A professor of political economy, Prof. Pat Utomi, at the weekend called on young Nigerians to work together to end corruption, identify the nation’s problems and proffer lasting solutions in order to protect their future.
Utomi, who made the call at an event tagged, “Discover Me,” and organised by the Simply Worship International Ministry, Benin, Edo State, said that corruption had become a major problem hindering the progress of the country and urged the youths to take urgent steps to prevent the persistent plundering of the nation’s wealth.
Utomi said, “First of all, I think it is important to understand that corruption is very frightening; it is destroying our country and people find all kinds of things that distract us from the main understanding of how terrible corruption is against the progress of our country.
“We must collectively work to reduce, if not eliminate, corruption from our body polity. The second thing is that I am one of those repulsed a little bit by the excessive partisanship of the Nigerian situation.
“We must, as a people, collectively recognise some problems we have as a country and work together to solve them and not reducing them (because) that is what makes it easy for the bad people to get away with it.
“As a person that many entities turn to for opinions on what to do in Nigeria, I know how many times major corporations around the world have turned away from investing in Nigeria after seeing the opportunity because of the fact that in Nigeria, there is so much corruption.
“In Nigeria, one of the biggest risks is regulatory risk; government institutions are a major risk for business because of the ineptitude, sometimes, because of the partisanship and personal nature of their decisions. So, it is important that we work across party lines to stop these things.”
Utomi stated that the younger generation must resist the temptation to allow their political decisions to be determined by unscrupulous politicians.
He said, “Young Nigerians should be looking at ideas that will make that future one in which they can be competitive with anybody on planet earth. They should be looking at people whose track records show a commitment to service, a commitment to thinking very clearly about things and not allowing themselves to be sucked into a one-bag-of-rice kind of basis for making decisions.
“Young people, first of all, have to realise that leading is not about saying, ‘It is my turn; you have to give it (leadership) to me.’ You have to be prepared to lead.”
He stated that Nigeria needed a system based on honesty and merit, which it currently lacked, in order to surmount the numerous problems.
Utomi added, “If we can bring more honesty into our system, if we can allow merit to determine things more in our system, then there will be a culture of justice. One of the reasons Nigeria is in trouble is the level of injustice in the system.
“The poor man’s son does not have the opportunity that used to be taken for granted, if he just focused on his books and studied 30 years ago. And so, we have these disruptions in the system. So, we need a more merit-driven system. We need a more just system. Once we have that, Nigeria will rise up again.”
The Senior Pastor of SWIM, Rev. David Atenaga, explained that the event was held to inspire the youths to realise their essence in life and enable them to live purpose-driven lives.
Atenaga said, “It is not so much about government; it is about us. If a man finds his purpose, he can actually make the most of life from wherever he is. True greatness or wealth in life is created only when you solve problems.”