Ahead of the 2015 presidential election, Nigerians have been admonished to emulate progressive countries like the United States and United Kingdom which have never elected a president above 70 years of age since the inception of democracy in their countries.
Speaking in an interview with journalists in Lagos, a former Governor of Anambra State and the Deputy Director General (South) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) reconciliation team, comprising the South-west, South-east and South-south, Mr. Peter Obi, said the oldest person ever elected as the US president was Ronald Reagan at the age of 68.He said the All Progressives Congress (APC) does not wish the country well, or else why would the party be agitating for the election of a 73-year-old former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd), adding: “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, APC is threatening to inflict a 73-year-old grandfather on Nigeria as president.”
Obi therefore called for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan, stating that the president has set the right processes in motion, adding that Jonathan’s performance has been under-reported and “even distorted by mischief makers.”
He said Jonathan could not be held responsible for the decline in the value of naira, as Nigerians need the understanding of macro-economic realities to understand what is happening in the world today.According to Obi, “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.”
“Do you realise 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? 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.”
Disagreeing with the notion that because Buhari stopped the Maitatsine insurgency in the 80s, he could do the same with the Boko Haram sect, he said what obtained then was quite different from the current scenario, adding: “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.”
Obi commended Buhari, who at 41, which was 31 years ago, staged a coup d’état and removed the democratically elected government of Alhaji Shehu Shagari and tried visibly to instil discipline and order in our society.He, however, said that the coup was Buhari’s greatest achievement, but 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.”
Obi said considering the fact that APC believes that its presidential candidate is the best in the annals of Nigeria’s history, does not indicate that he should be asked to come back, adding: “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?”
Taking a swipe at the opposition party that the Jonathan administration is incapable of fighting corruption, Obi said: “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.”He called on Nigerians to elect President Jonathan who he said has what it takes to take the country to the next level in its developmen