Governor Peter Obi
By Emmanuel Ugwu
Governor Peter Obi of Anambra State Sunday called on the relevant agencies to investigate Nigerians who own private jets, saying that such luxuries were products of fraud and at variance with the current economic realities of the country.
Speaking at the opening ceremony of the second plenary session of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) being hosted at Mater Dei Cathedral Umuahia, Obi said that there are presently no fewer than 120 private jets “registered in Nigeria by people who stole our money.”
He noted that some of the jets were acquired by some of the persons involved in the fuel subsidy scam hence the need to look into how the owners of the private jets came about such very expensive luxuries.
The Anambra governor condemned those who spend huge amounts of money in foreign exchange to send their children to schools in foreign countries or seek medical attention in foreign hospital, saying that Nigerians spend N6 billion in school fees for their wards abroad while N4 billion is spent annually by Nigerians to receive medical attention in India.
He said that if government could not manage the schools and the hospitals very well so that Nigerians could get whatever they desire here in the country they should hand over the sector to those who can manage them, such as the missions in order to halt the capital flight.
Obi, who lamented the high level of wastages and lack of accountability, declared that “the country is going down and it is time we take the leaders to account.”
He called for Nigeria’s version of the Arab Spring and urged the Catholic Bishops ”to take all of us (politicians) for what we do and not what we’re saying.”
“People are blocking the streets in the Middle East; if anybody is not doing well let us block his house,” Obi said, adding that it was high time Nigerians started holding their leaders accountable.
However, Abia State governor, Chief Theodore Orji, said it was wrong to think that politicians were the only corrupt Nigerians, adding that “when you are condemning the politicians, condemn other people.”
He said that the avalanche of problems confronting the nation calls for resilience on the part of the leaders and the led as it is incumbent on all of us to work for a sustainable solution.
“It is our will power to fight the cankerworm the matters,” he said, adding that leaders should, nonetheless, “lead by example.”
Orji, who noted the historical significance of the CBCN second plenary session in Umuahia, the first time in the history of Abia and the Catholic Diocese of Umuahia, said it was made possible by the prevailing peace and security in the state.
He urged the Catholic clerics to continue to pray for the good of the nation so that “eventually we will overcome” the debilitating challenges facing the country.
Imo State governor, Chief Rochas Okorocha, who was also at the ceremony to deliver his goodwill message, observed that what the country is passing through presently was not different from what other nations had experienced.
He said that the critical challenges facing Nigeria deserved spiritual remedy which the Bishops can offer because “we can’t even explain the way certain things are going.”
Okorocha commended the CBCN for the manner they have managed the provocative and senseless killings of Christians and attacks on churches, saying that they have demonstrated true Christianity.
He noted that there have been a total disconnect between the Bishops, politicians and the laity and called for a forum whereby the CBCN would engage political office holders and rob minds with them on the way forward in handling the affairs of the nation.