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Nigeria needs to build strong institutions, not strong men – US Ambassador

The United States Ambassador to Nigeria, Terrence McCauley, said if Nigeria would achieve socio-economic and political prosperity as soon as possible, the Federal Government must build strong institutions and not only strong men.

He gave the advice while addressing thousands of undergraduates from 31 tertiary institutions that converged on the Eko Hotel and Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos, yesterday, for the semi-finals of a national competition organised by an international non-profit organisation, Students In Free Enterprise (SIFE) towards developing the leadership and entrepreneurial skills of the Nigerian youths.

McCauley stated that building of institutions that would be bigger and more powerful than an individual would not only create a better tomorrow for the contemporary youths, it would also help in overcoming the incessant security challenges besetting the country. According to him, “in 2009, President Barrack Obama said Africa does not need strong men, it needs strong institutions. This is an absolutely critical point for Nigeria because commencing small institutions today will create opportunities in the future in running your nation. These opportunities will benefit you and everyone.

“Today, Nigeria is one of the 10 fastest growing economies in the world. International investors, I am sure, are beginning to come because Nigerian economy is flourishing. This growth has potential to lift millions out of poverty and produce more jobs forthwith. But it will take determined efforts and strong character to keep Nigeria moving in the right direction.”

McCauley assured Nigerian youths that transparency, integrity, fairness, compassion and responsibility would keep them going whenever they embarked on any project and failed. Successful people, he maintained, had failed many times before they succeeded, adding that if the road to success was easy, everybody would take to it.

Meanwhile, the five tertiary institutions that would compete at the finals of the competition tagged: “The SIFE Challenge,” on July 21 are the Federal University of Technology, Owerri (FUTO), Bayero University, Kano (BUK), University of Ibadan (UI) and Federal Polytechnic, Mubi, Adamawa State. They emerged after they defeated 26 other institutions at the first round on Wednesday and semi-finals yesterday

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