The vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 elections, Peter Obi, has lamented that the South-East has been neglected in the affairs of the country.
Peter Obi further claimed that while other regions have fair representation, only the South-East lags.
He made this assertion during an interview on Tuesday, October 15, while responding to questions about the possibility of the South East producing Nigeria’s president in 2023.
The former Anambra State governor also said there were people who could govern this country effectively and who have the capacity to turn the economy around for good, but that Nigeria’s flawed electoral process would not allow it.
He said: “It is only fair that you treat every part of the nation fairly and equally. Are Igbos being treated fairly? The answer is no.
“For me, I believe we should restructure this country in such a way that every part of the country would be competitive and we would get the best out of our resources.”
Obi also described the 2020 budget recently presented to the National Assembly as ‘empty’, stressing that it would not enhance production and growth of the micro, small and medium scale industries.
He said: “We have not looked at the quantum of the budget compared to the size of the country. I have made a study of the budget of about 24 countries and I have followed it religiously and I can give you an example of what is happening.
“Let us use examples of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, China and South Africa) nations and the MINT economies (Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey.)
“Of all these countries, there is none whose budget is less than 15 per cent of its GDP except Nigeria. Brazil has a population of 210 million people, with a GDP of three billion, their budget is 803 trillion dollars.
“Nigeria has a population of 200 million people and a GDP of $400 billion and the budget for 2018 was $22 billion. If you look at all these countries and share their budget with their population, you will see that Nigeria is the worst yet none of them have more than five per cent of their people living under poverty. In our own case, 50 per cent of our people are living under poverty and our budget is so low.”
Peter Obi also advised the Federal Government on ways to ensure the problem of unemployment is solved across the nation.
“This 2020 budget that we are clapping about is not up to the Indonesia’s budget for education. So, we have a crisis and we need to look at what these countries are doing right that we are not doing.
“The budget that you think is big is empty in itself and to worsen it, you cannot fund it. Raising revenue is very simple.
“The only way to increase revenue is to create more employment. The more people are employed, the more revenue you get. If you pull 40 million people out of poverty, you can increase revenue through the tax they pay.
“But you are not creating jobs and you are now over-taxing the few who are struggling to make ends meet. Are you going to tax jobless people? Or will you tax those whose businesses are already closing?