Former governor of Anambra State and member of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on Wednesday, December 31, 2014 spoke to newsmen in Lagos concerning the presidential ambition of former military head of state, General Muhammadu Buhari, who is contesting under the umbrella of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
Obi, who has always been an ally of President Goodluck Jonathan even during his tenure as an All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) governor gave reasons why Muhammadu Buhari should not win the 2015 presidential poll, highlighting about eight points.
Below are the points:
1. Buhari is too old
Obi enthused that Buhari is over 70 years old. He said that asides world powers like the UK and Italy, most developed countries have younger leaders. He further stressed the the United States of America has never had a leader over 70 years since the inception of democracy, with their oldest leader, Ronald Reagan aged 68.
He said the APC is misinformed if it plans to elect a 73-year old “in a world, where a life-changing protest for democratic change, the demand for free and fair democracy without Chinese interference was led by a 17-year-old boy in Hong Kong.”
2. Young people are doing big things all over the world
Peter Obi further poked holes at the issue of Buhari’s age, stating that “the major search engines and social networks of the world, like Google (1998), Yahoo (1994), Ebay (1995), Facebook (2004) and Alibaba were all founded by young people under 40 years of age.” Also, “most of the captains of industry in Nigeria today are led by men and women who were not yet in primary school 31 years ago when Buhari’s was head of state.”
3. President Jonathan has done well but detractors are trying to run him down
In President Jonathan’s favour, Obi said the President has done a good job and has been leading the country in the right direction but his achievements have been grossly under-estimated and under-reported, adding that mischief makers have also done a fine job in distorting the true facts as to his stewardship.
4. The president is not to blame for economic situation
Speaking on the decline of the value of the naira, Obi said President Jonathan is not to blame as the average Nigerian lacks basic knowledge of macro-economy as many other countries have suffered the same during the course of 2014
“The depreciation in the exchange rate is a worldwide phenomenon fuelled by the fall in oil prices and other elements of the increasing global economic and security challenges. Hardest hit are countries that export petroleum products.
“Talking about the fall in the value of the naira, look at what is happening in Russia and other places. In just a year, the Russian rubbles lost 40 per cent of its value. The Venezuelan currency even lost more than that. The interesting thing about these countries is that they are not calling for the crucifixion of their leaders, rather, they are supporting them with an understanding that the gale will pass away.”
5. Solving the Maitatsine insurgency does not mean Buhari can solve Boko Haram insurgency
Speaking on insurgency, Obi said Buhari’s achievement in curbing the Maitatsine insurgency in the 1984 does not translate to express victory over Boko Haram.
In his words: “The stable global environment of the 80s cannot be compared with the volatile and terror-enveloped global environment of today. The socio-religious realities that threw up the Maitatsine group are different from the realities that threw up Boko Haram insurgency.”
6. Buhari ousted a democratic administration with a coup
Bringing up more dirt from Buhari’s past, Obi said that the retired military leader’s greatest achievement was dethroning a democratic government via a coup and tried visibly to bring about order and discipline in the nation, but that the “economic policies and actions of that government were disastrous, as Nigeria nearly turned into a pariah nation that no one wanted to deal with globally. At the time, under the Buhari’s government, confirmed Letters of Credit were rejected, because no one wanted to deal with Nigeria.”
7. If Buhari did well, he mustn’t return
Obi lampooned the APC for calling for Buhari’s return simply based on his performance in the past, saying the country must have produced better candidates over time.
He said: “The Singaporeans are not asking Lee Kwuan Yu to come back. Malaysians are not asking Mahathir Mohamad to come back. The Americans are also not asking Bill Clinton, who came to office 10 years after Buhari’s first outing and who had the best economic performance in the 21st century, to come back. Are we saying that Nigeria has not produced anyone who can do the job today?”
8. APC is hypocritical in its anti-corruption drive
“Everyone in Nigeria claims to be a saint and accuses others of being corrupt. We all read and also heard from those who were there what transpired at the APC primaries in Lagos. That is not corruption, right? While I agree that there is the need to strengthen institutions like the ICPC and EFCC, to fight the physical and more tangible forms of administrative corruption, there is also the far more fundamental need to fight corruption from its very roots,” Peter Obi said.