By Ikechukwu Odu – Nsukka
The former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo Worldwide, Chief Nniah Nwodo, yesterday, said Nigerian youths are bedevilled by the culture of get-rich-quick syndrome.
Chief Nwodo, who said that the increase in Internet fraud such as ‘yahoo yahoo’, criminality and other vices was hinged on love for material acquisition, blamed successive governments for bequeathing faulty educational foundation to the younger generation.
He addressed the audience as a keynote speaker at the Princess Alexandria Auditorium, University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, on Saturday, during the 2nd Annual Award and Lecture series of the Starlite Newspapers.
While speaking on the theme of the lecture entitled ‘Economic Diversification and the Self-sustainability Options for Enugu State’, he said “In my 69 years of existence in this country, I have never seen a worse situation than we are in now in Nigeria.
“Most of you will think that I am part of the problem having served the country as a two-time Minister, though shortlived, I am shocked by what we have subjected our younger generation to.
“Our problems as a country are hinged on bad governance, bad policies and lack of mobilisation of the citizenry to deal with issues at hand as other countries which had similar problems have done.
“Today, our youths want to do 419, yahoo yahoo, and our inculcation pattern is a matter of who is rich and who is not. It is not about what we produce or what we do to get rich.
“Today, every youth wants to ride the best car but does not care about acquiring quality education.”
While making case for the diversification of economy, he said the nation needs to invest more in agriculture.
He bemoaned the lack of quality leadership amongst Nigerian politicians, saying “Members of Houses of Assembly or Senate is just a way politicians pay those who are loyal to them.
“In saner climes, Senators and members of Houses of Assembly are the incubators of ideas that move the nation forward.
“I don’t even think that members of our legislature have the intellectual capacity to generate bills that can move the nation forward or are prepared to employ assistants who have the ability to do same.
“I urge you all to task yourself and generate ideas that can move our nation forward because, if we carry on like this, we are facing extinction.”
Earlier in his address, the chairman of the occasion and former Economic Adviser to a former President of Nigeria, Prof Osita Ogbu, said diversification of economy needs structural changes which entails moving from primary production to advanced technological production.
He also said that the processes involved require serious investments in science, technology and innovation, adding that diversification is a process of development because it is associated with economic freedoms that raises the economic power of workers which takes them out of poverty.
The don equally said that any economy which has not moved from primary production to advanced technological production would remain poor. He equally said that governments must encourage domestic production of goods to build a resilient economy.
In his address, the Publisher/Editor-in-Chief of The Starlite Newspapers, Harrison Ogara, who said that newspapers are facing most difficult times owing to the presence of social media and other factors, added that interpretative and investigative reporting, which are most of the time expensive and dangerous, have to be sustained by media professionals.
He equally urged state governments, especially, those with urgent herdsmen problem to collaborate to nip the issue in the bud.