Vice-Presidential Debate: Osinbajo, Obi Clash Over Corruption, Economy

The vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, on Friday condemned the federal government’s anti-corruption drive.

Obi spoke on Friday at the Vice-Presidential debate organised by the Broadcasting Organisations of Nigeria (BON) and the Nigeria Elections Debate Group (NEDG).

According to him, “It is not that you cannot fight corruption but you can fight it more aggressively while addressing economic issues.

“For example, in 2015, unemployment was 24 percent. Today, it is 40 percent. In 2015, we attracted $21bn in Foreign Direct Investment but we attracted only $12bn last year.

“Our GDP was $500bn in 2015 while per capita was $2, 500 today it is under $1, 900.”

He added that “If you look at our stock market, we have lost over N2tn in one year. So, that is not a policy.

“You’re just fighting corruption, you are not creating jobs. You cannot shut down your shop and be chasing criminals.”

But Nigeria’s vice-president, Yemi Osinbajo, who also attended the debate, strongly disagreed with him.

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“You can’t shut down your shop and be chasing criminals,” Obi said.

However, Osinbajo told Obi that “If you allow criminals to steal all the inventory in the shop, there will be no shop.

“That’s the problem. And what has happened in Nigeria in the past 16 years is what the World Bank told us; that the major cause of our poverty is corruption.

“That is what we’ve been told. So, let me say there is no way we can minimise. You can’t minimise corruption; if you minimise it, we run the risk of completely — in fact, the argument is lost.

“We cannot do what we want to do unless we are able to minimise corruption or eradicate it completely, which is what we’re trying to do.”
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