By Harry Awurumibe, Editor Abuja Bureau
With Nigeria’s legal tender, Naira crashing further low against international currencies especially the United States of America (USA) Dollar, British Pounds and European Euros, one of the aspirants for the post of President of Federal Republic of Nigeria, Mr. Peter Obi, has accused fellow politicians of being responsible for the state of affairs.
The naira has dropped to a record low of N601 to dollar at the parallel market as at the time of this report as demand for forex has surged as politicians are alleged to have been mopping up foreign exchange especially at the black market.
Naira has been hovering near N590 per dollar at the parallel market for the past few weeks and in the official market, the local currency has been quoted at between N415 and N418 to the dollar at the Investors and Exporters’ (I&E) window since December.
However, Obi, a Presidential aspirant on the platform of the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) has alleged that the current rising demand for forex by corrupt politicians is responsible for the drop in the value of naira.
Speaking on Arise Television breakfast programme ‘The Morning Show’ on Tuesday, Obi said it is disheartening that Nigerian politicians are sharing dollars to the electorates to buy their way to the top.
Said he: “Politicians are sharing dollars. This is why the naira is battered. Politicians are mopping up the available foreign exchange that could have been used for productive ventures”.
The former Governor of Anambra state, lamented that this high degree of economic sabotage has been going on in Nigeria without anyone raising eyebrows, adding that the country is worse for it.
“Nigeria is the only country in the world where this is happening. The sad aspect of it is that those sharing dollars have no visible means of livelihood; I mean these persons buying and sharing dollars have no offices or businesses they are doing to deal in foreign exchange”, Obi alleged.
The PDP chieftain tackled the federal government for not going after those who have clearly constituted economic saboteurs by transacting businesses within the country in foreign currencies.
Said he: “it is sad that this shenanigans are going on in Nigeria and nobody is even saying. I am shocked that nobody or government agencies are tracking the debacle hence the free fall of naira”.
Asked if he thinks that corruption could be tamed in Nigeria especially in the high places, Obi said he has the political will to tackle corruption as he has done it before when he was the Governor of Anambra state for eight years.
According to him: “I am a living example of being in the public office without being corrupt. I challenge anyone who has concrete evidence of where I, Peter Obi, mismanaged Anambra state money when I was in charge of affairs to come forward to make his or her case”.
“Aside saving huge money for money for the state, I made sure I paid gratuities, pensions, salaries and executed landmark projects including funding education, health and road projects”, he stated.
On what will be his priority if he becomes Nigeria’s next President, Obi said it will be education, education and education just as he said he will take the education of women seriously as he did in Anambra state.
Obi who said that he has travelled to 35 states in Nigeria except one state to converse for votes from the PDP delegates, insists that Nigeria is blessed as she has everything to be great.
“Fixing Nigeria is not a rocket science. Nigeria is blessed as we everything including good weather conditions. As a known wealth creator, I will make Nigeria to be a productive country like Vietnam, Bangladesh, etc instead of a consuming nation. Also, there is nothing to share again at the center. It’s finished”, he concluded.