By Sunny A Ijomah
The Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi put his records on the ground on Sunday with a direct challenge to Ahmed Bola Tinubu, his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, to do the same, while both of them were Governors, for Nigerians to assess who did better.
For instance, though Tinubu, elected in 1999, was already the Governor of Lagos State for seven years before Obi’s emergence in the same office in Anambra in 2006.
Mr. Obi claimed that he was still able to beat his Lagos records in the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the global benchmark for measuring the performance of governments from 2000 to 2015.
But more than that, the former Governor, challenged the APC National Leader to also showcase his records in Lagos and tell Nigerians how he dispensed the commonwealth of the people of his State, particularly whether as a Governor, he did not appropriate public lands to himself.
Top Lagosians, including Bode George, former National Vice Chairman (South), had on many occasions, accused Tinubu, the first Governor of the State at the beginning of the current democratic experience in Nigeria of massive fraud in office, which included land-grabbing and converting many choice properties belonging to the State to himself and family.
Apparently referring to the same allegations, Obi, who featured alongside Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, at a Town Hall meeting organised by Channels Television, took time to reply the APC candidate, who, while campaigning in Benin City, the Edo StateCapital, dismissed him as a stingy man who rather than using the money of Anambra State to work for them, decided to save it while many people went to bed hungry.
Debunking the allegation that he buried Anambra money in the bank, Obi actually listed many other achievements he made in the State, including building the best road networks in the country in the State, wondering when saving money in banks had become a bigger crime than that of his contemporaries, stealing their individual States dry.
Hear him: “It’s very simple. As Governor of Anambra State, between the year 2000 and the year 2015, the only measure of development, recognised globally, was the Millennium Development Goals. It was the standard benchmark. I became Governor in 2006 and started implementing it in 2008. So, we were late by seven years. By the time it stopped in 2015, Anambra was number one.
“This includes number one in Education, measured by the UNDP, not by Nigeria o! I won Bill Gates price in health. This again was not Nigeria that marked the script. So, I can go on. I had the best road network.
“In terms of fighting poverty, go and check. Ask Evelyn Oputa. I was the first Governor to go to the Bank of Industry to say I want to deposit money here and you support my micro, small businesses, which some Governors are doing today. Evelyn Oputa and started that. Go and ask Magnus Kpakol, who was in charge of poverty alleviation, I was number one.
“It’s good that when my opponents talk, they must talk about corruption. One of the things killing this country today is Corruption Perception Index. And that is measured on how you managed public assets, nepotism, how you shared lands, how you managed money and everything.
“I challenge everyone to say, go and see whether there is anywhere a kobo of Anambra State money is missing. Saving have now become an issue, when people have stolen all the money and impoverished the country and you’re now questioning a man who left money without anyone telling me to leave it and go.”