Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) during the 2019 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, has advised Nigerians to look beyond oil for the economic salvation of Nigeria.
Obi gave the advice while delivering the keynote address to over 2,000 youths of the Centre for Strategic Leadership and Youth Orientation at the Sen. Uche Ekwunife Centre, Awka, Anambra State, at the weekend.
Using facts and figures, Obi said that countries that had recorded quantum leap on development did so through paying attention to their education sector that helped to build the necessary knowledge germane to building a new economy.
Emphasising the fact that economic salvation goes beyond oil, Obi said that all Arab countries that had oil were trying to expand their industrial bases as well as investing in their people – looking beyond oil.
His words: “Let’s use empirical evidence to buttress our point. Venezuela, a small South-American country with a population of just 31 million people, has over 300 billion barrels of oil reserves, bigger than Saudi Arabia’s 297 billion, and yet Venezuela is in crisis. Nigeria has only 35.3 billion reserves and everyday you see our people falling over one another because of oil.
“It is important you know that the greatest revenue earners come from marketing of intellectual output. In 2018, for instance, Nigeria’s total earning from oil was about 18 billion dollars, when Facebook within the same period earned over 55 billion dollars. This shows you that the future survival of countries lies beyond oil.”
The former Anambra State Governor, who decried the castigation of the youth as unproductive, described such as uncharitable, challenging the government to first of all do for them what other countries do for their own youth before denigrating them.
One of the organisers of the event, Mr. Umahi Felix Emeka, disclosed that the invitation to Obi to speak was based on popular demand. He said that he, as well as other members, were fulfilled that Obi did not disappoint. He described the former governor’s speech as “apposite and challenging to the youth on how to contribute to the betterment of humanity.”
Obi was accompanied to the event by Prof. Stella Chinyere Okunna, who previously spoke to the youth on principles of success in a globalised world, which she said lied on hard work, honesty and other positive, ennobling virtues.
Meanwhile, Obi yesterday in his Sallah message urged Nigerians to take the opportunity of the birthday of Prophet Mohammed to reflect on his life and embrace his virtues of justice and hard work as desiderata for building a Nigeria we can all be proud of.
Regretting that the ills in Nigeria, be they social, political or economic, are out of proportion to the religiosity of Nigerians, Obi said: “Celebrations such as this, beyond mere celebration should provoke us into deep thought about the Nigerian condition and the type of country we would bequeath to posterity.”