The candidate who emerged third in the 2023 presidential election, Peter Obi, has said politicians have turned governance into a gigantic criminal enterprise.
This was as he lamented the state of the country’s economy, part of which has placed the country as the fifth unsafe place in the world.
Obi said this while speaking as a keynote speaker at Princeton University during the Chinua Achebe International Symposium and 40th anniversary of his booklet “The Trouble with Nigeria”
He said, “I elucidated to the audience how cumulative bad leadership, over the years, has done great harm to the Nigerian nation, using the periods 1980-1983 and 2020-2023 to illustrate. Our Political Leaders have turned Governance into a gigantic criminal enterprise, and wickedly plundered our commonwealth, which made our country to become among the very few Nations in world developing backwards. The world is about to exit fossil fuel, and yet we cannot point to sustainable investment or savings from the trillions of petro-dollars we have earned since 1959. Consequently, we are classified among failing/failed States, and below are just few illustrations of our predicament.
“Within the said period our poverty numbers have quadrupled to 130 million people living under multi-dimensional poverty, making us the undisputed poverty capital of the world.
“We now have over 22 million out of school children, again another undisputed champion in the world
“We are now among 5 most dangerous or unsafe countries in the world.
“Our GDP per capita in 1981 was $2180, and in 2020/21 was 2097, which not only shows that there was no growth, but infact we are far worse.
“Our currency Naira exchanged =N=1/$1.60, in fact in September 1983, =N =1,000,000 = $1,500,000 **And** 40 years after September 2023, =N=1,000,000 = $1,000.
“Our minimum monthly wage in 1980/1983 was =N=125 which was then $190-200.
“States of Kano and Kaduna under PRP Party led by our Revered Leader Aminu Kano with Governors Abubakar Rimi, and Balarabe Musa paid additional =N=2 making =N=127 which was above $200.
“Today with 1980/83 purchasing value of Dollar about a tenth of its value, our minimum monthly wage is =N= 30k, which is $30, just barely 1/6 of what we paid 40 years ago with far less purchasing value.
“University Professors were paid between =N=1000, and =N=1200 which was about $1,600-2000 then, and today if he is lucky to be paid as and when due will earn =N=400000, =$400, about 1/5 of the earning 40 years ago with far less purchasing value.
“Though people will have the opportunity of listening to the full speech, my closing remarks remain that with committed Leaders of good character, competence and capacity, we can start the rebuilding and healing process to a possible New Nigeria. -PO”