The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), and two-term governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, recently visited Akwa Ibom State for his campaign. Speaking with newsmen before the campaign rally, he revealed his plans for Nigeria if elected president of Nigeria next month including the development of the Niger Delta region, and making Nigeria as a country to work again. Excerpts
In 1983 the Senate approved the establishment of Ibaka Deep Seaport here in Akwa Ibom. If you become the next president what is your plan for that project?
We are talking about how we compete in the world today. You compete by producing something that you export. So we are not doing Akwa Ibom a favour by developing the Deep Seaport, rather Akwa Ibom is offering us a space to develop an export channel which I am going to develop. Akwa Ibom can become a processing centre for export. I want to change it to a processing centre for export. The reason our currency is collapsing today is the function of our reserve, as we have no reserve.
We have a problem because we’re not exporting anything. If you are exporting something, you won’t have a dollar problem. Vietnam doesn’t have a dollar problem, and Malaysia which is less than 50m people does not have a dollar problem. In Nigeria, everybody is waiting to share money from oil. I will remove sharing formula and replace it with the
production formula. So we are not going to waste our money.
One of the presidential candidates said if he wins the election he will sell the NNPC. What is your take on that?
That is where we are having problems because we are dependent on oil. Oil is a diminishing asset that’s not giving anybody, anything. Oil contributes less than 10 per cent of our Gross Domestic Product, GDP, but it contributes about 50 per cent of federal government revenue which should not be
If we are a productive country, we can earn more money from other areas apart from oil. Akwa Ibom can earn more money from other things but we just believe in consumption and this formula of sharing. We don’t believe in production and that’s why I keep saying that the reason millions of people have been thrown into poverty is that Nigeria is not a producing country.
Because we are waiting to share money from oil, we have our people living in poverty, it can’t continue. We have vast uncultivated land in the north and people are looking for oil. If I become president, within a few years I will devote the money from oil in trying to ensure that we clean up, and be able to develop Niger Delta for what they have suffered. Then resources from other places will be used to develop the areas.
I am a champion of fiscal federalism so that people can become productive. So, I am not going to sell the NNPC, it is the least of my problems. My problem is to create a future and allow the country to work again. NNPC is not even producing anything today, it’s not making any profit, and it is not contributing anything today.
Power distribution is a major challenge Akwa Ibom is currently facing. How do you intend to address the issue?
In my manifesto, I was very clear about the power issue. As of today, our generating capacity is about 12,000 Megawatts. We will do everything possible to solve the issue of power. We are going to support existing facilities, and increase and decentralize the transmission to ensure that what is being generated is being distributed. Additionally, we will support every other method. In South Africa, they are 60 million people and they generate almost 50,000 megawatts.
And the president in the past few months declared an emergency in power and authorised anybody can generate up to 100 megawatts without a license. We are over 200 million people, we generate only 5,000megawatts, what do you think I will declare in the sector? War
In 2019 you were running mate to Atiku Abubakar on the platform of the PDP. He is still the presidential candidate of the party for the 2023 election. Why are you not with Atiku to contest for the presidency this time around?
I have a background as an Igbo man. In Igbo land, if you are learning a business, you stay with your boss and when you finish he will settle you. Now two of you will be doing the same business and looking for the same customers who will now decide who is the best. The customer may decide to continue to buy from the Oga, or from this new boy, that the product he is selling is better than that of the Oga.