Gov Obaseki Explodes: We cannot secure Nigeria from the centre anymore

The Governor of Edo State, Mr Godwin Obaseki, has carved a niche for himself by being blunt, accentuating his opinion and always speaking truth to power.

The strong-willed governor hosted a crew from the Vanguard newspapers in Benin City, Edo State, last Thursday, and as usual, was in his elements. The Editor, Mr. Eze Anaba, led the team of Mr. Onochie Anibeze, Saturday Editor, Mr. Emma Amaize, Regional Editor, South-South, and Mr. Alemma Ozioruva-Aliu, Correspondent, to Obaseki’s domain.

He spoke on the state of the nation, his service to the Edo people and, among many other things, what he would be doing after leaving office. We serve you the first of the two-part interview today.

Chief Edwin Clark and other Nigerians are talking about restructuring, and you have been very vocal about the economy, like the printing of money and all that, some people thought you exaggerated, did you?

I saw that the underbelly of Nigeria opened during the COVID-19 episode and after COVID-19. We were here, locked in, and could not go anywhere. I thought that was a wake-up call for us to maintain our distance and move ahead but I did not see it.
We printed more money like many countries did, as people did not work, but that added to our burden because, if you check, the federal government never fulfilled its budget in the last 20 to 30 years.

“They always spend more than they earn but under Buhari, it accelerated, particularly after COVID. COVID meant that you had to put money in the system, everybody in the world did it and everybody is suffering that now.

“That is why we have global inflation, but ours was excessive, so we have a normal problem under normal circumstances that we have to deal with. Inflation in the last 20 years, and then, COVID happened, we were still behaving the way we used to behave, that added to the COVID effect.

“That was why I panicked; it was like you people not seeing what I was seeing, that the amount of money you put in takes almost a decade to digest? That was why I raised the alarm and everybody started shouting at me.Obaseki

Have things changed?

No, because it has become structural. Unless you redesign the system to earn more, if you are relying on crude oil, the system should allow you to produce more. Today, we are producing 1.2 million barrels per day, and it cannot keep us.
The only way you improve it is to say Edo State, you have 107 wells, and only 53 are producing, Mr. Governor, take, get people to explore, whatever you produce; keep this, give us that; will I not jump to it?

Zamfara State, you have these mining sites, go, own your licenses, and we will help you supervise this, will they not jump at it? Pay 60 or 40 per cent into the federation account, unless we grow to that, we will not increase our revenue. Even security will not grow, and you cannot secure this country from the center anymore, so our country needs a redesign urgently.

You seem to toe the line of restructuring
No, it is not restructuring but redesign, this design has expired, redesign.

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