The second in the Academic Engagement Lecture Series held at AUN on November 20 focused on the impact of Nigeria's leadership and natural resources on the citizenry.
Speaking on "National Cake: Government, Resources & Citizenry," Samuel N. Akanno, Assistant Professor, Accounting & Business Law, and chair of the Dept. of Accounting & Finance in the School of Business & Entrepreneurship, took an historical excursion into Nigeria’s socio-economic development, particularly regarding post-1960 military and civilian regimes, as well as into how corruption has blocked the actualization of the hopes of the populace and left many in poverty.
The speaker noted that Nigeria's current democracy is one in which political opponents are persecuted and tortured. It is not a reflection of true democracy, but a depiction of totalitarianism, he submitted, adding that a typical system where leaders still cling to power and constantly enrich themselves at the cost of the citizenry is best described as authoritarian.
On the socio-economic level, he said there is some freedom; the same situation applies to culture and other practices. On the energy issue, he noted that corrupt practices have taken over the deployment of the nation’s vast oil resources which would otherwise have improved the economy.
Professor Akanno said that people hanker after Nigeria's oil wealth now more than ever before for the following reasons: money, power, respect, influence, and control. He observed that the oil boom in the 1960s and 1970s grossly affected other vibrant sectors such as agriculture and manufacturing, which had boomed before the exploration for crude oil.
However, he insisted that the nation's hopes are not lost, and that the aspirations for Nigeria lie in its active human and abundant natural resources, democracy, and relationships with other nations. The speaker called for reorientation of the people as a means to realizing the nation's true potential which have been eroded by corruption and maladministration.
The speaker later entertained a vibrant question-and-answer session from the audience comprising students and faculty members. At the end, the organizers, the Office of Student Activities & Involvement, added a cake-cutting and sharing, symbolic of Nigeria’s national cake.
Everyone at Washington Hall for the lecture joined hands and cut the cake, had a bite, and more fun.