The former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, 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. He said it was wrong to blame those in leadership now, because, according to him, they inherited dysfunctional states from past leadership of the country.
Obi who was speaking to the press after the public presentation of the book entitled Prime Witness, written by the immediate past gubernatorial election candidate in Anambra State and his former Secretary to the Anambra State Government, Mr. Oseloka Obaze, at the Nigerian Institute of Foreign Affairs, Lagos, on Wednesday, 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. His words: “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 of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey. He said the world is expecting significant growth from these four countries.
“Mexico, with a population of 130 million people has a GDP of 1.4 trillion dollars; Indonesia with a population of 250 million people has a GDP of 1.2 trillion dollars; Turkey with a population of 80 million people has a GDP of 1.8 trillion dollars. Nigeria with a population of 200 million people has a GDP of 420 billion dollars. We’re almost a third of the least of the MINT countries. Comparing with savings, 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, we’re owing again to the tune of 70 billion dollars! Where can any of you point to what this staggering debt has been used in Nigeria? The Finance Minister said the other day that a country owing 20 % of her GDP is not under any financial threat. Certainly . . . she is right. No threat. But what becomes a threat is what the borrowed money was used for. If the money was used for production and genuine investments…then great, no threat whatsoever. But if the money was used for consumption like burials and partying then it’s not only threatening, it’s approaching anarchy! We’re heading for total collapse!
“Today, our country is using 60% of her earnings to service debts. Our national budget is about 8 trillion naira…and we’re borrowing 2.5 trillion out of it. We’re servicing old debts out of it.”
•Ex governor Peter Obi