Peter Obi threw Anambra into massive poverty level as governor - Soludo

Peter Obi and Gov. Soludo

Obi and Soludo

Prof. Charles Soludo, governor of Nigeria’s Southeast state of Anambra says on Monday that poverty level doubled in the State under Peter Obi as governor.

Obi, a two-term governor of Anambra State is gunning to become Nigeria’s president in 2023 under little-known Labour Party.

His supporters have dubbed him as a ‘super governor’ during his tenure because he left about N75 billion in the coffer on leaving office.

But records opened by Soludo, the current governor, showed that Obi was saving money while there was massive poverty in Anambra State under his watch.

Soludo, in a statement on Monday to counter Obi’s vociferous supporters kicking against his interview on Channels TV, said: “Funny, in the rabid frenzy to grab every straw, they cut a clip during our governorship debate where I was stating vital statistics and they claimed that I was “praising” Peter Obi then while committing a crime now by “criticising” him.

“Hahahaha! Well, it is true that I said during the debate that, according to National Bureau of Statistics, poverty in Anambra actually grew (from less than 25% in 2005) to about 53% under Peter Obi in 2010/2011 but fell under Willie Obiano to 14.78% in 2020.

“Yes, poverty more than doubled under Peter Obi and more than 50% of Ndi Anambra were in poverty under him. Go and verify! I am Governor, and sitting on privileged information which I will not want to use against a political opponent. But on matters of facts, I will always state same as it is. As the saying goes, you can fool some of the people some of the time but never all the people all the time. Enough said for now!,” he stated.

Soludo said Obi was governor for 8 years (2006 -2014) during a period of unprecedented oil boom and prosperity in Nigeria (Nigerian economy was growing at average of 6-8% per annum, and oil price was highest during this time).

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He stated that he had seen all kinds of funny comments and interpretations regarding what he said about the value of his “investments”.

Soludo said some referred to SabMiller and bandy all kinds of figures as to how the investment of $12 million was now worth less than $3 million.

According to him, “Of course, there is room for legitimate debate about the logic or quality of the investments. For example, people might differ as to the propriety of using taxpayers money to promote a company in which one is a shareholder in the name of “investment”, or even whether so called “savings” are warranted when there were dozens of schools without roofs or classrooms, or local governments without access roads or hospitals without doctors/nurses.

“A Bishop recently publicly advised that I should please try to construct the “Ngige type of quality roads”, stating that the ones done by his successor (that is, Peter Obi) had washed off, while Ngige’s remained. I promised and we are delivering quality roads that Anambra has not seen before.”

He added that for sure, prudence in public resource management is desirable and that his government was opening new frontiers in that area, arguing that people would however differ as to whether saving money in the bank account is a KPI (key performance indicator) for a government where poverty is escalating except where its institutions for absorption were weak or where the government has no robust/big agenda for transformation.

“Governments exist to save lives, not to save money. We can debate and differ on this— (by the way, I know when/how it is appropriate to “save” as I built Nigeria’s foreign reserves from $10 billion I inherited to all time $63 billion, and even after paying $12 billion to pay-off Nigeria’s external debt and going through unprecedented global financial crisis, I still left behind about $45 billion— Go and verify!),” he said.

Soludo asked: “Where do we go from here? I listened to my friend Gov El-Rufai on TV explaining why the northern governors decided that power should shift to the South. According to him, they asked themselves what would their founding fathers—Ahmadu Bello, Tafawa Balewa or Aminu Kano have done in the circumstance.

“Today, I ask my people, Ndigbo: do we ask what Azikiwe or M.I. Okpara or Akanu Ibiam would do in the present circumstance? I worry that Ndigbo as Nigeria’s foremost itinerant tribe and with the greatest stake in the Nigerian project does not yet have a strategy to engage Nigeria—politically! Every four years, we resurface with emotive Nzogbu Nzogbu political dance (“it is our turn dance” but without organization or strategy) and fizzle out afterwards while others work 24/7 strategizing and organizing.”

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