LAGOS—FORMER Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that Nigeria needs to have wealth creators managing her affairs and not wealth sharers, if the country is to make any meaningful progress. He made this submission during a recent media chat in Lagos, during which he was asked to share his thoughts on the future of Nigeria.
Obi said: “Countries today are run like big business. If a man has not created wealth, he cannot manage wealth. We need wealth creators in government and not wealth sharers. We need somebody to unite this country. It is critical. I have lived in many different parts of Nigeria as a businessman. I have invested and served in several corporations without knowing where my co-investors or partners or those that I conducted businesses with came from.”
The former governor dismissed the often repeated excuse by those in power that they are unable to keep their election campaign promises because they do not have enough resources to work with. “Which country or where in the world do you have enough resources?” he asked and quickly added: “What you do when in office is to manage the resources at your disposal to keep your election promises. If you cannot deliver what you promised, then you have no business wanting to continue in office.”
Asked whether he is vying for any position, Obi said his preoccupation now is to be a small person in a great Nigeria and not a great person in a failed Nigeria. He, however, stressed that he is ready to serve in any capacity to make Nigeria great and that he is doing that now without being in office.
Obi went further to say that the discussion now should not be who is contesting or occupying any office but how Nigeria moved from 35 per cent under-employment and unemployment to 40 per cent. “Four million Nigerians lost their jobs last year. Our joblessness has increased from 14.8 per cent to 18.4 per cent, and 10 million Nigerians are out of school. These are what should worry us, not who is coming to continue the next stage of the drama,” he said.
Obi further noted: “The country needs people with competence and capacity at all levels of governance. We need people who are entrepreneurs. Yesterday I analysed all the expenditure in education. Nigeria’s budget for education is 1.7 billion dollars – 0.4 per cent of our GDP. South Africa is spending 10 times that amount. We are among the MINT countries. Mexico is spending 60 billion dollars. Indonesia is spending 28 billion dollars, Turkey is spending 24 billion dollars and we are spending 1.7 billion. How can you compete? We need to change the conversation.
The former Governor appealed to Nigerians to stop being docile but to ask questions and to actively engage in the debate about the present and future of the country so as to make Nigeria a better place.