“Nigeria will … one day find herself in a debtor’s prison … Bribery and corruption alarmingly on the increase”! – Awo’s voice echoes from the grave

October 30, 2014


This essay is being reblogged from – now shelved but still very accessible here as; it continues to receive traffic and better still, it is a lecture that the current crop of Nigerian leadership needs be reminded of from time to time. TOLA.

03 Tuesday Sep 2013

Posted by emotan77 in Nigeria: Governance/Politics/Economy, etcetera

Lecture by Chief Obafemi Awolowo on 3rd September 1961

Excerpts from a lecture delivered by Obafemi Awolowo, Leader of Opposition in the Nigerian Federal Parliament, to Nigerian Students in London, on 3rd September, 1961.

Plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose.


“Education is still in its inchoate stages. The masses hunger after education but are not being satisfied. In regard to primary education, the position in the South is good. All children of school-going age are now in school in the South. But it is very far from being so in the North. A little over 250,000 children are now receiving primary education in the North, as against 1.3 million in the East and 1.2 million in the West.Secondary education ought to be free, but only the well-to-do can afford to send their children to any post-primary schools.

The award of scholarships tenable in Institutions of Higher Learning, and for technical and vocational studies, now lags very much behind the present needs of the country, with the result that many a lustrous talent is wasting and rotting away either in a soul-depressing job or in an asylum.

The finances of the Federation are being very badly managed. We are now right on the brink of a balance of payments crisis.

Yet, according to the latest pronouncement by the Federal Minister of Finance, our imports of consumer goods have increased appreciably; but as far as is known no visible effort is being made for a big export drive. I have told the Federal Government, on a number of occasions, that unless the present adverse trends which. have continued for four years are checked, Nigeria will, figuratively speaking, one day find herself in a debtor’s prison! Bribery and corruption, especially in high places, are alarmingly on the increase. A large percentage of monies which are voted for expenditure on public projects find their way into the pockets of certain individuals. There is unemployment everywhere. The standard of living in the country as a whole is very low, and in most parts of the country the peasantry and the working class wallow in abject poverty and misery.”


Thanks, Mr. Ajasin, for bringing the need to re-post this lecture. Tola.

THURSDAY, OCTOBER 30, 2014. 7:45 p.m. [GMT]

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3 Comments on ““Nigeria will … one day find herself in a debtor’s prison … Bribery and corruption alarmingly on the increase”! – Awo’s voice echoes from the grave”

  1. emotanglobal Says:

    Tokunbo Ajasinsaid:October 25, 2014 at 8:46 am

    This is amazing, are we ever going to get out of the woods? At the risk of being pessimistic, I must confess that I just cannot see any light at the end of the tunnel. I used to believe that we would get there, particularly when I read stories of other countries like Singapore, for example, who were as bad if not worse than us. But now I am starting to face reality. The prognosis is really bad. Except God will perform another miracle!


    emotan77said:October 25, 2014 at 6:53 pm

    Dear Mr. Ajasin,

    Thanks for this but unfortunately, this blog is no longer active – at least from my side although it still gets hundreds of visitors weekly. Right on the Home Page, I made the announcement that the new blog – – is where the action is. Since you are on the blog’s list and get the posts, I’d suggest you choose any of the essays that’s close to the ideas on Nigeria and paste this there.

    My regards,


    After a correspondence with Mr. Ajasin, I decided to re-blog the essay on the new emotanglobal, and have copied his comments here. TOLA.



  2. Adegoke FALADE Says:

    Papa Awo, the visionary!
    Perhaps, our Almighty Creator may provide us with another opportunity
    to have Awo’s clone in the forthcoming election of February 2015. It looks like day dreaming. But, who knows, a miracle may occur.



    • emotanglobal Says:

      Dear Prof.,

      Yes, a real visionary whose kind – even in more organized societies – are rare but in our climes, a real miracle is needed to have another like him. Why? Our people have strayed so much from the path of caring about others that even if such would be found, it would be OUTSIDE the political arena. Now, my belief and trust in retired General Buhari remains unwavering as perhaps the only one who is incorruptible.

      I was in awe when I read the lecture last year and so held on to it till the next day to coincide with the 52nd anniversary of the event, hence the title which I knew should carry more weight.

      What a man! But you know, Prof. Awo, like those whose lives remind us that God does make next-to-perfect humans, was a very disciplined man who gave in very little to the pleasures of the flesh. From his writings, one learnt he was abstemious, and from his public life, it was apparent he was not into chasing shadows and unnecessary things. And he was always studious.

      What more can one say but to wish that your “day-dreaming” becomes reality. Fat chance! At least not with the crop of thieving leaders who remind one of the Psalmist’s cry which I prefer in the Yoruba version: … gbogbo nwọn ni nwọn dimọ ya si apa kan; nwọn di eleeri patapata, ko si ẹni ti nṣe rere, ko si ẹnikan …”

      Each successive group [of politicians] gets worse in corruption, et cetera than the previous one because everybody knows that nothing is going to happen to thieves; not even, most of the time, a slap on the wrist.

      Nigeria is already in Donors [Debtors’]Prison with the endless borrowings a lot of which – at “federal” and state levels – goes into private pockets.

      Thanks, as always.



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