By Nwabueze Okonkwo
ONITSHA—FORMER Governor of Anambra State and Vice-Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Peter Obi, has decried the current high debt profile of Nigeria which the current Federal Government plunged the country into.
He said it was “quite unfortunate that Nigeria was owing $30 billion some time ago and our creditors cancelled the debts for the nation to move forward and now, this present regime has plunged us into a deeper debt profile to the tune of $80 billion, an indication that the nation is collapsing.”
Obi who spoke inside Onitsha prisons during the 65th birthday ceremony of the Metropolitan Archbishop of Onitsha Catholic Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, said over 13.5 million Nigerian children are not in school, just as unemployment rate soars to very disturbing height.
He contended that his choice as the vice presidential candidate does not in any way call for celebration because the situation of Nigeria at the moment, requires an aggressive approach to ameliorate the situation, adding that when elected as vice president, he would personally work for the renovation of all the schools in the country.
He said: “Even if the children of our political leaders have the privilege to go to school abroad and the rest of children of the less privileged ones cannot go to school due to the collapsed system in education and in every other sector, when the children of the leaders come back to Nigeria, the non-educated majority will overwhelm them.”
Obi commended Archbishop Okeke for building a skill acquisition center for the Onitsha Prison inmates and expressed concern that half of the inmates were not supposed to be in prison custody, but for the sake of the collapsed system.
Earlier, Archbishop Okeke who celebrated Mass inside the prison, explained that his desire to build the N30 million skill acquisition centre was borne out of the need to educate the inmates and teach them some skills so that they can become useful to themselves and the society, when they come out of prison.
Obi remains best man for VP job —Umahi
Meanwhile, the Governor of Ebonyi State, Engr. Dave Umahi, yesterday, said political leaders of the South-East zone were never unhappy or opposed to the choice of Mr. Peter Obi as the vice presidential candidate of the PDP.
The governor blamed the social media for getting peoples thoughts and speeches wrongly interpreted and insisted that they were only asking for “a round table meeting to smoothen rough edges.” He assured that Ebonyi will deliver 1.3 out of its 1.5 votes for the PDP. Umahi spoke, Monday, when Obi paid him a courtesy visit.
Umahi, who said Obi had many things going for him, including sound leadership pedigree that saw him leading the South-East Governors Forum for eight years, also commended him for his humility while describing him as an asset to the country and the PDP.
He said: “I have every reason to be happy very with you. There is no way even if I was nominated that I will be the Vice Presidential candidate. I still have more than four years as a governor. Secondly, we have always supported ourselves. During my campaign, you came and even gave us vehicles.”
Earlier in his speech, Mr. Peter Obi thanked him for translating his impeccable character to providing leadership to the zone and for his sustained improvement of Ebonyi State.
Obi who recounted his long relationship with Ebonyi state, said he had come to consult him as one of the political leaders of the Igbos and also the good people of Ebonyi State. He invited all men of good will who are righteously indignant with the APC for the ruins they have brought the country to join the Atiku’s redemption movement.
“PDP as a party is desirous of returning to power at the center not just because we want to return to power but because we have seen that in our country Nigeria every indices of development today is heading south and we cannot continue that way. In terms of borrowing and all other indices everything is heading south. So PDP wants to come back and continue rebuilding the nation,” Mr Obi added.