Peter Obi: Why Nigeria is Qualified as Failed State



He tried to quietly walk through people unnoticed, unfortunately, former governor of Anambra State and presidential hopeful, Mr. Peter Obi, is not just a household name, but a familiar face everywhere he goes. Much as he struggled to mind his business with his usual no airs on this particular day of the interview, he was still waylaid by fans and admirers, who either wanted to enlist as volunteers for his presidential campaign or just some selfies for keeps. The Southern Sun Hotel, Ikoyi, was the venue, as both Obi and his media guests were pressed for time. Thus, at one nondescript corner of an open space on the ninth floor of the hotel, Obi shared with THISDAY, his aspirations, the problems with Nigeria, why the presidency must come south and what the future looks like, depending on the choice made at next year’s general election. Excerpts:

You were former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in the 2019 presidential run and today, you are in the same contest with him on account of the quest for southern presidency. How do you think this will sit with him, having found you worthy to be paired with in 2019?
Let me start by telling you that he is somebody that I respect. He is somebody I am happy to call my leader. And he’s somebody whom I will ever remain eternally grateful to for the opportunity he gave me at the time by choosing me to run with him. In doing what I am doing today, I respectfully went to him and told him why it is necessary for me to be in the contest.
I have his blessing. For me, politics is about relationships. We are not in a war. We are just seeking an opportunity to help build a better nation. And he sees it in the same way. He still sees me as his younger brother and I see him as my elder brother and we are having a cordial relationship – just sharing our ideas to let the people make their choice.

It is one thing to get his blessing and another for his supporters to understand. Will they not see you as a betrayer?
No. I do not think that they will see me like that. You can even see that I was there when he launched his campaign. I have said that this is not a war. I came from a background of trading. We train young people to learn how to trade. Eventually we settle them and they are doing the same business with us, even selling the same product. Whenever a customer comes and buys from whomever he wishes to, we are happy. But they will still see me as their master. That is the same thing I do with him. I still see him as my leader even when we are doing the same trade.

Just so everyone is clear, and for the umpteenth time, why do you want to be the President of Nigeria?
I believe that I have the knowledge, the vision to solve the problems. I have an idea what the problems are all about. And I think that I can solve them. Nigeria is in dire straits and we need somebody, who will be in control of the process of changing the situation. I think I can do it.

What therefore, in your views, are the problems of Nigeria?
Of course, you know them. They are issues of unity/cohesion, because Nigeria today is so divided. We do not trust each other. We do not love each other. We do not care for each other. And of course, we have the issue of security. Nigeria is totally insecure.
I often say to people that Nigeria has qualified for two major yardsticks of a failed state, which is when you are no longer in control of your territory and when you are no longer in control of your economy. As you can see today, we are not in control of both. This is critical and for me, I have the idea of how to deal with these two issues.

Why do you think your stewardship and experience in Anambra qualify you to be the President of Nigeria?
You need to go deeper into my background. When you talked about ‘am I qualified’, I will want you to look first at my educational background. Then, you look at my private sector background. I am a trader. I have operated in the corporate world and I have been in public life. Maybe, apart from Atiku, nobody in the contest has been through the processes I have been. In terms of education, I have been through the four walls of the best educational institutions in the world.

I have been a trader so I know what the micro, small and medium enterprises (MSMEs) are suffering in this country. I still live in Onitsha where I started my trading, so I still interface with them till today. I have also operated in the corporate world, where I was a director and chaired the board of many corporations. I have even been the chairman of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC). And I have operated in public life. Nobody has been through this.

They are either politicians who started from lower positions, but I have graduated in every sector. So, who is more qualified? I can deal with the security issue, governance issue and I can deal with the economy, because I understand what needs to be fixed. I have lived in the western world, at least, I  lived in The United Kingdom for 10 years. I have travelled all over the world, to at least, 30 countries looking and comparing them with Nigeria.

But how many people know Peter Obi outside the South-east, particularly, in the Northern hemisphere, say Borno, Sokoto or Jigawa, for instance?
Let me tell you, there are so many people who have become presidents all over the world, including here in Nigeria, that people did not know everywhere. But those who know me will be able to say, ‘we trust this man can do it.’ They can go and verify from where I have passed through. As a trader, I can tell you that we used to pool our resources together, when one person is travelling and give him to hold and manage.  To date, this is the situation with me.
I have so many people who have said to me that we can trust you with this. As someone in the corporate world, you can go check the institutions I have passed through and ask them about my contributions. My public life is there for you to see. My record is clear in terms of what I did and didn’t do.

How is it becoming Nigeria’s president without a political base? Not even the state you governed for eight years is in the bag. So, if you could not control your political base, how would you be able to galvanise the whole of Nigeria?
I have not seen anyone who is totally in control of his political base. When Bill Clinton became President of the United States of America, he was quarrelling with everyone in his state of Arkansas. Even Jesus was not supported by his people when he was evangelising. When Obasanjo became President, he was not in control of the South-west. Yar’Adua was not in control of his base. Tell me who was in control of his area, when they came to power? It is all about who is the best candidate. What do we want and what   are we looking for? Oftentimes, good people are not actually in control of their areas, because those who are good, especially in a transactional country like ours, can hardly be in control. It is a transactional system and people will believe those whose politics are based on transaction.

But I can actually tell you that I am in control of my area. The best result PDP got in the 2019 presidential election was in Anambra State. It achieved 96 per cent of the votes, because I was involved. PDP could not achieve this in any other state. It did not achieve more than 80 per cent in any other state except in Anambra, where it got 96 per cent. So, I am in control of the area. But that is not even my issue because being in control will not solve our problems.

You have been going around the country speaking to delegates on why they should vote for you ahead of your party’s primary election. How are things looking for you?
We cannot continue the process of yesterday, which was transactional. We must change. I am telling them to forget yesterday. Those who think about yesterday and today will miss tomorrow. Yesterday was about sharing and consumption. But what we are sharing and consuming are finished. We now want people who will create and produce. And that is why my chief theme is to move the country from consumption to production; from sharing to creating.

They are two different things. I am making them look at the society their children are going to live in. It is not going to be easy, because people are still attached to the process of yesterday. You cannot use the same process of yesterday to change tomorrow, because things have changed. So, we must now abandon transactional politics to transformational politics. We must now understand that we need to do something now to pull people out of poverty, or we will all crash and everyone will be consumed, because anarchy consumes everyone.

Recently, some of the south-east active political players, including yourself, came together to forge a common front. Was it a panic reaction to PDP’s consensus move?
There was no panic there. We were just thinking together, because we all have a common problem. It was all about  thinking together and   working together. It was not about consensus.

Talking about Southern Presidency, do you honestly think that the grounds for the demand are truly just in the PDP, given the arithmetic of how the party has so far shared power between the north and the south, which clearly puts the south ahead of the north, in democracy’s 23 years?
Let me tell you, forget the mathematics and the party issue. Those shouldn’t be the case. The case is when you live in a diverse multi-ethnic society as ours, what makes a difference is your ability to share and accommodate. That is what makes a difference. A society like ours makes the cohesion work perfectly. They are, accommodation, sharing, love and making sure that your decisions are based on justice and fairness. If you are looking at the justice of this issue of presidency, you will find out the reason why it should go to the south. And in a multinational society, you must think about cohesion.

But the Southern demand is pitched to some kind of entitlement, isn’t it?
No, no. There is no entitlement in it. This is an unwritten understanding in our constitution, where we said, you go and next time it will be me. It is an understanding and there is nothing wrong in it. It is done everywhere, even in corporations and businesses; we try to bring in equation. You’ll see some institutions that are owned by people from one tribe going to bring directors from other places just to show that semblance of cohesion even when they can put only themselves. It’s not ‘Obi and Sons’ and therefore only Obi will be there.

Don’t you think that there can be some kind of persuasion against the seeming threats from Southern leaders, who are saying that abandoning zoning will bury Nigeria?
We in the presidential race are not the ones issuing those orders. They are coming from the leaders of various ethnic groups. And they are doing it rightly. When people talk about other peoples’ stand, it is what you bring out that you are given back. But it is a communication thing and I believe in dialogue and consultation.

Do you not think that throwing the ticket open is PDP’s best bet so no one will feel deprived?
Well, I do not know what they will do. But whatever they do, PDP is still my party and I will respect it. But let whatever they do be based on justice and fairness. They should look at where we are beyond today, and how it will fare for us tomorrow.

Think about this, for strategy towards an electoral victory, do you not think going north is PDP’s best bet, considering that the numbers are said to be up in the north?
Numbers are everywhere. The most important things are consultation, dialogue, respect and justice. Anything you do based on these, the numbers can be anywhere.

Demanding the Southern president is one leg of the agitation but determining which zone is another?
For me, the concentration should be who will do the job. I have said that whatever we do, should be based on justice. After that, the next thing is who will solve these problems. We are wasting considerable time on what is an issue but not the core issue. The core issue is that all these things are coming, because the promises made in 2015 were not kept.
When this particular government was coming in, the issues were security, economy, corruption, food and everything. Do you think we will be talking about zoning or no zoning if they had been solved? We may but the language will be different. Let us stay with the issues and why we are where we are.

But do you not think that it is sheer hypocrisy to ask the north to relinquish the ticket to the south, when the south itself has yet to resolve which zone will take it?
Which zone has settled for one person? There were 13 people from the north in 2019.

Why is it difficult for the South to say, it is time for the South-east?
Everything has its own steps. We are talking about the South. We cannot micro-zone, when we have not achieved the main purpose of getting it to the South. Let’s deal with it the way it is. Yes, I agree with you when we are talking about justice. We are dwelling too much on a fundamental issue while leaving even a greater fundamental issue of where we get a competent person that will solve these problems. The question you asked is on the issue of working together. And we are actually working together. Quote me anywhere. It is just when you do not want somebody and you taint him with all sorts of colours in order to say that he is not qualified.

Do you think getting the president in the South-east would calm nerves and check the restiveness in that region?
Well, it will go a long way. But remember that agitation is not solely in the South-east. There is agitation everywhere now in the country as a result of leadership failure over the years. There is agitation in the South-east and everywhere and even more criminality in the north than it is in the south-east. But I believe that if we have a purposeful leadership, it will go a long way to calm nerves; it will go a long way to even start making people have a sense of feeling that we have a nation. Leadership is about giving people hope. Government must give people hope, though no government has been able to solve all the peoples’ problems overnight. But there must be a sense of hope. In Nigeria, there is a sense of hopelessness.

Does the opinion that a president from the South-east will make secession easy for the zone, matter to you?
I do not think so
. Not at all!

There is also the issue of trust between the north and the South-east because of the January 1966 coup.
I have said that those who think about yesterday and today will miss tomorrow. We have passed that stage as a nation. We are talking about how to put food on the table and get our children to work. Yesterday is gone. In the world of today, those things have passed and the country has moved on. We are living in a scientific world, where things have moved beyond where they were.

How do you assess your acceptance in the South-east?
It will be overwhelming.

What gives you that confidence?
I am just telling you. It will be phenomenal. It will not just be South-east, it will be globally. Let me tell you, I am prepared for this job and have consulted widely, both locally and internationally. I have driven this process where people will see a different country, because I will come and touch an area that will change the place. I will build the intangible assets of the country as quickly as possible.

Each time you speak about governance and leadership, your positions always attract applause from Nigerians but the opposition feels you are just theorising. What through your own lenses, constitutes the realities of today’s Nigeria?
Nobody can say that I am theorising after I have done it somewhere else. The best President of the United States of America in recent times that we know is President Clinton. He was voted purely on the work he did in Arkansas. When he came, he dealt with the economy of America. He nearly had a balanced budget. In Nigeria, I can say today (though I do not know about other people) that I was a governor who never borrowed a penny from any bank or financial institution.

Even when I tried to get a multilateral agency, the World Bank, to lend me money through the new map for STEM education, I planned a 40-year loan and planned how I would save in dollars to repay it. The most important thing for me is that I need to invest in the greatest measure of development, which is the human development index. The statistical measure of long life, life expectancy – that is, health, education and per capita income. One deals with health; one deals with the most critical asset for development, which is education and the other one deals with pulling people out of poverty.

Go and check the records, as governor, I was the best in Millennium Development Goals (MDAs) in Nigeria. I started in 2007 and by the time it was completed, in Nigeria, I was number one. I even spoke at the United Nations to show what I did. I was the first governor to do poverty mapping in Nigeria. I have a statistical record of where poverty was domiciled in Anambra State. I have a record of why those people were poor. I was able to study it, articulate and situate it very well. I knew that in the rural areas, we had poverty because they had no access roads. They were farmers but had no access to the market.

Go and ask the Office of Statistics that did the statistical record; go and ask Mr. Kpakol, who was in charge of poverty alleviation in Nigeria, who was the best governor, when he did it. In education, I moved the state from where we had boy/girl issue in education, because the boys were not going to school. I brought the boys back to school; from where we were 26 or 27 position in WAEC to number one. Our schools were equipped. Till date, nobody has matched the 30,000 computers we bought from HP and distributed them to all our secondary schools.
They all had generators and other school infrastructure we developed. We put a lot into education.  We did a similar thing in the health sector. When I became governor, there was no single school of nursing, midwifery or health technology in Anambra State that was accredited by the regulatory agencies that were supervising them.

But by the time I left, I had about eight to 10 of them and they are all there for those who want to verify.
School of Midwifery, Waterside Onitsha; Iyi Enu School of Nursing; Iyi Enu School of Midwifery; St. Joseph Adazi School of Nursing, School of Midwifery and School of Health Technology; Our Lady of Lords School of Midwifery, School of Nursing in Ihiala; and Amichi Hospital School of Nursing. These were not there when I took office as governor. You cannot talk about Primary Health Care without having the basic institutions to produce the critical manpower to deliver it.

And I can go on and on. So, it is not a question of saying, I am theoretical, because I have done it somewhere. I was among those who won the Bill Gates Prize and I was number one in MDGs.  It is a prize given by the United Nations and the Office of the Presidency. I was not a PDP governor then. It came to me, because they saw the implementation. And above all these, I still remain the governor that left behind the highest amount of money ever by any governor. These monies were in Nigerian banks.

Curiously, the Nigerian problem has been consistent. But what has remained inconsistent are the approaches to solving them. Unfortunately, the opposition thinks that your positions border on cheap populism, that they can hardly pass the test of real solutions and often draw references from areas that do not share similar situations with Nigeria.

Let me tell you, I think that I differ from where you are. Nigeria’s problems are cumulative effects of leadership failures over the years.  I said I have shown an example somewhere. Do you know what Anambra State used to be before I came on board? It used to be a reference for what was wrong. Simple! It wasn’t even called ‘Home of the Nation.” It was called “Home for All.”  What did it become when I came? It became “Light of the Nation.” And I showed that light. I moved the state from number 27 position in WAEC to number one. In the NECO, we had the highest cut off point to date.

So, what else would someone show you? It is said that “if you can be trusted with a penny, you can be trusted with a Pound Sterling.” I have demonstrated these things, so, I am not merely preaching. When I came, I met over N30 billion liabilities in pensions and gratuities. I paid them and on the day I left office, I was not owing gratuity, nobody was being owed pension; nobody was being owed salary for those who worked for the state government. No contractor was being owed for the job that was executed and certificate issued.

No supplier was being owed for supply that had been delivered and executed and on top of this, I left in three banks in Nigeria, namely Access, Diamond and Fidelity Banks, $50 million and over N10 billion. So, what else? Can those who are talking show me examples where they have done similar things? I have somebody who accused me and said, “Peter Obi left money but he took the interest.” I told him that I wish that everybody in Nigeria would have left the capital and ‘chop’ the interest, we would have been celebrating all over the world. But they took both the interest and the capital. I will assure you that the state government has not bought me a sachet of ‘pure water’ since I left office. Nobody paid me the severance package that I am supposed to be entitled to. But I said, I’ve finished and I’m going home.

What I am saying is that I have done it as a private citizen. I have done it in the corporate world. You can verify from where I served as board chairman in a bank and other places. They did not buy me any car or tyre. I was chairman of the SEC and the commission did not buy me a car or a tyre. Nothing! Even going to their meetings, they never paid. I didn’t even drink water there. I didn’t. So, what else do people want?

But did you truly take the interest on those deposits?
No! The bank statement is there for them to calculate.

However, did you consider the opportunity cost of saving that money in a state that did not even have pipe-borne water?
No! No! No! Let me tell you. Go and check what we were doing with water. We had already awarded a contract to a South African firm to deal with water in Onitsha. But it was abandoned when I left office. Development is not going to happen overnight. You do it in an organised manner. I have been to many countries. The first time I visited China was either in 1985 or 1986. I would arrive in Hong Kong and go by a rickety train to China. I saw China with bad roads and when you stay in a hotel, in the morning, you would leave your room and walk to another end of the hotel to run your shower and every person would be bathing there.

But today, where are they? One thing was unique when I was going there. China was investing in education. They were serious about it. They knew that one thing that is critical in development is education. The more educated you are, the more developed you are. I have been to the Philippines. I saw the Philippines when one would have said that I don’t want to be part of this place again. Today, the Philippines has become everything in the world. They first invested in education. The Philippines now receives over $50 billion in diaspora remittance in a country of about 100 million persons.

I am calling nations that have similar populations with Nigeria. I’ve spent a week plus in Bangladesh and was in its villages. I actually went there to study their microcredit system to their MSMEs, and I can tell you that it was shocking that you would see women in villages, in mud houses educating their children. When I arrived at their airport, I felt like turning back. All sorts of characters were there. The whole place was dirty. I couldn’t sleep in the hotel where I stayed. Today, those women are the people who are dealing with the garments. They have changed. Today, they are exporting garments of $36 billion, which is more than twice what we are earning from oil.

I have been to India. I went to Bombay when you would not want to pay  a second visit. I have travelled to countries, studying to understand why we are where we are. I have been to schools and have met great lecturers, who wrote great books like The Tiger by Your Door: The Chinese Invasion. And I have seen what they did. They didn’t have to borrow money the way we are borrowing. They just made sacrifices. They denied themselves those things we are not denying ourselves in order to build a better future. That is what I want to do. That was what I did in Anambra State.

So, what are the issues: insecurity, corruption and a tottering economy. What do you reckon are the solutions?
Dealing with security is two ways. There is something you call natural security and defence security. Natural security is that people must have means of livelihood. The more you bring people out of poverty, the more you reduce criminality. If you do not know where the next meal will come from, nobody can say what you can do. Again, my studies of Brazil, Mexico and others showed that Brazil used economy, sports and everything to pull people out of poverty. And it is happening all over South America. There are varieties of things to pull people out of poverty through various means. Allow the MSMEs access to training, capital and of course, less harassment. Nigerian young people are very talented. They are first class and I know that they just need to be energised and they will move.

For the security forces, ensure that they are properly manned. Egypt with a 100 million population has one million policemen. I was in Morocco in April and it has multiple layers of police. Nigeria, look at the number. Security is a renewable asset. You do not buy them equipment this year and fail to do so next year. You buy it every year. I have done it in Anambra State, where I made sure that every community had a security outfit that was supported and paid by the government and I gave every community a vehicle.

On the issue of economy, the engine of growth of any nation is the MSMEs. They control 98 per cent of companies in Indonesia and generate 80 per cent of their employment. Nigerian young people can do the same. I know what to put in them to trigger them. Corruption, I can say it; it’s simple. Why? If you, the principal person, your family, your relations, friends and those around you are not part of it, you will reduce it by 60 per cent. I have managed resources in Anambra State and go and show me where it is missing. Then, I am going to get all the agencies to do what they are supposed to do.

Let me tell you, I am not going to have a corruption agency that is busy getting involved in loan collection; getting involved in harassing people. No! They will focus on those who are managing public money. The reason Nigeria is not doing well in the corruption index is because it is measured only in one item: management of public trust and resources. It is not about debt collection. We will deal with those who are managing our public funds. What you do with your private finance is not our business. If banks have problems with their clients, they should sort them out, because banks do not lend money to everyone.

They should go through the legal means and collect their money. Simple! Throughout the time I was in the banking system, I cannot remember any lending that I was involved in that failed. That is why I challenge people to go and investigate how I managed Anambra State’s money. Let me tell you, no thief sees what he can steal and leaves it. It has never happened anywhere on the surface of the earth. The thief did not come to church to steal. He actually came to pray. But because it is in his nature to steal, when you leave your things carelessly in the church, he will steal it.

So, for me to leave N75 billion that I could have converted and taken away, merits an award. But, unfortunately, I am actually the criminal for saving money, because we are in a criminalised society. I was impeached for saving money. And I can tell you that today, all manner of people are investigating me for saving money, when I could have converted it into anything and taken it. I saved $156 million. Not even Nigeria saved in dollars. I should have a first-class award for that. I saved both in local and foreign currencies. And I have the equivalent of that invested in corporations.

I did it because I had a plan after studying what China did to pull their people out of poverty by investing and trusting micro and small businesses. So, I said if we save this amount till the year 2030, we will have like a billion dollars that we can inject into the system, where we would have had nearly 2,000 small businesses all over Anambra State. It would have been a revolution that would have driven the whole country. That was what I did. I was doing it carefully and denying myself everything that I would have enjoyed in office. Now people are investigating me and treating me anyhow when the criminals are being celebrated day in day out.

Against this backdrop, do you regret the choice of the person you made your successor?
No. Once you have moved on in life, you move on. You don’t look back because God did not give us eyes to be looking back. In fact, I will hold the people responsible, because institutions are designed and created by government and the society owns and operates them. People should have asked about the money this man saved, where is it.

Are you not demoralised that people are blaming you for saving the money?
Not at all! I will always save. It is critical, especially when you have a diminishing asset like crude oil. You must save for tomorrow. This oil we are enjoying today belongs to us and our unborn children, so we must save. Saving is part of me and I must save. Every country in the world must save even when every country borrows. Norway with the highest amount of sovereign wealth fund still owes 50 per cent of its GDP.

Are you likely to scream at the actual state of things when you assume office?
 I always say that I know the problems. And I am always worried when people do that.

Are you saying you won’t feel overwhelmed at the actual state of things?
The job of a leader is to solve problems and not to be overwhelmed and scream, even if they are worse than you thought. You are there already and your job is to solve them. It is like you are thrown into a ditch, it will not be enough for you to start complaining but to start getting out of it. Screaming cannot save it. The job of a leader is not complaining but about solving problems. And remember that people do not expect 100 per cent results.

They expect 100 per cent effort. That is all. I’m trying to do this. As governor of Anambra State, I quarrelled and disagreed with people. I didn’t achieve everything but I put in the best of my effort. I have told you already that we have nothing to share. We are in bad debt. When I go there, we will not stop borrowing, because where we are today, we must borrow. But the difference is that we are going to borrow strictly for production and no longer for consumption.

There is nothing wrong with borrowing. People are borrowing every day and investing every day. We do the same thing in corporations. Every country owes but it is how it is used that makes the difference. Is borrowing for business and borrowing for a wife’s party the same thing? Nigeria has been borrowing for consumption, parties and picnics. But that has to stop.

 As president, how do you intend to close the gap and foster unity in the country?
I will make sure that I consult and work with everyone. You show everybody love by bringing everybody to the table. Most conflicts you are seeing today are when people are not allowed to come through the door. Bring everybody to the table so that they will see what is being shared. Just as I have said, what we are sharing has finished, you bring it to the table so that everyone will see that the pot is empty. But do not go and be eating and say that it is empty.

What do you think is standing in your way to becoming the President of Nigeria?
 The people!

How do you mean?
I want people to understand that I need their votes. The people have to look at all of us and believe and say, ‘this is the man.’ Nobody can question my background. You cannot question my educational background. So, it is not an issue. You cannot question my trading background. It is not an issue. You cannot question my corporate world background. It is not an issue. You cannot question my public life background. I have shown it everywhere. I am not saying that I am perfect. But when somebody goes for an exam and scores above 75 per cent, that candidate would have an ‘A’ grade even though it is not 100 per cent. Why? Because once you score 75, you can generalise without committing fallacy of generalisation.

In this case, I have scored 90 per cent in every sector. So, what else are you looking for? Go through my record as a trader where traders came together and put their money in my trust and I kept it. From there, you go to my corporate world, where I was director and chaired corporations. People think I have worked in a bank. I never did. I was a trader but they just put me on their board and considered me worthy to chair a bank. I have built trust. None of the banks I chaired ever bought me cars or a tyre.

And I moved on. I said I was the chairman of SEC but they never bought me anything or gave me any allowance. I was a governor for eight years. Go and check my record. Go to Anambra State, I did not have a single land allocated to myself or any of my relatives when I was the governor. The state has not paid me any entitlement since I left office. And while I was governor, everybody knew what I did, or did not do.

Some of your former colleague-governors hold the view that you are a pretender and that your so-called spartan lifestyle is what you have continued to sell to people. Who really is Peter Obi?
What else can you sell if you have a product? What do you sell when you go to the market because I’m a trader? You sell your product. What I am selling has been consistent. My name is Peter Obi and I’m selling Peter Obi. The way you see me is the way I’m. The life I am living today is the life I lived when I was a governor and before I became governor.

Are you double-faced?
There is nothing you do in this world that people do not know. I once told somebody that I do not have a house in Abuja. I challenged him to investigate and seize any house belonging to me directly or indirectly in Abuja. But I have a house in Onitsha. The life I live is consistent. I am not living it to please anyone but myself. So, where is the double face?

Beyond the agitation for South-east presidency, do you think you will make a good president of Nigeria and what is your dream Nigeria, projecting into post-2023 election?
Put me on a scale with everybody and measure us and tell me whose credentials are better? I want to serve my people. I want to give the young people of this country hope to be proud of their country and to call it their own, so that they can believe in it. And you will see change in every area. Thank you.


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