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  On the 16th of this month, Mr Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the forthcoming election in February, was at the Chatham House, London to discuss his plans for Nigeria when elected. These issues centred on debt, insecurity, secessionist agitation across the country, foreign investments, healthcare, power generation, and so on. His address attracted over 100,000 views on the official page of Chatham House, an experience that was happening for the first time according to the London-based think tank.
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In his over one-hour speech, Mr Peter Obi spoke on moving the country from consumption to production and investing in the citizens. He spoke on increasing the budget for healthcare and education, stating that a country’s progress is measured by the level of its human development index (HDI). Knowing the nation’s record with corruption, the 61-year-old former governor of Anambra state stated vehemently that his administration will fight corruption head-on He gave an instance of how he left 75 billion Naira in cash and 150 million dollars in bonds in the treasury of Anambra state upon leaving office as governor. He also noted that he is the only governor who does not receive gratuity or pension meant for former governors as well as having no government-funded property allotted to him, a constitutional provision meant for former governors. According to him, he promised to fight corruption beginning from himself. He stated that
“If you’re not involved [in corruption], your wife is not involved, your family is not involved, and the people around you are not involved, you have reduced corruption by over 50%.”
Also speaking on the IDP crisis, Mr Obi stated, “As long as some Nigerians are in IDP [camps], all of us are in IDP [camps].”  Obi vowed to ensure that the whole of Nigeria is secure, not just select states. He mentioned spending his Christmas holidays in Makurdi and Abuja in Internal Displaced Person camps (IDP). In these camps, he assured all displaced persons that he would not stop until all Nigerians were secure in their home states. According to him, “As Long As Nigerians Are in IDP [camps], All of Us Are in IDP [camps]. We can’t have some Nigerians sleeping in IDP [camps] and some in mansions.” Nigeria presently has the third highest number of internally displaced persons (IDP) in Africa. 2.7 million IDPs were recorded in 2020. An approximate number of 2.7 million people was listed in 2020. This is due to rural conflicts, extremism,  armed banditry, and climate disasters.
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Speaking on foreign investment, Mr Obi asserted, “I’ll attract foreign investors like bees to honey.” It is no longer news that the country is facing a major decline in foreign investment. In a study by the Bureau of Statistics (NBS) in June 2022, the total value of capital entering Nigeria had declined to $6.7 billion in 2021. This was the lowest amount in five years. To address this problem, Obi pointed out that investors are scared of coming to Nigeria due to corruption and the rule of law among other issues like insecurity. He, therefore, promised to put in place a regulated environment where there is no corruption. Again, he noted the case of borrowing and the rising debt profile of the country. He opined that “Further borrowing will only be for production.” According to him, the problem is not in the country’s borrowing but in using the money borrowed mostly for consumption purposes. He highlighted his “Consumption to Production” mandate as a way of utilizing and managing to borrow. The borrowed money will be used for production purposes only. To achieve this, he plans to implement economic policies to reduce our debt service. This is because borrowing is a major drain on government revenue. If he becomes Nigeria’s president, debt is one problem Obi has to solve immediately for the country. The country is currently in a ₦77 trillion debt since President Buhari first came into power in 2015. For power generation, Mr Obi promised to step on toes, especially those who are ensuring that Nigeria does not generate power that is above 5,000 Megawatts due to the importation of generating sets. When asked how he would combat hindrances to national power generation, Obi used the example of South Africa. The nation recently declared an emergency on power. This gave any independent vendor free licensing to generate up to 100 MW of electricity. As of today, South Africa presently generates 42,000 MW of power. Meanwhile, Nigeria has not generated up to 6,000 MW of electricity since 1960. Therefore this motivated Obi to say that “if South Africa could declare an emergency on power,” then he could “declare a power war.” He plans to instigate this “war” by removing legislative blockers for independent energy companies and giving them free licenses to generate certain amounts of power for the country.
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Finally, Mr Peter Obi addressed the question asked by one of his listeners on the issue of IPOB agitation. “I will talk and discuss with all agitators. There is nothing wrong in that; people agitate even in my house and I have talked with them,” he said responding to a question. According to Mr Obi, the agitations are a cumulative effect of leadership failure over the years which he vowed would be solved by good governance.
“When people start seeing justice, fairness, an inclusive government and doing the right thing, all those things will start reversing itself and that is what Datti and I are discussing,”
the presidential hopeful declared. He condemned all agitators but argued that attention must be paid to the reasons for the agitations all over the place. “Not just the IPOB, we have the Yoruba nation and all sorts.” Featured Image Source: Premium Times NG
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This article was first published on 19th January 2023 and updated on January 20th, 2023 at 2:05 pm


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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