Former Minister of Education, Oby Ezekwesili, has said the fundamental problem facing the country is not as a result of its political structure but the failure of the ruling elite to deliver good governance to the people.
She stated this when she spoke at the Big Ideas Podium organised by the African Heritage Institution, with the theme ‘Nigeria: The Economics of Failure’ in Enugu.
According to her, the country needed policies to address the economic inequalities, insisting that the problem with the country was not technical but ‘governance failure.’
The former Minister said: “The obsession with politics is a divisionary strategy of the ruling class every time which favours the rapacious elite to distract the suffering mass with politics.
“Nigeria presently is not sustainable. Something radically different must happen.
“Political restructuring will not solve our problems because the content will remain the same and the outcome this time around will be disastrous. We need economic governance as the basis for any political grouping the country may need.
“For Nigeria to survive, it must overthrow the existing order especially the 57-year-old political class and entrenched pattern. We need world class human capital not a nation of global trolls.
“We can’t continue to allow a few people who have hijacked our government to decide our fate, the citizens must rise to disrupt the status quo. A well constituted non-partisan group of intellectuals must help Nigeria fight this war because it cannot be a war fought without knowledge.
“We need a conversation of economic structure, inequality and governance that comes from the people. It’s time to interrogate the dreams of the founding fathers, we must think differently.
“How long will it take for Nigeria to lift 100 million out of poverty when China used only 30 years to lift 700 million out of poverty. Its time for the citizens to organise a collective action that can produce results. Today, our literacy level is still 59 per cent while Rwanda has progressed to 72 per cent within two decades since the genocide.
“It is time for the long suffering citizens to awake to the productivity they have and take their proper place in governance.
“We therefore both fight the economic war now and win it or our people will perish in large numbers regardless of their ethnicity and politics.”
Also speaking, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Prof. Charles Soludo, said it had become imperative for the citizens to unite and rise against oppression.
“There has to be a radical change. The situation in Nigeria now, is either you get involved or you stop complaining. Good governance is not given, it is demanded and taken,” he said.
One of the discussants and INEC National Commissioner, Prof Okey Ibeanu, said Nigeria and ordinary Nigerians have not failed insisting that it is rather the political class that has failed Nigerians.
“A major failing of the ruling class is their profound inability to respect rules. The quality of citizenship is also critical. The critical issue is about institutions not just about legislation but discipline. The character of politics remains a major challenge not politics itself,” he said.
He further disclosed that Election in Nigeria has become a huge project for the ruling class, noting that a whooping N120 billion and N110 billion were spent during the 2011 and 2015 general elections respectively, projecting that about N200 billion would be spent by 2019.