The former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi has said the country’s leadership crisis was caused by leaders who lack foresight and largely docile followers. He spoke at the fifth memorial lecture in honour of Prof. Celestine Onwuliri in Ahiara, Imo State at the weekend.
Obi said Nigeria’s leaders, including him and those who had held one political office or the other, had not shown enough passionate concern for the country. He also indicted the followers for not telling the leaders the truth even when they were on the wrong path.
His words: “Once somebody becomes a local government chairman, he would dedicate his new house within six months and even bishops will preside at his thanksgiving.
“They pray to God to bless him, even when it is obvious he has stolen the people’s money when the proper attitude would have been to shout thief, thief!,” Obi said.
He lamented the increasing debt profile of the country, which he said, has led to a situation where governments at all levels use over 50 per cent of their budgets for debt servicing.
“They lack a savings culture. I urge a total re-examination and overhauling of the country’s financial architecture. If the country had saved in the past, it would not have experienced economic recession and the skyrocketing inflation we are experiencing today,” he added.
But former Governor of Imo State, Ikedi Ohakim disagreed with Obi on the leadership challenge in the country, saying that lack of institutional structures as against problem of leadership or followership was the major problem of the country.
Citing Obi as an example, Ohakim said the country had produced fantastic leaders in the past from the East, West, South and North.The event, which was attended by many dignitaries, was presided over by Paschal Dozie, while the Special Guest, former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan was represented by former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Anyim Pius Anyim.