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I prefer buying computers than expensive shoes – Peter Obi tells Dele Momodu

The conversation commenced after the initial technical hitches, at about 7.27 pm with pleasantries about the corona virus lockdown. Dele Momodu, the host gave a brief citation about Peter Obi detailing his educational qualification and family background. He fired the first question about holding public office. Peter Obi disclosed that being in public office is simply by the grace of God. He stated that if you are in public office and doing the right thing, you will gain people’s support. Politics for him should not be transactional. Obi insisted that education is the most important investment any society can make. He gave examples of China, America, Ghana etc as countries that have invested wisely in education. Lack of investment in education is why Nigeria is not doing well. Obi said he will be comparing himself with presidents of developed nations if he was in Buhari’s shoes.

According to him, a country must have a clearly defined understandable vision and destination that is measurable. He made a comparative analysis of Ghana’s and Nigeria’s GDP. Obi also compared Nigeria, China and Indonesia in terms of economic growth. For him, Ghana has a consistent policy that is measurable. He stated that our leadership selection process in Nigeria is poor and that citizens have become insanely complacent. Obi regretted the sharing of the money from excess crude account by governors in Nigeria without any visible impact. He believes that governors in Nigeria are supposed to apologize for that singular mistake. Obi advises that as critical mass, leadership recruitment should be about performance.

Dele Momodu reminded him that because of ethnicity, religion and money, it will take a very long time to put good people into leadership positions in Nigeria. Obi responded that crude oil is a diminishing asset that sooner or later the oil wealth will no longer be available for distribution. For him, only then will creative and smart governance emerge to save Nigeria. Obi opined that the easiest way to solve the insecurity problem in Nigeria is to provide employment for the jobless population. He advocated for true federalism as regards restructuring. Restructuring will benefit everyone and put a stop to all the agitation we are witnessing in Nigeria. He also explained that bad leadership is often celebrated and condemned the office of First Ladies because it incurs extra cost and confusion to governance and has no place in the constitution. He encouraged community policing as another means of fighting insecurity which worked perfectly for him as governor of Anambra State. In conclusion, the host Dele Momodu asked jocularly why he is seen as a stingy man. Peter Obi responded by insisting that there is a purpose for money. He stated that he has been generous by quietly visiting schools and spending not less a million naira on each secondary school. He prefers buying computers for schools than spending his money on expensive shoes. Obi’s closing remark is that we have no other country than Nigeria.  

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