Says professor’s salary for 30 years can’t buy Nigerian legislator’s car
Chuks Okocha in Abuja
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the last general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that African leaders have turned the continent into a gigantic criminal enterprise, insisting that poor leadership, and not colonialism is responsible for Africa’s problems.
Obi, in a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Michael Jude Nwolisa argued that the accumulated salaries of a professor for 30 years cannot buy a Nigerian legislator’s official vehicle.
He explained that the problem of Africa, and indeed Nigeria, rests squarely on leadership, adding that unless it is tackled the continent will continue to stagnate.
The LP presidential candidate said the challenges being faced in most parts of Africa stem from the failure of leadership, stressing that this has continued to burden the continent and slow down its developmental journey.
Obi, who spoke at the 12th Zik Annual Lecture Series in Awka, Anambra State capital, at the weekend, explained that Nigeria, and indeed Africa, cannot be continuously complaining of colonialism, and alleged exploitation from the Western powers for many years without addressing their own challenges.
The ex-governor of Anambra State faulted the claim by the former President of Malawi, Her Excellency, Dr. Joyce Hilda Banda, that Africa’s under-development was caused by the Western colonisation of Africa.
The LP presidential candidate said Africa should look inward and tackle the leadership challenges contending with its development.
According to him, “Yes, we were colonised many decades back, but today it is African leaders who have turned Africa into a gigantic criminal enterprise.”
He restated his resolve to continue to lead a crusade for the demand of accountable governance and ethical leadership, which he said, will lead to the emergence of a new Nigeria.
Obi lamented the high level of corruption and mindless looting of public funds by the leaders, who do not care for the welfare of the people, are part of the criminal setup that needs to be dismantled.
According to him, the people are suffering from poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to healthcare and education.
Explaining how leadership failure has continued to stifle development in Nigeria, Obi said: “If you are employed in a university, and you work hard for several years, you will hopefully become a professor. A professor in a standard Nigerian university earns N400,000 per month. If you earn that amount for 30 years without spending a dime from it, your accumulated salary will amount to N144 million, which is not up to the amount we use to buy a car for a legislator in Nigeria. That is the problem we are facing in Nigeria.
“Over 36 federal universities where we have over 10,000 professors, over 40,000 workers, and over a million students receive overhead funds of less than N4.5 billion annually. This total overhead amount is not even up to what the federal government has allocated for the acquisition of a presidential yacht,” Obi explained.
He restated his determination to continue to work towards the emergence of a New Nigeria where integrity and accountability will be enthroned and public resources will be invested for the good of the people.
Earlier in her speech, the former President of Malawi, Her Excellency Dr. Joyce Hilda Banda, blamed Africa’s under-development on Western colonisation of Africa, which she argued, has continued through economic exploitation of Africa, as witnessed in many African countries.
Banda, however, urged African leaders to always be frugal and prudent in the handling of public resources, knowing that such resources must be used for the benefit of the people.
She urged Nigerians to always celebrate and follow the legacy of the late Nnamdi Azikiwe, who she said, is a yet unsung hero, that played a critical role in the liberation of Nigeria and Africa.
Other dignitaries at the event were the Governor of Anambra State, Prof Chukwuma Charles Soludo; the Governor of Oyo State and Chairman of the event, Mr. Seyi Makinde; the benefactor of the event, Senator Ben Obi; the Vice Chancellor of Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Prof Charles Esimone; many royal fathers, captains of industry and members of the academia.