By OUR CORRESPONDENT
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi has emphasised that the problem holding Nigeria down has nothing to do with religion or ethnicity, as many erroneously believe, but everything to do with decades of leadership failure in the country, assuring that if elected president, he will change that negative narrative to a better one.
Fielding questions from members of his support groups across the country, through a virtual meeting last night (Thursday, November 3, 2022), Obi reiterated his argument that since Nigerians of all religious persuasions – whether Muslims or Christians – are facing the same problems, it is ridiculous to try to categorise their social problems into those affecting Christians and those affecting Muslims or traditional religious worshippers, insisting that every social or religious group in the country is equally affected by adverse conditions of hunger, insecurity; low quality education; poor electricity supply and bad roads.
“There is nowhere in Nigeria a Muslim buys cheaper bread because he is a Muslim, ditto for Christians. Our economic problems arising from poor leadership do not discriminate on basis of religion or tribe. There is no separate electricity for a Christian or Muslim; everyone is suffering the same thing,” Obi pointed out.
“We can’t continue repeating the same method we have been using that is not working. I have said it repeatedly, don’t vote for me because of where I come from. Vote for me because of what am offering. I am the most qualified in this presidential race not because of where I come from but because of what I am coming with, what I can offer (in terms of) my antecedents, my qualifications…
“I have been tested with power and I left a mark, the only governor in Nigerian history who finished eight years, left money, built infrastructure, owed no contractor or salary or pension. I have been to the best schools in the world, acquired enormous knowledge for leadership challenges. I am a businessman and in it I left records.”
Explaining why his focus would be much in the North as president, Obi said it’s because of the enormous potentials in the North which need to be tapped and harnessed.
“With what I have in mind for the North, the region will forever remain grateful because I am going to change the region. We need to cultivate arable lands there,” Obi declared, regretting that Nigeria is the poverty capital of the World with the North contributing a larger chunk of the ugly situation, “despite its sons being in power for 47 out of 62 years of our nationhood.”
“What that means is that who is in power, whether your tribesman or your religion, is not the solution but the capacity and competence of the person,” Obi restated. “Very distinguished and respected Nigerians from the North have ruled this country but if you go to Nigeria today, the 10 poorest States are from the region, the region has the highest number of unemployed youth, out of school children and the worst school kidnapping record globally.”
Noting that Nigeria is not the only country with diversity, the LP candidate insisted that diversity is not the country’s problem but how it’s being handled.
He recalled that the Central Mosque in London, worth millions of pounds in value, was donated by the Queen of England who was not a Muslim while in Dubai, the huge Catholic Church there was built by the Emir of Dubai who is not a Christian.
“I have said it frequently that the 2023 election must not be (dictated by) anybody’s entitlements – his religion or tribe – but by competence, character and what (one) did before, how one handled public funds when they were placed in one’s custody,” Obi stated.
Obi also answered questions on other areas including linkage with Nigerian students who are now back on campus.
“To Nigerian students, you will never regret being part of this movement; you can never regret being part of taking back Nigeria, I assure you,” Obi assured.
According to a release by Obi-Datti Media, over 50,000 persons who were anxious and desirous to hear from their reigning political icon, joined within 10 minutes of opening the zoom meeting with still many more unable to join as the zoom could not cope with the rush.
Obi-Datti Media also explained that the zoom meeting with support group is part of the strategy by the Obi-Datti Campaign to keep in touch with the ticket’s numerous followers at home and in the diaspora, as well as get feed back from them on the ticket’s policies and programmes.