Okonjo-Iweala, Sanusi begged us to save but we refused, says Obi

Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II

Emir of Kano, Alhaji Muhammadu Sanusi II

Former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, yesterday said governors under the Goodluck Jonathan administration refused to save for a rainy day.

Obi said former Minister of Finance, Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Lamido Sanusi Lamido, now emir of Kano, Muhammad Sanusi II, begged the Federal Government to build its savings but the governors kicked against the idea.

Speaking on CNBC Africa, Obi said he was not against the Muhammadu Buhari government’s plan to borrow, but he was against borrowing without a plan.

“I was in government when the likes of Ngozi Iweala, Aganga, Sanusi were crying let’s save; we collectively said we don’t want savings, and we are now in this mess; we cannot afford to increase it by going to borrow without a clear road map on what we would use it for,” Obi said.

“People start saving in crisis. Go and check most nations that save, they started it in crisis situation, because they could see the point of not saving yesterday; and that is where we are.

“I have said it before that even if we saved five percent of all our oil earnings from 1960 to date, which is about $1.2 trillion, considering a compound interest of about five percent, we should have about 150 billion today.”

Obi said the country could put up a savings plan that helps prepare for tomorrow, and could possibly allow government to borrow today.

“Imagine what would have been happening if we were in that situation. That was 56 years ago; we have 44 years to our 100th year of independence.

“What I am saying is that if we decide today to save on 50 percent of our own budgeted output of 2.2 million barrels per day, we decide to save on just 1 million barrels per day, with our earnings at $50 per barrel, in the next 44 years, we would be at 50 to 60 billion dollars.’’

Speaking about Okonjo-Iweala’s effort, he said: “ I was in government when Okonjo-Iweala was crying meeting after meeting, let’s save money; we need to save for a rainy day. We said no. Some said this woman should not be found near this country.

“We even went to court as a body to challenge savings, and look at where we are today.

“Change that constitution that says we cannot save; what type of constitution is that? When we are talking about constitution amendment, we should amend things that are immediate.

“Issue of savings should be included in our constitution today; oil is a depleting asset, and we are not even saving for tomorrow,” Obi added.

He urged the Federal Government to embrace restructuring and let the country’s strength be found in its diversity.

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  • Aristotle

    Little by little, the real truth of how we got to this level of recession is coming out. Though I’m not sure of Obi’s motive for all these revelations but still, he should keep them coming.
    On saving as an economic policy enshrined in the Constitution, I believe that will help force our spendthrift governments to prepare for the future.

  • Blonde Johnny Bass

    I remember 2 APC and 1 PDP governors took the Goodluck government to court, Fashola,Oshiomole and current minister of transport Rotimi currently an APC full member. So what we are staying is that the current government while in opposition pushed the country not to save, they wanted cash now and went to court. So anyone who lack the knowledge to know that this current government is reaping what they have sowed and the whole of the people that supported them are enjoy the fruit of their labour for voting for them. I only feel sorry for those who could see through the vile of lies presented by the Lai of APC.

    • Williams Johnson Fortune

      Obi said ‘we’. Write with someone with brain. The means he included himself, meaning all of them consented to the idea. And all the states shared the money. It pains to see matured minds writing like tarts to score mumu political point

  • sirOscie

    Well said Mr Obi.
    Restructuring is the way forward for Nigeria and I am sure Atiku Abubakar who has re-echoed that call is fully aware of what is to be done and the way to go about them..
    All he needs now is the support of everyone for the 1999 constitution to be amended since it has held the country hostage long enough..
    We’re with the former vice president and Peter Obi because we know their intentions are of good.

    • Williams Johnson Fortune

      It this an advert for Atiku? Shame on you and your education.

      • sirOscie

        Thank You