Debate continued yesterday at the ongoing National Conference in Abuja for those delegates who stayed back against the allure to head down to Otuoke, Bayelsa State for President Goodluck Jonathanâ€™s daughterâ€™s marriage. The hall was virtually empty as most delegates preferred earlier departure for the expectedly high-class social event than stayed back and miss the fun and the fair.
Several delegates, who made contributions on the floor of the National Conference Thursday, blamed the countryâ€™s woes on its past leaders including some of those who were seated in the hall. But for Musa Shehu, a delegate, public execution of corrupt Nigerians would deter corruption and arrest the country’s under-development.
Shehu, a transporter, mocked some delegates, whom he said stole so much money from the government with which they set up transport companies after they retired.
Instead of investing their loot to benefit Nigerians, he said, Nigerian governors and other political office holder build hotels and palatial homes in Dubai. He called on Nigerians to put pressure on those who loot the nationâ€™s economy and invest abroad to repatriate their loots to the country.
Mr. Shehu boasted that he had never stolen from anybody in the course of building his vast business empire. He said instead, he had created more jobs for Nigerian youths than those who steal public funds. He called for the establishment of a Bank of Transport to strengthen the nationâ€™s transport sector and provide jobs for young people.
On a controversial note, he called for the execution of parents who write examination for their children, civil servants who declare false ages to remain in service, and public office holders who steal public funds, just like the case in China.
Mr. Shehu said, â€œMr. Chairman, we must begin to execute parents who write examination for their children. We must execute governors and political office holders who steal public money. We must execute civil servant who over-declare their ages and remain in service beyond 60 years, thereby preventing young people from getting job opportunities just like what is happening in China.â€
He also blamed the youth for going to universities and other tertiary institutions to become cultists and end up leaving the schools without character and skills. He said he had met graduates who could not write common names of people.
Kashim Ibrahim from Borno State blamed the growing insecurity in the country on failure of leadership and monumental corruption.
Mr. Ibrahim noted that over 30,000 people have lost their lives due to insurgency in the North-East while over 3 million have been displaced from their homes.
According to him, the insurgents are youths between the ages of 14 and 19 years who are largely illiterate, poor and devoid of skills.
He said, â€œWe have to create reconstruction fund of N300 billion for the rebuilding of the affected areas.â€
A delegate from Cross River State, Florence Ita-Giwa, argued that the Conference belonged to Nigerians and called for the re-launch of Nigeria. Like other delegates, she blamed the woes of Nigeria on its leaders including, those at the Conference.
She said, â€œMr. Chairman, we are almost running a one party state, where the opposition party is behaving as if itâ€™s fighting warfare.â€
She accused some opposition political parties of frustrating moves to re-invent the country and urged Nigerians to rally around President Goodluck Jonathan to change Nigeria for the good of the citizenry. On the representation of women in the Conference, Ms. Ita-Giwa said sarcastically, â€œWe see elder statesmen with their walking sticks, where are the women with their walking sticks.â€
U. M Ivowi, a professor representing the Nigerian Academy of Education, said education had the solution to the nationâ€™s problems. He said most of those who were prominent in the country today, benefited from government scholarships but would not allow young people of today to enjoy such privileges.
He said, â€œAfter they become something, they now train their children and abandon the children of the poor.â€
He said 10 million Nigerian children were out of school and called on government to change all the Almajiri schools back to normal schools. He noted that no child of the elite goes to the tailor-made Almajiri schools.
â€œWe have many children in the North who are not in school. In civilised societies, children are the property of the state. It is wrong for parents to keep their children from away schools. We are postponing the evil day when we do not take care of our children today,â€ he said.