After taking a critical look at the leadership of Nigeria from the 1960 independence to the present Nigeria, Prof. Pat Utomi, president of Lagos Business School, described Nigeria as an embarrassment to the black race.
According to him, Nigerian leaders have failed the nation, maintaining that in the ranking of failed states in the world, Nigeria is miles away from Ghana, its next door neighbor in the West African sub-region.
He said Nigeria has strong men but what nations needed to develop is strong institutions and good policies and not strong men with weak and toothless institutions of governance.
Prof. Utomi was speaking during the memorial lecture in honour of late Chief Dennis Osadebay, first premier of Midwestern Region in Asaba, the Delta State capital, on Saturday, May 21, 2016.
The erudite professor, who was guest lecturer at the event spoke on the topic, Building Strong Institutions As Panacea To Good Governance In Nigeria.
Utomi, who said he is an active member of the All Progressives Congress (APC) and one of the formulators of the party’s manifestoes, revealed that President Barack Obama of the United States visited Ghana due to its strong institutions but could not visit Nigeria because its policies and institutions are weak and powerless.
He lambasted the leadership of the nation who have squandered the oil wealth, saying “30 years ago, Nigeria was generating 4000 megawatts of electricity, the plan then was to hit 40,000 over the next 20 years but today we are struggling between 2000, 3000 and 4000 megawatts. This is so because there are no strong institutions”.
He said the country was able to launch the reconstruction, rehabilitation, and reconciliation programme after the 30 years civil war without borrowing from the western countries, but lamented that in the present day Nigeria, state governors are finding it difficult to pay salaries to workers.
“I speak angrily about the failure of the leadership of Nigeria. The reason Africa is poor is because African leaders are making wrong policies backed up with weak institutions. Any time Nigeria makes right policies and makes progress, weak institutions kill them.
“Strong institutions are needed in Nigeria. This will curb excesses of big headed men. Besides building strong institutions, one important role of leaders is to build values and not to sign cheques or build roads. Without the right values we cannot build strong institutions. And without strong institutions, development and progress will continue to elude Nigeria,” Utomi said.