The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi has said the bane of development in Africa is not colonialism but bad leadership.
Obi who spoke at the 12th Zik Annual Lecture Series at Awka at the weekend, stated that until this is tackled the continent will continue to stagnate.
“Yes, we were colonised many decades back, but today it is African leaders who have turned Africa into a gigantic criminal enterprise,” Obi said in a statement by his media aide Michael Nwolisa.
He stated that the challenges being faced in most parts of the continent stem from the failure of leadership that has continued to slow down its developmental journey.
The former Anambra State governor argued that Africa cannot continue to complain of colonialism and exploitation by Western powers for many years without addressing her own challenges.
He advised African leaders to look inward and tackle the leadership challenges retarding her development.
Obi also condemned corruption and mindless looting of public funds by the leaders and said this contributed to poverty, unemployment, and lack of access to healthcare and education.
According to him, the budgetary provision for overhead in 36 federal universities in Nigeria with 10,000 professors, over 40,000 workers, and over a million students, is not up to what the Nigerian government “allocated for the acquisition of a presidential Yacht.”
He noted that “a professor in a standard Nigerian university earns N400,000 per month,” and added that “if you earn that amount for 30 years without spending a dime from it, your accumulated salary will amount to N144 million, which is not up to the amount we use to buy a car for a legislator in Nigeria. That is the problem we are facing in Nigeria.”
Former President of Malawi Dr Joyce Hilda Banda, had in her speech, blamed Africa’s under-development on Western colonisation of Africa, which she argued, has continued through economic exploitation, as witnessed in many African countries.
Dr Banda however urged African leaders to be frugal and prudent in the handling of public resources, knowing that such resources must be used for the benefit of the people.
The former president urged Nigerians to always celebrate and follow the legacy of late Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, who she said, played a critical role in the liberation of Nigeria and Africa.