It actually does not require rocket science to get Nigeria working again but extraordinary commitment from the people and their leaders to nation-building, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Mr. Peter Obi, has said.
Obi’s view is contained in his remarks at the weekend at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) of the Nigeria Institute of Architects (NIA) in Calabar, Cross River State.
In the remarks at the conference with the theme, “Housing and Design Excellence for National Development”, the LP standard bearer listed what he called 4Cs – competence, capacity, credibility and commitment – as critical requirements to turn the country around.
“We must aspire to put in place a leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment. These 4 Cs, are leadership competencies required to turn Nigeria around,” Obi stated.
“What is grossly missing in Nigeria’s leadership, governance and economic realm is the lack of efficiency. Good governance and a prosperous and stable economy are routinely anchored on sectoral and holistic pursuit of efficiency.”
He told the Architects that Nigeria has high and severe housing deficit to the point that the country needs about 28 million houses to be built to meet the national needs, adding that by estimation, this would cost about N60trn.
According to him, what his presidency would do, if he is given the mandate to run the country via the 2023 presidential election, is to partner with a professional body like the NIA and create the enabling environment through appropriate pieces of legislation that would regulate and preserve property, employing the force of the community for public good.
The dearth of vision and commitment in the nation’s political leadership over time is having adverse effects on all sectors of the political economy, Obi said, noting that “what is grossly missing in Nigeria’s leadership, governance and economic realm is the lack of efficiency.”
“Good governance and a prosperous and a stable economy are routinely anchored on sectoral and holistic pursuit of efficiency,” the former two-term Governor of Anambra State said.
“If Datti and I are hired by Nigerians on February 25th, 2023, we will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, security of lives and property, but for this to happen, there must be elite consensus on critical national interest questions.
“We are also aware that our existing national infrastructures are decrepit and crumbling. We are housing challenged. We have as a nation been inconsistent in our infrastructural planning and funding. This is an area we must tackle urgently.”
Obi assured that, as a first step, the Obi-Datti Presidency must start with “rethinking the fundamentals of our nationhood and how to collectively unite and secure Nigeria and move it from good to great.”
“Good governance simply translates to eight critical governance values, namely: a government being accountable, transparent, responsive, equitable and inclusive, effective and efficient, adherence to the rule of law as well as participatory and consensus-oriented,” Obi stressed.
“With the mandate of Nigerians, the Obi-Datti administration, from its inception, will continue to encourage investment in infrastructure—housing, energy, transport, irrigation, and telecoms—to grow these and other sectors.
“We are eager to quickly close the infrastructure gap between now and 2030. That is the Nigeria we want in place by the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) target year.”
Obi also charged the architects to bear in mind some fundamental requirements of their profession in contemplation of “Housing and Design Excellence for National Development”, which includes design for the future and economic and social wellbeing; design with focus on the demographics and design and build for public good.
“Our buildings must be accessible to people with disabilities, must reflect our culture and heritage,” Obi counselled, adding: “We must manage funding for building, give primacy to maintenance culture and, finally, NIA must protect its institutional integrity.
He reminded the NIA members of the very core of his campaign message, which is that in the mission to rescue Nigeria, “there is no tribe, religion, or class. Indeed, there can be no conscientious objector.”