MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
“If Nigeria is not urgently rescued from the dangerous path she appears to be inexorably marching towards, we may not be able to contain the inevitable implosion, which all patriotic Nigerians, including all of you gathered here, pray against every day.”
The above were the words of frontline presidential aspirant of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2023 elections, Mr. Peter Obi, in Abuja on Friday when he met with the Forum of Past Ministers of Nigeria.
Addressing over 50 former Ministers, Obi said that the condition of Nigeria should agitate all men and women of goodwill that have the interest of the country at heart. To buttress the suffering and agony in the land, the former Governor said that all food items have doubled in their prices in the last one year and wondered how Nigerians survive.
“Today, Nigerians spend over 100 per cent of their salaries on feeding, that they scarcely save for other exigencies. In addition, we painfully have over 90 million Nigerians living under poverty and millions are jobless, especially youths in their productive years,” Obi said.
Explaining further how the country has deteriorated, Obi said: “In 2014, unemployment rate was 10 per cent, it is now 33 per cent, which clearly shows that we are moving from worse to worst, or, as some say, from ‘frying pan to fire’. What is lamentable is that it is the same with all other indicators.”
To make matters worse, Obi said, “In the midst of the suffering, Nigerians are confronted by the worsening security situation, erosion of those centripetal forces that should keep us together, as well as unbridled borrowing that will end up enslaving Nigerians.”
Obi who admitted that what is happening is not restricted to Nigeria, said that one of the solutions other countries have embraced was electing their best, those with track record of excellence and knowledge of the economy to lead them at this critical time. For him, that is what Nigeria needs today.
He recounted what he did in Anambra State, how he improved the infrastructure in the state beyond belief, paid arrears of debt owned by the state, did not borrow one kobo and yet handed over to the state about N75 billion. He said that if given the opportunity, he would replicate the Anambra miracle in the country.
Responding on behalf of the former Ministers, their Chairman, Alhaji Amini Sarki, said that Obi’s speech showed how passionate he was about Nigeria, how deep he knew the problems of the country and how ready he was with solutions to the problems. He commended him for evidently taken time to understand the problems of the country, which he described as the first step towards inspiring belief in his ability and commitment.