Feb 27, 2013 – Bill Clinton Lists 3 Ways To Solve Problems Facing Nigeria Today
FORMER president of the United States of America, Mr. Bill Clinton, on Tuesday, said that Nigeria could do better as a nation, if all its natural resources and potential are well-managed by its leaders.
Clinton who spoke at the 18th edition of ThisDay Awards tagged “Celebrating Nigeria’s Best Teachers”, held at the June 12 Cultural Centre, Kuto, Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, said that the country was being confronted with three major challenges that had made it impossible for her to actualise her vast potential.
Clinton, who ruled America from 1993 to 2001 recalled that he had listed Nigeria as one of the 10 countries that would emerge as world’s greatest in the 21st century because of its abundant potentials, adding that Nigeria had not done well with its oil money.
“First of all, when I became president, my Secretary of Commerce, the late Mr Ron Brown did a lot of work in Africa before he was tragically killed in a plane crash in 1995 and I said he should make the list of the 10 most important countries in the world for the 21st Century and Nigeria was in the list. Imagine the future of the entire continent if Nigeria fails or South Africa fails.
“I would say you have about three big challenges. First of all, like 90 percent of the countries who have one big resource, you haven’t done well with your oil money. You have reinvested it in different ways; now you are at least not wasting the natural gas, you are developing it in pipelines.
You don’t do a better job of managing natural resources,” he said.
Clinton also urged the nation’s leaders to redistribute wealth among the haves and the have-nots, adding that sharing prosperity would bring about development.
The 42nd US president also lamented the poverty level among Nigerians, saying such could result in uprisings like that of the Islamic sect, Boko Haram.
Clinton said that the poverty level in the Northern part of the country was far greater than what it was in the Lagos area of the country, hence the need for its leaders to tackle the issue headlong.
He said, “Secondly, you have to somehow bring economic opportunity to the people who don’t have. This is not a problem specific for Nigeria.
“Almost every place in the world, prosperity is heavily concentrated in and around urban areas. So you have all these political problems and no violence problems, religious differences, and all the rhetoric of Boko Haram, but the truth is the poverty rate in the north is three times greater than what it is in the Lagos area and to deal with that, you have to have both powerful stake in the local governments and a national policy that work together.
“The third thing is there has to be a way to take the staggering intellectual and organizational ability that Nigerians exhibit in every country in the world in which they are immigrant and to bring it to bear here so that the country as a whole can rise.”
He also urged Nigerian leaders to urgently address the challenge of braindrain syndrome in the country.
The ceremony was well attended by traditional rulers, captains of industry, media gurus, students and diplomats which include former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo; Delta State governor, Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan; Mr Wale Aboderin, Chairman, Punch Nigeria Limited; Mr Sam Amuka, publisher, Vanguard Newspapers; Dr Yemi Ogunbiyi, Senator Biyi Durojaiye, former Minister of Education, Dr (Mrs) Oby Ezekwesili; renowned banker, Mr Fola Adeola.
Fifteen teachers from primary to tertiary levels were honoured with best teachers award which attracted a sum of N2m each while Chief Rasaq Okoya; the Osile of Oke Ona Egba, Oba (Dr) Adedapo Tejuoso; Professor Laz Ekwueme and Mr Oba Otudeko were honoured with Life Time Awards.
[Source: Nigerian Tribune]