The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the last general elections, Peter Obi, has called on Nigerian youths to actively work against the entrenched corruption and criminality in various levels of government.
In a statement released on his social media handle on Saturday, Obi encouraged young Nigerians not to be intimidated by the challenges and poor governance in the country.
He emphasized the importance of raising their voices to demand better governance.
Obi shared these views while serving as the keynote speaker at an event in Enugu State, focusing on “Accelerating Actions to Achieve the SDGs in Nigeria Through Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement.”
The event, which took place on Friday, aimed at discussing strategies for achieving sustainable development goals through civic participation and entrepreneurship.
The statement reads, “Yesterday, I had a very useful day in Enugu with a cross-section of Nigerian youths.
“The event was a very interesting interactive session with young entrepreneurs, youth advocates, and change agents in an event aimed at discussing how to ‘Accelerate Actions to Achieve the SDGs in Nigeria Through Entrepreneurship and Civic Engagement,’ a topic of critical importance to the nation, especially the youths, whose future must be secured.
As a keynote speaker, I pointed out to them that the Sustainable Development Goals, SDGs, are a follow-up to the Millennium Development Goals, MDGs (2000 – 2015), which before it ended in 2015, none was ever achieved in Nigeria because they were not mainstreamed into the development agenda of government unlike in other countries, like China, India, Vietnam.
“I related to the enterprising youths how the number one goal of the MDGs was to fight extreme poverty but unfortunately, within the period of trying to implement the MDGs, more Nigerians became poorer, while other nations who mainstreamed their MDGs into their development agenda, and followed it, like China and India pulled 439 million and 271 million people out of poverty respectively in the same period.
In the area of education, countries like China and India improved tremendously in HDI while the opposite was the case in sub-Saharan Africa, especially Nigeria, which has not only failed to meet up with the MDG goals but has the highest number of out-of-school children in the world now.
This, therefore, shows how almost impossible it is to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals of eradicating poverty and ensuring, at least, basic education for every child by 2030.
“I encouraged the youths to take on entrepreneurship, no matter the difficulties they face in the country, as it is only through entrepreneurship that we will be able to build a strong small business sector that will catalyze the economy, foster productivity, and help in moving the country from consumption to production.
“I reminded them that Nigeria belongs to them and they must not cower in the face of difficult challenges and bad governance that pervade the nation today but must raise their voices and demand for good governance.
“We all must persevere and work together to dismantle the criminality and corruption that has festered through different levels of government in our nation.
“I thank the organizers of the program for the wonderful initiative aimed at empowering our youths with the right knowledge and leadership skills to make positive change. We will, all together, build the New Nigeria of our dreams.”