Peter Obi, vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, says the south-east needs to present a “convincing argument” to the rest of Nigeria on why the region should produce the next president.
After a meeting in Lagos in July, southern governors resolved that the country’s next president should come from the region.
Speaking with Arise TV on Monday, Obi said though the south-east has compelling points, it must embrace the politics of “engagement and consultation, and not confrontation”.
“We need to convince the other people why it should be us. And you know we have a convincing argument for that. But it needs to be convincing. We are not going to hold a gun in their head and say you must come here,” he said.
“Politics is about engagement and consultation, and not confrontation. You consult and discuss with other people and say, ‘this is how we need to do it for us to have peaceful coexistence’.
“The decision will be done within the party. It’s not a question of my view or anybody view; it’s that of the party. Because even if we say it should come to the south and the party zones it to the north, there’s nothing that can be done. Because these are major parties with a lot of members and stakeholders who will sit down and discuss at round tables. Politics, for me, is something you sit down at a roundtable, discuss and agree with each other.”
The former governor criticised President Muhammadu Buhari’s attempt at stimulating the economy through construction and revitalisation of infrastructure.
The Buhari administration has invested hugely in rejigging the country’s vital infrastructure. Inter-state rail networks and road corridors have been built.
Obi said building infrastructure will not automatically boost the country’s economy.
“You can’t use infrastructure to drive economic growth,” he said.
“You invest in education and the SME [Small, Medium Enterprises] sector instead to deal with poverty. Taking people out of poverty is not magic.”