Former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has decried the high cost of governance in the country, saying it is “madness” for political office holders to move in large convoys.
Obi, who was the running mate of the Peoples Democratic Party’s candidate, Atiku Abubakar, in the 2019 presidential poll, said he had used a convoy of 20 cars as a governor until he discovered that 13 of the cars carried no officials.
He said these at the 8th Veritas University convocation in Abuja on Saturday.
The ex-governor, who was the keynote speaker, said Nigerian youths must help save the country from sliding further through innovations, creativity and entrepreneurship.
He said, “We have to be innovative in politics. We have to get the right people who are prepared to save this country. We are in a bad situation. I am in a bad situation. Anybody who tells you that we are doing well is lying. I live in fear every day.
“The insecurity is totally unacceptable. One of the greatest cures for insecurity is to get people employed. Let us shut down the cost of governance.
“You see big people going round with 15 or 20 vehicles and causing confusion all over the place and disturbing public peace and everybody with his own big title.
“If I was coming here with 20 policemen, to Nigerians, that shows I am ‘Your Excellency’. That is irresponsibility; it doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.
“There is no place in the world that I have seen where one man moves around with 22 vehicles. It is madness. I used it as a governor. You will not believe it. I used it as a governor until I asked to find out one day how many of the cars people were occupying, and about 13 of the cars were empty.
“So the cars were creating a nuisance for the public and making things difficult for the travelling people and in Nigeria, that shows you are powerful. You are in power.
“That’s why I said if we are going on this path, there will be a collapse. This will lead us to nowhere.
“Today, Nigeria is the biggest economy in Africa, followed by South Africa and Egypt. If you combine these countries, their Gross Domestic Product is not up to Apple, an international technology company. So Apple is actually worth more than these three African giants. That is what knowledge can do.”
The Vice-Chancellor of the school, Prof Hyacinth Ichoku, said the university awarded degrees to 286 graduates including five postgraduate students, out of which 25 made first-class honours.