The former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that Nigeria needs urgent and patriotic efforts from all Nigerians to save it from total collapse, which he said was as a result of cumulative leadership failure over the years. He said that the failure was manifested in many ways, including the mounting debt by the country and the practice of each state running to Abuja to share borrowed money.
“What we are experiencing today is because most of us leaders at various levels of government have not done the right thing over the years, and the situation continues till today,” Obi said.
The former governor bared his mind on Wednesday while speaking to the press after the public presentation of the book entitled Prime Witness, written by the immediate past gubernatorial candidate in Anambra State and the former Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, at the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs (NIIA), Lagos. He called for concerted efforts to stop the total collapse of the country.
To show how bad Nigeria has fared, Obi, by heart, compared it with countries of the world that witnessed the same development trajectories.
He said, “By 1980, Nigeria had a GDP of 141 billion dollars, savings of 10.5 billion dollars and per capita income of 870 dollars…. compared with China that had a GDP of 341 billion dollars, 10 billion dollars in savings and per capita income of 193 dollars. Check the indices critically as we go to 2016 … where China has moved from 341 billion to 11 trillion dollars in GDP while Nigeria just crawled from 141 billion to 420 billion dollars! China also skyrocketed in savings from 10 billion to 3 trillion dollars while dear country that was above China moved from 10.5 billion to 30 billion dollars. China moved from per capita income of 193 to 9,000 dollars while Nigeria moved from 870 to 2,000 dollars. By comparison it’s pathetic and unacceptable!
“Let’s move to a smaller country like South Korea. In 1980, South Korea had 3 billion dollars in foreign reserves (savings). They have no oil but they moved from that to 400 billion dollars today. Remember our country moved from 10.5 to 30 billion dollars. It’s the same pathetic tale all over.”
The former governor went further to draw comparisons from the expected new world growing economic group of countries christened MINT. This comprises Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. He said the world is expecting significant growth from these four countries.
He said: “Mexico, with a population of 130 million people has a GDP of 1.2 trillion dollars; Indonesia with a population of 250 million people has a GDP of 1.0 trillion dollars; Turkey with a population of 80 million people has a GDP of 880 Billion dollars. Nigeria with a population of over 190 million people has a GDP of 420 billion dollars. Our GDP is not up to half of Turkey which is least of the other 3 MINT countries. Comparing with savings, our dear country is even far further behind!”
Lamenting Nigerian’s mounting debt, Obi said: “By 2008 Nigeria’s debt of 32 billion dollars was cancelled, every cent of it. Today, total debt of all our tiers of government is 22 Trillion Naira, over 70 billion dollars! and we have nothing to show for it. The debt being 20% of GDP is not a threat. If the money was used for production and genuine investments…then great, no threat whatsoever, but worrisome if used for other purposes. Today, our country is using 60% of her earnings to service debts, and that is very worrisome.”