He may not have presented a document known as a manifesto: “How to solve our problems is the issue because we have always lacked the implementation”. That notwithstanding, nobody is in doubt that he’s a candidate whose ideas are a mouthful and very penetrating. His words are soothing to the ears of Nigerians as they
He may not have presented a document known as a manifesto: “How to solve our problems is the issue because we have always lacked the implementation”. That notwithstanding, nobody is in doubt that he’s a candidate whose ideas are a mouthful and very penetrating. His words are soothing to the ears of Nigerians as they resonate with ordinary folks’ feelings and perceptions on everything wrong with governance in the country. Call him a rave of the moment and you may not be far from the truth for Mr. Peter Obi has catapulted his Labour Party platform to the fastest growing and movement of the people with a phenomenal presence in the social media.
He was the third guest on the rostrum of the Nigerian Guild of Editors (NGE) who came on a Monday. He espoused his big ideas very bluntly and looked like a man in a hurry to act. No pontifications on the major issues of the day and spoke from the heart. Hear him: “Nobody is happy when he doesn’t know where his next meal would come from. That is why we have to focus on agriculture”.
He has consistently marketed himself as an advocate of moving the country from consumption to production.” My campaign theme is very simple: I’m going to move Nigeria from consumption to production. It is a very simple thing, one measure of production in a country is productivity that is linked to export. It will also help to stabilize your currency”. If you borrow for consumption, that is where you have a problem. The reason why Nigeria is where it is today is because the money we borrowed has been thrown away. If that money was invested in productive sectors, it would have been a different thing”. He spoke on so many other issues. Some of them are reproduced below.
“You cannot have the highest number of people living in poverty and you won’t have insecurity with a rise in criminality. You can’t have unemployment at almost 35 % of your population, with youth unemployment figures hitting the roof without having problem of insecurity. Every country, the size of Nigeria, with huge population have passed through our kind of experience. So, the first job of anybody who emerges as President is security. You must deal with that decisively by redesigning the security architecture; to make it responsive and responsible. You must increase the manpower, train them, and equip them properly”.
On the Restructuring of Nigeria
“It is a constitutional matter. The structure as it is today, is not working and it requires that we deal with it. Some of them can move to the state because in a federal system like the United States you only have the federal and the states, the states would determine what to move to a lower level. But we have some like education, agriculture, and security issues. There’s no way we can continue with the issue of policing as we have today. We need to have state police and federal police”.
On Power Problem
“I will declare war on energy. I will declare war on power generation and distribution. What has been stopping us from getting it right is corruption and insincerity. Three countries in the world today have tripled their power generation within very few years, and all developing countries. In Africa, Egypt has done it. In Asia, Vietnam and India pulled such an uncommon feat also. So, because I know that our major problem is power supply, and with my promise to move Nigeria from consumption to production, I will make sure there is an adequate power supply in Nigeria to enable that.”
Today, we have over over 12,000 installed capacity of electricity but we don’t have the transmission capacity to move that; we don’t have the distribution capacity to deal with it. We’ll start with that.
On Leadership of Nigeria
When asked: If not elected as President would you be willing to serve in the cabinet of whoever emerges?
“The problem with the Nigerian electorate is that of complacency. If you have a company, would you hire an incompetent person to manage it for you and then allow him to hire somebody who is competent to be advising him? It is the problem. How can you elect an incompetent person and want the competent person to be advising him? You don’t get a conductor and left the driver in the backseat to be advising him. We want the driver to be at the steering and the conductor to stay where the conductor stays, that is the only one we want. In 2023, this election is a major election for our country, we can no longer continue managing it. The only way it can work is only when the person in charge understands it. If you know my experience as governor, you will understand what I’m talking about.
He then threw a punch, “many of the presidential candidates for the 2023 elections lacked the requisite qualifications for the office, while advising Nigerians to investigate all the candidates to determine their suitability for the office. He wants Nigerians to interrogate the past activities of the presidential candidates should be probed to know their real character, competence, ability, and their commitment to do the right things while in office”.
Mr. Peter Obi said that the “2023 elections would be critical to the nation; so, candidates should not be elected based on certificates, but on character and merit. Many of the candidates don’t have reference point; people who are not known. People who cannot create wealth, cannot manage wealth,” arguing that leadership changes everything. “Next year’s election should not be about tribe. You should not vote for Peter Obi because he is an Igbo man. It should also not be about religion. These are the confusion people have brought to deceive us.
“I am not promising you that I will do everything right or solve every problem of Nigeria. But in those situations that I cannot provide a ready answer or defies my solution process, I will tell you Nigerians because what causes breach of trust and misunderstanding is when a leader doesn’t communicate with the people.”
On the Economy
“My campaign is very simple: I’m going to move Nigeria from consumption to production. It is a very simple thing, one measure of production in a country is productivity that is linked to export. It will also help to stabilize your currency.
He described the issue of subsidy in harsh words: “Subsidy is organized crime. The amount of fuel they say we consume is not possible. Even countries our size like Pakistan with even more roads don’t consume 50% of what we consume. We must remove subsidy. Use the resources to support investors in the refineries. There’s a lot you can do to stop the importation of fuel and associated products
He Threatens to Withdraw from the Race, if…
“I stand to say it boldly that if anyone on any day confronts me with any fact that I ever split or negotiated contract gains with any contractor in my eight years as governor, I will resign from this campaign and apologise to Nigerians. Any day anyone confronts me with any fact of cornering even a single plot of land of Anambra State while in office or after, I will resign from the race and apologise.”
His Assurances to Nigeria
“I will be the Commander-in-Chief. I can drive the process. If it is security, I am goin
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