take place.
“We must invest in human development through education because the more educated a society is, the more development it can attract. The per capita income of Nigerians has kissed the dust. In 1980, Nigeria’s per capita income was $875, China was $ 190. This is to show that China was far below Nigeria then. Today, China’s per capita income has risen to about $12,000, while Nigeria is about $2000. This is one of the reasons we should restructure Nigeria in order to put things right,” he said.
Earlier in his address, the President, Association of Nsukka Professors, ANP, Prof. Osy Okanya, said the lecture became necessary in order to provide solutions to the heightened and fragile security situation in the country.
He also said “… perhaps it is correct to admit that Nigeria’s political architecture has become so dislocated and disrupted that without urgent structural and institutional re-alignment, Nigeria, likened to a floating Calabash, will on its own implode sooner than later. What is, however, depressing and frightening is that while a vibrant section of the Nigerian State has continued to point at the official actions and inactions that accentuate the fault lines, certain sections of the state appear impervious to the steady manifestations of symptoms of state failure and collapse.”
Also, in his address, the chairman of the occasion, Sir Chinyeaka Ohaa, charged members of ANP, to use their platform to explore all the areas of life necessary for the growth and development of their environment and the nation at large.
Ohaa equally enjoined the association to champion the reactivation of Ogurugu River Jetty, which according to him, was the landing post for the British colonial influence in the region.