• Thursday, June 20, 2024
businessday logo

BusinessDay

A bankrupt nation should channel available resource into funding critical development sectors – Obi

Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has condemned in strong terms the claim by the current administration that it inherited a bankrupt nation.

Obi, who spoke to some editors in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State, Saturday, said it was contradictory for a government that is neck-deep in squandamania to claim that the country was bankrupt.

He urged government to channel every available resource into funding critical development sectors and stop the unnecessary jamboree.

Read also: Do not allow us to ruin your future – Peter Obi urges Nigerian youths

“If you do not have enough money, you can’t be flying about, going to eat buffet. You cut your coat according to your cloth. That is what Nigeria needs to do,” he said, sounding rather disturbed.

Obi had a few days ago reacted to the claim the current administration inherited an empty treasury from the Buhari administration.
In a long tweet on his twitter handle, the former Anambra State governor said: “I just read yesterday, a widely publicized story from the present APC-led Federal Government saying that they inherited a bankrupt nation from their predecessor APC administration. But the story failed to disclose what they inherited which had qualified us for bankruptcy status.

“One major characteristic of responsible governance is transparency and strict accountability. This demands that the government disclose exactly the degree of deficit they inherited. What is inherited should be disclosed to enable the public to know where we are and where we are headed. Recall that the previous APC Government made a similar claim in 2015 against the PDP administration that handed over to them without telling the nation what it actually inherited.

“Rather, they took our debt profile from N12.6 trillion in 2015 to N87 trillion in 2023 when they left office without improving on any indices of development: Education, Health, Poverty eradication, and Security.

“Instead, the condition of the nation on every development index got worse, leading to the present sad state. Nigerians know things are bad, and they experience it daily. What they now want to hear regularly are measurable and verifiable steps to improve the situation.

“Also, the alarm raised by the government about the bad state of our finances raises questions about the rationale behind some expenditure items in the supplementary budget recently signed into law,” he said.

According to him, “The present revelation also goes to buttress the argument that I have made since electioneering season that the cost of governance is too high and must be drastically reduced. A bankrupt country should channel every available resource into funding critical development sectors like security, healthcare, education, and eradication of poverty by addressing youth unemployment, not spending in non-essential areas. So, what we expect are measurable and verifiable steps to improve the situation.”

Obi, who addressed a gathering at the 12th Annual Zik Lecture Series held at Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka, on Thursday, November 16, 2023 had compared the state of the nation a few years ago and what is going on at the moment, saying that there was the urgent need to dismantle the criminal enterprise established by enemies of Nigeria.

Read also: Peter Obi breaks silence over fuel subsidy removal, offers his opinion

He said: “The problem of Nigeria rests squarely on leadership. It is bad leadership that is the problem of Africa. It has nothing to do with colonialism; we were colonised years ago. Today, it is African leaders who have turned Africa into an enterprise. Let me use this university (Nnamdi Azikiwe University, Awka) to give you an example of the problem we faced in our country.
This University if you are employed here and you work hard to be a professor your salary is 400,000 and if they pay you without you spending your salary for 30 years; your salary would be N144 million which is not up to what we use to buy a car for a legislator in Nigeria that is the problem of Nigeria. That is number one.

“Number two, this university where you are, the overhead they give to Vice Chancellor from Federal Government is about N10 million, so in one year they would get about N120million, a school that has over 500 professors, over 4,000 lecturers and over 40,000 students.

“So, five of the universities like this would get about N600 million, which if you convert to dollar today is about $500,000; that is what we use to go to meetings of United Nations for one week, it is unacceptable.

“That is the problem of Nigeria, that is the problem of Africa. We can afford to do that with less than 10 percent, so it is squarely on us all; we must dismantle this criminality.”