Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, has advised Nigerians, especially the priests of God, to continue talking about all aspects of governance in the country. He warned that the danger in keeping quiet is that those in authority might be sufficiently shielded by their aides from knowing the true position of things in the country.
Obi, who spoke Tuesday when he paid a visit to Pope John 11 Major Seminary, Okpuno, Anambra State, said that part of the problem those in authority face is that the vocal ones that enjoy one favour or the other from government are always dumb to the problems of the country. He advised such ones to at least use sign language if they have lost the faculty of speech.
Addressing the students after eating breakfast with them, Obi talked on a wide range of issues, starting from the spiritual, through the social to economics. He dispelled the belief that leaders view criticisms as subversive to government, saying that, on the contrary, great leaders listen to criticisms of genuine patriots and act on the basis of that.
Using himself as an example, he said: “As the Governor and even now, I listen to what people say because no person is perfect. Even though some talk out of other reasons, thereby standing truth on its head, but there are genuine critics who speak out of love for the country. When such people talk, as humans one might get annoyed, but I assure you that those sorts of things help one to reflect in one’s quiet moment.”
The former governor called for more commitment on the part of the Presidency to all areas of concern, such as health, security, education and employment. He said that critical analysis of other countries would show that Nigeria has not invested enough in critical areas. “Take education as an example; what Nigeria budgets for education in seven years is far less than what South Africa budgets in a year,” he said.
Referring to Seminarians as the “priests of tomorrow”, Obi told them that they are being trained to become leaders either in the religious or secular world and that they can only make a success of it by being receptive to the training they are receiving today.
Earlier, the Rector of the school, Fr. Benjamin Ewelu, in his welcome address thanked Obi for his revolutionary imprint still visible in every part of the state. Even while calling for his further assistance towards solving myriads of problems confronting the school, he particularly thanked him for what he did for them when he was the Governor. These, the Rector named as the construction of the road to the school, the checking of the menace of erosion and some of the infrastructure he helped to provide for the school.
The visit of Obi was heralded with joy among the 300 students and staff of the school. One of the students, Ugwu Christian, summarised his speech to them thus: “The encounter was spiritual, political, economic and social awareness.”