The Oasis Reporters
February 11, 2018
By Greg Abolo
The interviews conducted with Nigeria’s presidential and vice presidential candidates in the election coming up on the 16th of February 2019 by Kadaria Ahmed has proven to be an eye opener to Nigerians who now know who the candidates really are, where they are coming from as well as what they are coming with, to the table.
The haste at which the People’s Democratic Party, PDP presidential candidate moved to settle the issue of who his running mate would be, left everyone gasping for breath, and asking to know more about Peter Obi. The disquiet the speedy decision caused in the All Progressives Congress, APC camp was rather telling. Atiku’s move was a bold strategy that settled every controversy.
But who is Peter Obi?
Before delving proper into this brief article, I will be resting on a biblical passage, Matthew 25: 15 – 30 which tells the story of a man who gave his three servants different amounts of talents, the currency of the time as he was embarking on a journey.
But I will take liberties by ‘Nigerianizing’ the story, just drawing from its equivalence to say that a certain big man was traveling out for a long while. He summoned his three servants and gave the senior servant, ten thousand naira to keep. The second one received five thousand naira, while the third servant got two thousand, five hundred naira.
After four months, the big man returned from his journey and summoned the three servants to produce the money given to them to keep.
The first servant spoke : Sir, you gave me 10,000 naira to keep. I displayed my talents in buying and selling, piling up profit upon profit, little by little, so I grossed 20, 000 Naira. Here it is.
The second servant who did the same, had 10,000 naira to present, having doubled the money through investments from 5,000 naira.
The third servant looked at the big man with scorn. “Sir, you gave me 2,500 naira to keep, and knowing how stingy you are, I dug the ground and hid your money. Here it is.”
Either way, the three servants had displayed their talents and capabilities. Obviously the least liked servant would be the third one.
It is like the story of three governors, let’s call them Obipee, Gbesol and Jimoh, (not real names, please. No resemblance to anybody, please). The central government gave the three highly educated and likeable governors, 10 billion naira each (not real allocation figure) to run their states, pay salaries and develop infrastructure.
Having come from an investor father, Obipee understands the language of financial multiplication. He learnt it from his father. He took a good study of the civil servants population. He called the Accountant General of his state and asked for an advance of $30 million for an investment. Knowing his pedigree, the Accountant General bothered the rule, and allowed it.
Soon, the $30 million invested in a brewery his father had shares in, yielded a return of $100 million for his state government. There were other investments too in two banks and many other companies, such that the returns became manifold. Schools that had been shut for over one year by one of his predecessors were revamped and modernized. The state that was number 22 or thereabouts in ranking, soon became number 1 in the nation. Salaries were paid on time and the Happiness Index in the state rose.
When a new business friendly President took over, Obipee took one one of his citizens, Chief Inno who said he could build automobiles but was stopped by an outgone President from proceeding with his project because he never believed that a black man could build cars, so he promptly impounded his moulds at the ports.
After all, the former president had set up Automobile Assembly plants that all crumbled.
Obipee took Chief Inno to see the new president, who promptly ordered the release of the moulds, and production started. Orders were coming from DR Congo, Ghana, Katsin and Delt States, etc to purchase the vehicles produced at Inno Automobile factory. The governor quietly sent his Chief Tax Officer to collect taxes. The state grew so rich, such that when Obipee was to leave office after a successful eight year tenure, he left 75 billion naira in cash and investments for his state, which has never been done anywhere in the country.
Then let’s consider the other two governors, Gbesol and Jimoh who did not understand the principles of financial management.
They kept drawing from their respective 10 billion naira to pay salaries and build infrastructure. Suddenly, the bottom fell off the bucket of Crude-oil, and the national source of revenue, dropped. Money was no longer coming in like before, and civil servants could not be paid, nor infrastructure adequately supported. Salaries were at times, owed for ten months and debts continued to be piled up for generations yet unborn to pay.
All because the two governors were not investment savvy.
In ending this short analogy of a story, let me dare to say that talking about Governor Obipee, is exactly mirroring the life and astuteness of Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP vice presidential candidate in Nigeria’s election coming up on the 16th of February, 2019.
Governors Gbesol and Jimoh seem to resemble largely, some leading personalities in the ruling party, at a time Nigeria is fast losing investment opportunities to the West African state of Ghana. There’s a current mind boggling figure of youth unemployment in the country. Debts have ballooned to unsustainable levels. With mass poverty and crippling religious insurgency, the country is in dire straits. The country has become the poverty headquarters of the whole universe. People will just have to choose between Deeper debt burden, and a chance for growth and hope.
Tomorrow, I’ll be writing about the PDP presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar. Keep a date.