By Barrister Ejike Nwuba
I watched with utter dismay the interview of Professor Chukuma Soludo, the Governor of Anambra State on Channels TV, where he dismissed Peter Obi’s investment of Anambra State public funds as “amounting to nothing”.
For those of us who actually supported the incumbent Governor’s candidature last year for the sole reason that we believed he was the best choice – this incident is underwhelming and treacherous.What crime did Peter Obi commit to warrant such public vilification? Peter Obi is one man who should be celebrated, extolled and emulated as far as public service is concerned in the annals of history of this country.Under Peter Obi’s leadership, Anambra State was rated the least indebted state in Nigeria by the Debt Management Office.
Yet Obi among several other things asphalted over 800 kilometres of roads which led to the state being rated the state with the best road network in the country by the Federal Ministry of Works. Obi returned the missionary schools to the management of the churches and invested N6 billion in the public schools. He distributed over 30,000 computers with internet access and Microsoft academies to 500 schools. He built new classroom blocks in the 177 communities of the state. He bought 700 buses for secondary schools, and sunk boreholes in 300 schools.With his solid investment in education Anambra State was catapulted from #27 in WAEC examination performance to #1!He paid N35 billion in outstanding pensions and gratuities accrued since 1999.
Peter Obi completely built the massive new Amaku Teaching Hospital in Awka. He built the new Anambra Secretariat among other pertinent structures.He attracted Fortune 500 companies such as SABMiller, Glaxo SmithKline, Neimeth, Beecham among others to invest in the state.He precipitated the establishment of the lucrative Orient Petroleum among others.And this same man handed over N75 billion in cash to his successor, Willie Obiano.It beats my imagination that Obi’s investment in SABMiller et al of USD 12 million is being rubbished by the incumbent Governor.It is a big kudos to Peter Obi that he attracted the world’s second largest beermaker, SABMiller of South Africa founded in 1895 to Anambra State, and SABMiller invested over N20 billion to establish their facility in the state. The roughly N2 billion Anambra state invested in the project was only part of their equity contribution for just 10% of the company -Intafact Beverages in Anambra State, while SABMiller retained 77% equity.SABMiller was later acquired by the world’s #1 beermaker, Anheuser-Busch InBev from Germany in 2016 and all their businesses in Nigeria since then are held under their stake in International Breweries PLC.
Mind you at the time the investment was made in 2012 the exchange rate was N155 to 1 USD. Today the exchange rate is N880 to 1USD.How do you expect shares of International Breweries PLC to fare at the stock exchange?Is Peter Obi responsible for the incredulous catastrophic depreciation of the Naira in the past seven plus years of APC’s ruinous leadership?Is Peter Obi part of the management of the defunct Intafact Beverages or International Breweries PLC that determined the health of the company?Is Peter Obi responsible for the recent crunch in financial markets globally after the pandemic; which has precipitated in shrinking of even advanced economies, and massive loss of market share of lots of the world’s finest Fortune 500 companies, snowballing into massive layoffs and downsizing?Besides, is Governor Soludo blithely unaware of the fact that International Breweries remits millions of Naira annually in personal income tax of its staff ( PAYE) to the State Government and Company Income Tax to Federal Government? How then does it amount to nothing? Was SABMiller the only investment Peter Obi made in Anambra state throughout his 8 year term in office?Peter Obi pioneered the first licensed private refinery in Nigeria – Orient Petroleum in Anambra State which was commissioned by President Olusegun Obasanjo in 2006.
Peter Obi as Governor invested N4 billion in Orient Petroleum. Anambra State has officially become an oil producing state entitled to 13% mineral derivation fund because of that investment by Peter Obi which culminated in the success of Orient Petroleum.On August 11, 2022 Governor Soludo received N268.2 million as a result of Anambra State’s new status as an oil producing state.I am from Anambra State and I witnessed the gargantuan transformation of the state under Peter Obi’s leadership. Why then is such an exemplar in a clime bereft of altruistic leaders being vilified rather than extolled?Among the three frontline candidates in the forthcoming Nigerian Presidential elections, who has the track record and proven moral rectitude to bring this country out of its present quagmire?
Peter Obi is the only one!Former Governor of Lagos State, Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC was indicted of drug trafficking and money laundering in USA back in 1993 which led to the forfeiture of a princely USD 460,000. During his regime as Governor and two decades after in which he firmly established himself as the supreme power behind the Lagos State Government House, Tinubu has been notoriously synonymous with massive looting, corruption and wanton embezzlement of public funds.Former Vice President, Atiku Abubabar of PDP was indicted of laundering USD 40 million by the US Government. Atiku is notorious for unending corruption and massive looting allegations particularly during the privatisation of national assets when he was Vice President. President Olusegun Obasanjo in his book, My Watch said: “The money Atiku stole when he was my vice is enough to feed 300 million people for 400 years”. And in an interview Obasanjo said: “God will never forgive me” if he supports Atiku for President.
Peter Obi is the only one who after doing a terrific job as Governor left a whopping N75 billion for his successor.And Nigerian youths across the entire country from every tribe, tongue and religion, whose futures and destinies are at stake here, have massively and unanimously endorsed the only candidate who has given them hope for a New Nigeria. The only flicker of light in the dark abyss of Nigerian political history – Peter Obi!
Today, Nigeria practically checks out all the indices of a failed state and is in dire need of a Messiah – a proven visionary and prudent manager of her commonwealth to turn the table of fortunes around for the beleaguered nation.Peter Gregory Obi is the ONLY candidate who fits the bill!And for the incumbent Governor of Anambra State to so brazenly rubbish Obi’s efforts in Anambra State as he did yesterday – is MONKEY BUSINESS!
By Barrister Ejike Nwuba
Lagos Nigeria, November 11, 2022