The vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Peter Obi, says if he has his way, any public officer who influences a privatisation exercise, should go to jail without option of fine. Obi was responding to a question on solving the country’s power challenge at a widely-attended interactive session Thursday in Benin City, Edo State, with various professional groups, representatives of civil society organizations, business community, clergy, traditional chiefs, and other stakeholders, as part of his party’s political campaign ahead of the February 16 presidential /National Assembly elections.
Asserting that power is not rocket science, the former Anambra State governor noted that “Ghana, Egypt, within the past three years, have done a lot in power. What we are doing here, and that is what the problem is with our privatisation. There is nothing wrong in privatisation. I am from the private sector. If you allow me, we should make a law in this country; this is me now suggesting it. If you are in government, and they are doing privatisation or anything, and you make a mistake of being involved in it, directly or indirectly by bringing in one of your persons, you should go to jail without option of fine”. This position is appears diametrically opposed to that of his principal, Atiku Abubakar, PDP’s presidential candidate who had in a recent television interview, said as president, he would enrich his friends as far as there was no element of corruption involved.
Obi believed that the process may not be fair “because you take an interest in it”, stressing that “If you want to serve the people, you serve them. If you don’t want to serve them, you go home. Don’t waste our time. Power issue is something we must solve. If you don’t solve power issue, you cannot solve the issue of our economy the way it should be. And I can tell you, power issue will be solved”.
The former two-term governor of Anambra state insisted that restructuring remained sacrosanct in addressing some of the challenges bedeviling the Nigeria. On the controversial immunity clause and security votes for presidents and governors, he said he did not believe they were right. According to him, monies belonging to the public should be properly accounted for, adding that these are all the issues the Nigerian state should properly look into. “The election we are facing is not election between Atiku and Buhari. It’s about the future of Nigeria. Anybody can tell you any story. The thing is that Nigeria is collapsing. Today, we record insecurity like never in the history of Nigeria. Today Nigeria has the highest number of poor people in the world, we must come together to send them packing”.
On education and ending strikes, Obi stated that the universities would be supported. “What we are going to do about our universities is to see how we can create a loan system that will allow people to access the loans and go to school. We will support the universities; but in order to make it work, we need to create further the means by which universities can generate funds on their own”. He also assured that a PDP administration would fund properly universal basic education, noting that the funding of education today, was too low “and that is why we are going to put money”. He opined that If people have good education in primary and secondary school, they could be anything. “And that is a critical area. When we do what we are going to do, strikes will end. And I can assure you, it would be a different thing when it comes to supporting education”. Canvassing for the people’s votes, the former governor cum business man assured that in making Nigeria work in terms of leadership, Nigeria would be different. “So, go out there and vote for a better government, another set of people who have an idea what it is to run a country, to run a business. Atiku has experience as a business man, he has experience as somebody who has been in government. I have experience as a business man, I have experience as somebody who had been in government. A combination of two of us would make Nigeria work again”.