Former Anambra State Governor and Vice Presidential candidate at the 2019 elections, Peter Obi disclosed that Nigeria marking its 61st independence anniversary has not given people much to celebrate, citing insecurity and poor economic performance of the Buhari administration.

Peter Obi disclosed this in an exclusive interview with TheNiche Ng reported on Saturday, discussing the economy, the debt trap and the 2023 Presidency.

The former Governor also said in a separate social media statement on Saturday that a father must leave a better place for the children, making sacrifices to make life better for them, as that is what leadership should be about.

What Peter Obi said about Nigeria’s independence

“For me, it is more of a reflection. There is nothing to celebrate. Yes, we are 61 but we are worse off today than we were in the 1960s,” he stated.

He added that Nigeria used to be at least a safer country, in terms of security, citing that the different ethnic groups worked together as a family and the economy was better, but everything has now gone bad.

“There is nothing to celebrate. It only calls for reflection. How do we build the future? That’s what we should be reflecting on,” he said.

Peter Obi cited that over the years there has been a failure of leadership, highlighting that Nigeria’s Leaders over the years were not visionary and not willing to make sacrifices.

“First is that we need to look back at our leadership selection process. It is a critical thing. We need to start a proper leadership selection process that will throw up people who are competent, have the capacity and above all, the integrity and the ability to sacrifice in building a better future for the country,” he said.

On the 2023 elections and power shift to the South, Peter Obi stated that economic development discussions are more fundamental than all those things.

“We need to make the country productive. At the present, the country is not productive. We need to restructure it and make it work,” he remarked.

He added that personally, he supports that each zone should have a chance of producing the president; however, there are more important things including “taking decisions on the several schools that are closed in the North. I do not see them being aggressive about how to make the country productive. Where the president comes from cannot change anything unless we have a leadership that is competent.”

He added that zoning the presidency to the Southeast will not automatically fix issues in the region, stating that “It is not as if you will pick a president from one zone, automatically, everything goes right.

“So, let’s discuss the issue of insecurity, issue of economy so that people can get jobs. We in the South-East want the presidency. We want to produce the next president. But is it going to be automatic that once you give it to us, there will be food on people’s table? No! So, while this is being addressed, let’s talk about the country, the survival of the country; fixing that engine, not talking of hiring a driver yet because the engine has a problem.”

On the economy, he warned that Nigeria was on the verge of collapse adding that “We are back in a debt trap. The country is not productive. The components that make the economy work are not there.

“The GDP (Gross Domestic Product) is not growing, the per capita is not growing, more and more people are being thrown into poverty, every day. You have insecurity. Nobody is going to farm. Inflation is on the rise, prices of goods are rising. Nigerians who are lucky to have work, now spend over 100 per cent of their salary on feeding. So, you have a crisis. It’s not fear, it’s real. You could see it in the street, you could see it everywhere.”

He further stated, “From January to May, our total revenue was about N1.845 trillion. Our expenditure within that period was N4.812 trillion. Our borrowing to support that was about N3 trillion. Our total servicing of the debts was N1.802 trillion. So, in effect, if you minus revenue and the ones we used to service debt, we have only about N40 billion in actual net revenue receipt.”

He warned that the national debt discussion should be focused on debt-to-revenue, not debt-to-GDP, citing that when your revenue is low, you have a problem.