Speaking on CNBC Africa, Obi said Nigerian governors under the Goodluck Jonathan administration refused to save for a rainy day.
Obi said Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, former minister of finance, and Muhammad Sanusi II, former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), begged the federal government to build its savings but the governors kicked against the idea.
''I was in government when the likes of Ngozi Iweala, Aganga, Sanusi were crying let’s save; we collectively said we don’t want savings, and we are now in this mess; we cannot afford to increase it by going to borrow without a clear road map on what we would use it for,” Obi said.
“People start saving in crisis. Go and check most nations that save, they started it in crisis situation, because they could see the point of not saving yesterday; and that is where we are.
“I have said it before that even if we saved five percent of all our oil earnings from 1960 to date, which is about $1.2 trillion, considering a compound interest of about five percent, we should have about 150 billion today.”
“I was in government when Ngozi Iweala was crying meeting after meeting, let’s save money; we need to save for a rainy day. We said no. Some say this woman should not be found near this country,” Obi added.
“We even went to court as a body to challenge savings, and look at where we are today. Instead of us realising from that mistake to say, today let’s start….
“Change that constitution that says we cannot save; what type of constitution is that? When we are talking about constitution amendment, we should amend things that are immediate.
“Issue of savings should be included in our constitution today; oil is a depleting asset, and we are not even saving for tomorrow.”
He urged the federal government to embrace restructuring and let the country’s strengths be found in its diversity.