By Oyinye Olomu
Governor Soludo’s scathing but informed comments on Peter Obi’s investments in Anambra, back then as Governor, have sent a rude shock across the political space.
In an interview with Seun of Channels Television, Governor Soludo had dismissed Obi’s investments as ‘worth next to nothing’.
Also, in a veiled reference to Obi, Soludo had further opined:
‘…we are now transforming (the) Anambra State Investment, Promotion & Protection Agency which is an institution which my predecessor established that’s part of institutionalizing government & not I & I & so on’.
With his pedigree, Governor Soludo’s dispassionate comments need not be taken lightly. Among other things, they’ve largely exposed the faux pas in Obi’s Economic Recovery Plan.
First, Obi always fails to amplify or adequately subscribe to the globally-accepted mantra that ‘government should have no business in business’.
In almost all his speeches, he clearly enunciates a messianic disposition which suggests that if he wins, his Government will definitely make overbearing ‘rescue missions’ in the economic climate whereas the global norm is either for Government to provide the enabling environment through the enactment of requisite macro policies and/or enter into an equitable business partnership with the Private Sector.
This obvious misdirection must be the actual reason that Soludo says Obi’s investments in Anambra – which his followers and supporters hype to no ends- must have failed woefully especially in terms of making returns on investment. But the more unfortunate thing is that Obi can’t even transpose same approach to the larger Nigerian economy where the incursion of Government in public enterprises has largely led to their death or comatose.
Secondly, Governor Soludo has equally exposed another of Obi’s business foibles.
Obi obviously has a penchant for personal investments but unlike Alhaji Atiku Abubakar whose business sense and operations deemphasize dependence on foreign components (raw materials, goods, human resources, etc), Obi’s are predominantly import-dependent.
It’s no longer news that Mr. Obi is one of the largest importers of exotic wines and household appliances but beyond its unhelpful consequences on job creation for the indigenous populations, such a business approach cannot even get Nigeria out of the throes of economic stagnation occasioned by excessive import dependence & a mono-economy tied stringently to what the experts describe as the ‘Oil Curse’.
Obi may really have to up his game which for now, is only centred around hypes & shallow economic postulates.