•Flays Gov Obiano’s comments about his colleagues in S-East
•Says he needed to attend their meetings to confront them with allegation, seek their cooperation in insecurity in Anambra
•Confiscate my property home, abroad if you found more than $15m
Former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi has blamed the Federal Government for the breakdown of security in the state.
This came as he expressed displeasure at the recent statement made by the Attorney General of the Federation and Minister of Justice, AGF, Abubakar Malami, ahead of the November 6 governorship election in the state.
Malami had said the spate of violence in the state might see the federal government declaring a state of emergency just to ensure that the election holds on the scheduled date.
This was criticised by the Anambra State government which pointed out that despite the level of violence witnessed in some northern states, elections were still held there without any declaration of state of emergency.
Speaking on the issue in an interview on The Morning Show, an Arise TV programme monitored yesterday, Obi said the federal government shouldn’t be talking about state of emergency.
According to him, “People in government, when they make statements, should always, first of all, evaluate and think about the implications of their statements to the overall well being of the country.
“People don’t know that the greatest contributors to GDP growth are intangible assets, which is security, law and order, and even the behaviour and statement of the leaders.
“The statement of leaders can actually hurt the people. So, leaders must always ensure that their words have always gone through scrutiny.
“That statement from the attorney general shouldn’t be. More so, he’s the attorney general of the federation, not of the federal government or APC.
“The federal government should not talk about a state of emergency. Failure of security in Anambra State is their failure because they are in charge of security. Unless they are saying, they’re going to declare a state of emergency on the country.”
Confiscate my property home, abroad if you found more than $15m
On the Pandora Papers, Obi said the accusations against him from an online publication are false, stating that he does not own $500 million and has never evaded taxes.
The former Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, said that his offshore trusts were strictly for savings and support borrowings to invest in Nigeria. “Trust company is a legitimate vehicle used everywhere globally for investment, savings, estate planning purposes. In my own case and that of my family, it was done on very valuable advice of our then banker.
“This company was never used to launder money before, during and after my tenure as governor.
He hinted that the allegation claiming that he owns half a billion dollars was baseless, citing that Nigerians usually find it difficult to understand the value of money. “If I have that type of money, I will not be here. Did you know what half a billion dollar is? Let me tell you, my entire earning while I was governor of Anambra was under N500 billion out of which I saved 15 percent. If you see anything more than $15 million, confiscate my properties overseas and locally.
“Globally, world population is over 7 billion, out of which, only 37.5 million are worth one million dollars. Only 3 million people are worth 10 million dollars and only 300 thousand people are worth $25 million (.004%)”.
On his company, Next International, he said “it is a UK based company that represents multinationals in West Africa.
“I was the CEO. I was living in the UK and operating in Nigeria when I was declared winner of an election on Thursday 16th March 2006. On that day, I was presiding over Fidelity Bank Board meeting as Chairman. Bismarck Rewane was a board member. The meeting stopped when I was told I had been elected governor of Anambra State.
“After I got my certificate of return, I was told I needed to proceed to Awka because the then governor, Ngige left the country and there was no government. The next morning, I arrived Awka and was quickly sworn in,” he recounted.
“I had to phone my wife to take charge. I won’t come to London and I was chairman of 11 companies. I phoned all of them to drop my resignation. I never left Awka till I was impeached. I did the needful correctly, on form declaration,” he added.
Obi also revealed that he declared things that belong to him, not to the company because the company had debt obligations.
“I cannot declare things that don’t belong to me. I cannot evade tax. Every investment done globally is legitimate and pays tax. If I earn anything in the UK, I pay their taxes. I cannot pay property tax in Nigeria for property in the UK.
“I have never paid less than N50 million in taxes annually over the years. I did not break the law. Everything I did is within the line. They can’t find anything against me,” he said.
Obi pledged to sponsor executive bill on saving if he assumes a leadership position in the country.
“I have been preaching about saving. If I am lucky to be at the helm of affairs of this country, the first executive bill I will sponsor is that we must save 5 to 10 percent of our resources from mineral resources for future generations.”
On Buhari’s borrowing, Obi stated that a country cannot spend its way out of recession as it will have to cut costs. “The first thing you do when you are in recession is to cut your cost. You cannot continue to live the same life style you live when things are normal especially now that you are borrowing. If you must borrow when in recession, you need to put the money into critical areas,” he advised.
“You cannot have 98 million people in poverty and you are talking about revenue. Who is going to pay you tax? The unemployment rate is about 50 percent, the working population is about 120 million out of which only 55 percent is working. If you want to double your revenue, the more you pull people out of poverty, the more your revenue increases.
On Anambra election
“The federal government should not talk about state of emergency in Anambra because the security failure is federal government failure. They are the ones in charge of security. I am of the opinion that election must hold, the issue of insecurity is national.”
On zoning, he said: “We will follow whatever the party decided. I think the national executive of the party has decided that the national chairman of the party should go to the north and the presidential ticket should be open to everybody. If that is the position, everybody must obey it.
“My only concern is that whoever is going to be our candidate must be a competent person that will do the work and put the country in a right direction because we are currently in a wrong direction.
“Let me make it clear, 2023 is critical. This country is collapsing economically. We need to pull people out of poverty so that criminality will reduce.”