Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, emphasised the distinction between the presidential tenures of Olusegun Obasanjo and Musa Yar’Adua compared to the current administration regarding engagements and consultations with state governors on crucial national matters.
Obi spoke at a symposium held in Lagos on Tuesday to commemorate Pat Utomi’s 68th birthday and the 20th anniversary of his not-for-profit organization, Centre for Values in Leadership (CVL).
The event, themed ‘Democracy, Governance, and National Performance: The Mutual Relationship,’ attracted prominent figures including Governors Abdullahi Sule of Nasarawa, Charles Soludo of Anambra and Peter Mbah of Enugu, represented by his secretary to the state government, as well as former governors Aminu Tambuwal, Obong Victor Attah, Senator Abaribe, and others.
Obi highlighted the significant differences in the level of collaboration between the federal government and governors during the administrations of Obasanjo and Yar’Adua compared to the present one.
He recalled instances during Obasanjo’s tenure where governors wielded authority over security matters.
Obi recounted his experience as Anambra governor, citing how he promptly received support when he requested the removal of senior police officers. He also mentioned seeking assistance from Obasanjo late at night, illustrating the former president’s responsiveness.
He said, “You cannot compare Obasanjo’s presidency, Yar’Adua’s presidency to what we have today. Under General Obasanjo, the governors were in charge of security; I for one requested that every DPO to commissioner in Anambra be removed and it happened.”
Obi further underscored the importance of effective anti-corruption measures, asserting that if the president demonstrates commitment to combating corruption, others would follow suit even without the involvement of agencies like the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
He emphasised the need for the president and his associates to uphold integrity to set a precedent against corruption.
Tambuwal echoed Obi’s sentiments, citing an incident where the Buhari administration unilaterally closed the Republic of Niger border without consulting him as the governor of Sokoto State, despite Sokoto sharing the largest border with Niger.