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  In his usual tour around the world, Peter Obi, Presidential standard bearer of the Labour Party, landed at Harvard University yesterday to discuss transformative governance in Nigeria.
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Mr Peter Obi stated that Nigeria needs a transformational government at the event. According to him, he promised that he will: “offer a new brand of transformative and purposeful leadership. The overall goal of my administration shall be to streamline governance, make it more responsive, transformative, effective, less transactional, and therefore efficient and cost-effective.” Furthermore, he opined that beyond 2023, Nigeria must think seriously about a leadership infused with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment. Therefore, he stated that if elected, his government will pursue intangible assets of good governance, the rule of law, and security of lives and properties, and ensure that we have these assets in place and stress asset optimization. He pledged to strike a strategic balance that allows us to promote and protect national interest while meeting our ECOWAS obligations. Further, Mr Obi promised to build Nigeria’s military power, promote economic growth, and enhance its technological prowess to improve Nigeria’s diplomatic influence in sub-regional, regional and global affairs. He also stated that restoring leadership will require that Nigerians reassert Nigeria’s leadership role proactively in African affairs through constructive engagement, peacekeeping duties, and using existing sub-regional and regional forums as well as bilateral platforms for dialogue on current and emerging challenges. We will continue enhancing our sphere of influence via peacekeeping, trade, and investment initiatives. Speaking on national unity and restructuring, Mr Obi believes, “We shall ensure that in moving Nigeria forward, no state or community will be left behind. Under its statutory responsibility to protect, our Government will promote equity in power and resource sharing. The federating units will enjoy discernible autonomy. Resources will also be shared equitably. A higher derivation paid to oil or solid minerals-producing states will not be tantamount to other states not receiving federal allocations that should keep them viable. We must transcend the rhetoric that bedevils a robust debate on some of these national questions.” Furthermore, Obi stated that if elected, he would respect the principles of federal character, affirmative action and gender balance; but no longer at the expense of merit.
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He added that “We will tweak the security architecture, which will entail reform of the security sector and governance.  We will Restructure, Re-equip and Reorient the Nigerian Police: This will include 3 levels of policing- Federal, state and community.” He added that his administration would build a Compact, Robust and Ready Mobile Police Force with Rapid Response Deployment capabilities; and Legislate the Establishment of State Police based on Community policing. We will raise the population-to-police officer ratio to a higher level. Also, he noted that there would be an appropriately manned, equipped and technologically driven security system with particular emphasis on re-focusing the military on external threats and border protection and police on internal security threats and law enforcement; swift prosecution of criminals, bandits and terrorists; enhanced coordination among security agencies; and upholding the rule of law. Additionally, there will be an integration of the activities of the National Intelligence and Security Agencies by establishing a Central Reporting Intelligence loop under the authority of the Minister of National & Homeland Security. Finally, on security, Obi promised to establish a National Command and Control Coordination Center to efficiently manage actionable intelligence, resource allocation and force deployment. Membership should consist of representatives of all security agencies on a need-to-know basis. He insisted that  “Oil theft is not petty pilfering. It is an organized crime by a syndicate that involves a certain degree of sophisticated intelligence and logistical arrangement.” Therefore, he suggests, “We must admit that oil theft is happening because there is domestic and external collusion. The government and the people have the collective responsibility to protect national assets. On my watch, those responsibilities will be accorded high priority.”
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On Foreign and National Security policy initiatives, Obi believes it might, in the long term, entail rebuilding, repositioning and sustaining ECOMOG as the arrowhead of a West African Security partnership. This is to counter terrorist threats and international subversion of the sovereignty of the West African region, of which Nigeria must re-establish its place as a regional power. He summarised his priorities if elected into office : 
  • Production-centred growth for food security and export.
  • Securing and Uniting Nigeria.
  • Effective legal and institutional reforms (the rule of law, corruption and government effectiveness).
  • Leapfrogging Nigeria from oil to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).
  • Expanding physical infrastructure through market-driven reforms (unleashing growth-enabling entrepreneurship and market-creating innovations).
  • Human capital development empowers competitiveness, and Robust foreign policy restores Nigeria’s strategic relevance.
  • We are spending more on recurrent expenses. And we are borrowing frivolously. I am not against loans per se, but we must stop borrowing for consumption.  All loans must be invested in regenerative projects. We must operate within available resources and strive for a balanced national budget as cost-saving measures. Ending the leakages, including the subsidy regime and improving our tax regime, should do the magic.
  • The lack of political will and synergy between the Executive and Legislative arms has resulted in costly inertia in tackling our oversized government. The result is persisting turf fights, competition among several overlapping agencies, and the resultant wastage. Cost-cutting measures must start with rationalization and harmonization. Pruning the size of the government will be imperative.
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This article was first published on 8th October 2022


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.

Comments (4)

4 thoughts on “Peter Obi Speaks on Transformative Governance in Nigeria at Harvard University”

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