The Parallel Fact Media team On May 28, 2023, hosted His Excellency Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, in an epic interview. Read and enjoy.
Q. What is the secret to your (Peter Obi) energy levels?
Peter Obi (PO). The energy of Nigerians and Obidients motivates me because of their passion and struggle to see Nigeria work. Stay on course; your energy and belief give me energy.
Q. Sir, can you not apologise for us?
Peter Obi (PO). I understand your anger. We are trying to change a system, and if the system doesn’t apologise, we will. We are the change. We are a family with free expression, a voice, a free mind, and different personalities.
Q. Seeing western governments, who are supposed to defend democracy, support the illegalities in the Nigerian election, how do you feel about it? Are you discouraged?
Peter Obi (PO). I am not. I employ you; don’t be discouraged. I plan to go around discussing it with well meaning Nigerians after the court case. I understand it is a difficult and painful situation, but don’t be discouraged. I faced similar challenges while I was governor.
Q. I have no question, sir; I’m here to celebrate you. We are with you, sir, till the end. We have searched you and seen no corruption.
Peter Obi (PO). If there is anything I am not doing right, please tell me. I assure you, and I have sworn, that I will never steal a dime of public funds.
Q. I came here, sir, to read Pslam 91, …God will protect you. He is your refuge, He will protect, defend, and guide you in obedience …
Peter Obi (PO). Thank you. We are all here by God’s grace; those who abuse power abuse God’s grace.
Q. Happy one-year anniversary of this movement to birth a new Nigeria! Please, sir, going forward, expose more rot going on, like you did with the oil theft.
Peter Obi (PO). It is a criminal enterprise; this is why politicians bribe and kill for power. But we are here to bring sanity to the system.
Q. It is an honour talking to you, sir. Concerning the incident in London, especially after Keyamo’s threat, What is the UK government doing about it?
Peter Obi (PO). My first reaction was calm, but when I met an expert, I was shocked about what I found out. I could have been framed for anything. Thank God, nothing happened. The UK government is still investigating the matter, but it started in Nigeria, and I am careful about it.
Q. Please, sir, as with the president select of Inec, we can’t verify any information about him. Sir, who are you?
Peter Obi (PO). Very simple. Peter Gregory Obi is my name; my father also gave me the name Onwubuasi, which means “death is a lie,” but I have chosen to omit it because death is inevitable.
I was born on July 19, 1961, at Water-Side Hospital and went to three primary schools. Because I had an aunt who was a teacher, wherever she was transferred, I went with her (PO goes further to give names and details of his background). I went to CKC secondary school in Onitsha; I went to UNN; the current VC is my set; even the two deputy VCs are my set. I have studied at several institutions all over the world. (Gives exact details and names.)
I am a trader, started my trading in Onitsha, where I live, and am currently speaking to you. I was a director at several banks. I was Governor of Anambra, where I focused on education, health, and poverty alleviation. I did not owe any worker, contactor, or supplier a dime when I left office as governor… (Names the banks he left money for the state in and exact figures.). I refused to sign pension laws as governor of Anambra State because ordinary citizens deserve those funds better.
Q. As a nation that owes 77trillion Naira, why are you interested in helping Nigeria?
Peter Obi (PO). It is because I know it can change; all you need to do is sacrifice and put in work. People have stolen public wealth instead of investing in critical sectors like education to pull people out of poverty. We have vast land in the north; it is more valuable than oil. Agriculture propels California in the U.S. I want to be part of seeing Nigeria work; I did it in Anambra, and with people like you, we can.
Q. The Pandora’s box of tribalism and religious bigotry was opened in Nigeria in the election. How do we heal in Nigeria?
Peter Obi (PO). The truth is that we don’t have a tribal problem in Nigeria; it is the criminal elite that uses it as a tool. Where do Christians buy things cheaper? There are no hospitals in Nigeria that are only for Muslims. My ADC as governor was from Kano, and we are still friends today. I have done business all over Nigeria. I had offices in Brono, Kano, and Kaduna states. Our textile industries in Kaduna have collapsed. If I am president today, I will be celebrated most in the north.
Q. Buhari promised women 40% participation in governance and only 6 to 10 women were put in direct appointments, what would you say to Nigerian women who support you?
Peter Obi (PO). Women are more productive, honest, and trustworthy; as Governor, my chief of staff, Head of Services,… were all women, and wherever they served,they were the best. We need to back women’s appointments with laws; we must pass legislation for women in politics, and their involvement must be protected by law. Also in the corporate world and education.
Q. During the campaign, you dared the establishment to find any case of corruption against you. Till now, they couldn’t. They instead slander, insult, and sponsor attacks on you. What is the brain behind your grace to endure and relate to even your enemies?
Peter Obi (PO). If you live in a system where you can see pain and suffering (a story…), it is difficult but has to be done.
Q. There is something this election exposed: the number of illiterates in the country with access to power. What are your plans for education in Nigeria at all levels and in all facets?
Peter Obi (PO). Three things separate development from underdevelopment. 1. Education; 2. Health; 3. Poverty per capita Education is critical; it is what separates Asia from Africa. For me, education is critical; it is the foundation. I will focus on education; it is more important than every other indicator of development.
I will change Nigerians perceptions of education. I went to a school in Kogi and found students suffering, naked. They were so excited. That is where I get my strength from.
Q. People feel that after the inauguration, no justice can be done. Young people are sceptical about the Labour Party; what can be done to encourage them?
Peter Obi (PO).
Inauguration: When you want to change a system, you make enemies with the old order. This is just the beginning; whatever happens tomorrow will only strengthen me. I wasn’t expecting instant change; those who came into it transactionally will move on. I am in it, and I urge you to stay in it.
Labour Party: There is no issue in the Labour Party; they came to see if they could withdraw the case, but we were smarter; my name was first; the Labour Party is our vehicle, and it is intact. Detractors are trying to create confusion; when you start something good, everyone wants to associate. Let us come in and build things. If we stay steadfast, we will overcome.
Q. We achieved successes in the recently concluded election. Do you have plans to help us hold Labour Party elected officers accountable?
Peter Obi (PO). We will try to do exactly what you say. I can vouch for Alex Otti, the incoming governor of Abia State.
Q. Your Vice President: How did you meet him? How did you pick him?
Peter Obi (PO). I have known him long enough. I needed someone with similar beliefs, especially in terms of education, to drive development. Datti is that person. He will be in Abia tomorrow for the inauguration. He is first-class in his belief in a better society.
Q. You said you went to court alone during your time in Anambra. This is us telling you that you will never do this one alone. We are going to fight to restore our mandate. This is our country; we will be the ones to save it. We will be here no matter what; rest assured. Thank you, sir.
Peter Obi (PO). I understand that people did not just vote for me; they invested their hope in me. Thank you. We will conduct this engagement quarterly or bimonthly.
Q. We are using this medium to tell the judiciary we know the law; what is your take on middle belt killings.
Peter Obi (PO). I spent Christmas with the IDP camp in Benue. It is so sad; we need to deal with it head-on. It is a deliberative act by politicians to manipulate people; it is not about land; we have vast land; and it is not about religion either. This results from poverty and a lack of education,which wicked politicians use to manipulate poor Nigerians.
Q. I have a comment. Your Excellency, thank you for the hope and for changing the dynamics of politics in Nigeria. We are not losing hope, and you are not alone.
Peter Obi (PO). Thank you. If there is anything I am doing wrong, always voice it. Thank You.
Q. In view of our debts, do you think that when the mandate is recovered, we will have funds to fix our transport infrastructure?
Peter Obi (PO). There is nothing wrong with debt; it is what you do with it that matters. The difference is that our debt is not invested; we borrow for consumption. If we become productive, we start pulling people out of poverty, start managing and reducing our debt (given instances), and if we can invest $50 billion critically, we can increase our GDP and, per capita, reduce debt. We can strengthen our currency by doing more exports. Pull people out of poverty and increase revenue. Remain peaceful and law-abiding.
The process by which people get into office is important. For me, let’s get things right because the young ones are watching and learning. We must set a good example. They wanted to pass laws to build houses for me, which would cost over N2billion; I rejected them (sacrifice).
Peter Obi (PO). Remain prayerful for our country, our leaders, and our politicians. Remain law-abiding, say things, and stand for what is right. I know how you feel… Remember, it is not going to be easy. Don’t worry; whatever happens, I will never bring ridicule to my country or you. We must move our nation from consumption to production. Thank You.
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