Nigeria should not be giant only in population – Shehu Sani

A civil rights activist and social critic, Sen. Shehu Sani, has said Nigeria should not only be a giant of Africa in population, but in all sectors of the economy.

Sani, who represented Kaduna Central in the 8th National Assembly and served as the Chairman, Senate Committee on Local and Foreign Debts, told the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) on Thursday in Lagos that Nigeria was not yet where it should be.

He spoke on the sidelines of the Inaugural Memorial Lecture of Prince Emeka Obasi, the late Publisher of Business Hallmark, with the title: “If this Giant Must Walk; Manifesto for a New Nigeria”.

“We are a nation of 220 million people and we pride ourselves as a Giant of Africa. Well, population is an asset, but what do we use that population for?

“We should be giant in manufacturing, giant in export; giant in shipbuilding; giant in car manufacturing; giant in information technology; giant in agricultural; giant in education.

“Nigeria is not there yet, we shouldn’t just be giant in population,” Sani said.

He wondered why the country’s problems had remained intractable, calling for concrete actions for solutions to the country’s challenges.

“But ,why have we not found solutions to Nigeria’s problems up till today?

“It is over six decades since our political independence. Why should we still be struggling about power, water, infrastructure, about things which we could have addressed or what we should have addressed in the last five to six decades?

“I think the things we need to do for now is to prioritise our issues. We were a young nation, but we can’t call ourselves a young nation now.

“We have all the resources and all the manpower and all the opportunity to make this country great. We are not a failed state. God has endowed Nigeria with all that we need,” Sani said.

According to him, if Nigeria does not have water to drink and power supply with all rivers around, if there is hunger with the arable land around, the problem is not God but self-inflicted.

“Nigeria has everything God should give us. Where is the solution? The first thing is, Nigeria should address the security challenges we are facing today.

“I’m a bit impressed because progress is being made, but we need to bring an end to terrorists and bandits that are destroying our country, kidnapping our people.

“We need to make a heavy investment in agriculture. Nations of the world today don’t joke with agriculture. Why should a country with such climate, with such an arable land still be importing food?

“We need to address the problems of our education sector. Most of those in power today, are products of public education. Today, we cannot take our children to the schools we attended.

“So why should that be, with all the resources that we have in this country, We can give our children the best of education,” he said.

Sani said that there was the need for huge investment in science and technology.

He also said that the nation needed an all out war against terrorists, with well equipped and funded security agencies, saying without security, ”Nigeria cannot walk”.

On the programme ,Sani said that the event was to commemorate the life and times of Obasi, whom he described as a distinguished Nigerian, who excelled in the media space.

The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the discussants at the lecture,who shared the views on the country’s development challenges, included Mr Femi Awoyemi, Chairman, PROSHARE; Prof. Anthony Kila, Centre Director, Centre for International Advanced and Professional Studies (CIAPS).

NAN reports that the highlight of the event was the unveiling of Prince Emeka Obasi Memorial Foundation (PEOMF) by the Special Guest of Honour, Gov. Alex Otti of Abia, represented by his deputy Ikechukwu Emetu.

Obasi, the Publisher of Hallmark Newspapers and former Commissioner for Information in Abia, passed on March 15, 2022, at a Lagos hospital at the age of 58.

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