The presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Monday said Nigeria’s Presidency with him and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, in charge would dismantle inefficiency and eliminate transactional policies that breed corruption in government.
He once more appealed to Nigerians to give him the opportunity to set the country on the path of progress and unity.
The former Anambra State Governor, who spoke at Chatham House in the United Kingdom, also hinted on how he would address the high level of poverty in country, especially northern part of the country where it is more prevalent.
Fielding questions from Nigerians at the session, Obi said equity, justice and fairness would solve the problem of agitations in the country, noting that his administration would prioritise securing Nigeria by first engaging all aggrieved groups in the country for talks.
He noted that improving security, agriculture and education would be some of his top targets for the region.
He said: “Nothing is more powerful than an idea whose time has come. I am asking you to give us an opportunity to have a better Nigeria.”
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party also vowed to dismantle the structure holding Nigeria captive and preventing the nation from advancing.
According to Obi, the, “structure currently in Nigeria is that of criminality and it has impoverished the West African country.”
He said: “You have heard them say we don’t have structure; that is the structure we are trying to destroy, structure of criminality that Nigeria is being held captive; that structure is the structure that has impoverished Nigeria. We will dismantle it. It will not be there. I assure of you.”
Addressing the issue of foreign direct investment in the country, Obi asserted that he would do everything to reduce corruption to the barest minimum so that even Nigerian youths who had migrated due to a lack of opportunities would all return home.
He promised to revamp Nigeria’s economy, fight insecurity and corruption, and place the country on the path of rapid economic growth and recovery, adding that he would ensure borrowing in future would only be for investment.
Worried about the level of poverty in the country, especially in the north where insecurity has ravaged the land and left millions displaced and consequently affected agricultural activities in the region, Obi said he would utilise the millions of hectares of arable lands in the region to provide millions of job and generate revenue for the country and the region.
“We will pull down the devastating poverty in the north, Obi vowed.
He said adequate investment in agriculture would help address food inflation and insecurity in the country, pleading that if elected he would give the region premium place in his agenda because the wealth of the nation is in the region.
He said for example, cultivating the vast arable lands in Niger State could lead to productivity and ultimately help more people to escape from poverty, adding that he would transform introduce skill acquisition Almajiris schools.
“If they could read and write in Arabic, it means they are intelligent. So we will provide with the necessary skills,” he said.
On agitations by various groups in the country, the former Anambra State governor said he would ensure social justice was enthroned in order to discourage social unrest and criminality.
“The ethnic tension you see today is as a result of injustice, unfairness, exclusion and marginalisation; immediately we start reversing that, they (ethnic tensions) start going down.
“This is what I can tell you about agitations, as long as we start doing the right things, as soon as we start building an inclusive society where people’s talent and hard work will match up their opportunities, you will start seeing those things go down. There is tension even in the western world. We will show compassion; we will show love,” he said.
He, however, vowed to deal with those who refuse to come to the table for dialogue.
Obi said: “Securing the country is what we will do first. We use the carrots and stick approach. We will engage them in talks. But those who refuse to come to the table, we will deal with them.”
Obi maintained that the various ethnic agitations across Nigeria are products of failed leadership, noting that poverty in the country as well as failure of leadership led to the various ethnic agitations in the country.
The LP presidential candidate also vowed to increase Nigeria’s electricity generation and distribution capacity by declaring war on the power sector if elected president next month.
He said: “We are going to turn around the power sector. Nigeria today generates about 5,000 megawatts for 200 million people and South Africa, the second biggest in terms of economy on the continent, 60 million people, generates over 40,000 megawatts, yet, they have declared an emergency in the power sector.
“If a country with 60 million population generating over 40,000MW is declaring emergency on power, what do you think somebody with 200 million people generating between 5,000MW and 6,000MW will do? I am going to declare war on power and I will solve it. Anybody who stands on the way, so be it.”
Emameh Gabriel in Abuja