*Says PDP, APC failed Nigerians
*Insists lecturers won’t go on strike under his government.
*Promises insurance for security agencies
The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has declared that his administration will destroy the structure of criminality, which he said had plunged Nigerians into poverty and enthrone good governance if elected president next month.Obi gave the assurance yesterday in Enugu, during the party’s presidential campaign rally, which was held at the Michael Okpara Square.The rally was attended by the governorship candidate of the party in the state, Chijioke Edeoga; former governor of Anambra State, Chukwuemeka Ezeife; former President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Nnia Nwodo; vice presidential candidate of the LP, Yusuf Baba-Ahmed; Victor Umeh; presidential campaign Director-General (DG) of the party, Akin Osuntokun, spokesperson of the campaign, Kenneth Okonkwo, among several other teeming supporters of the party.Earlier in the day, Obi visited both campuses of the University of Nigeria at Nsukka (UNN), where he urged young people to seize the opportunity of the February election to take back their country, promising that he has come to liberate the country from its present decay and backwardness.He enjoined Nigerians to vote in competent persons who were mentally and physically prepared for the task of providing leadership for a sick nation such as Nigeria.He said, “In United States during elections, they go for debates; somebody once asked Barack Obama questions that are personal and he answered.“But here in Nigeria, somebody wants to contest elections; we don’t know his real age; we don’t know his name; we don’t know the schools he attended.“Nobody knows his real identity. My name is Peter Obi, I can say I went to CKC, went to University of Nigeria, Nsukka. Both the VC today, the DVC today, these are my school mates. We came into the university the same year and left the same year.“The people I went to school with, I can see them here today – my seniors and my juniors. How come we now have people who do not have classmates. This is very important. This is all about character and people we can trust.”The LP candidate explained that someone that is honest does not pretend to be someone he was not and should not be afraid to tell people the truth about himself.Obi cited an example of the legal luminary and founder of Afe Babalola University in Ado Ekiti, Chief Afe Babalola
whom he described as an upright Nigerian who isn’t ashamed of his background.He said: “Afe Babalola once told me he never had the opportunity of going to a formal school. There is nothing wrong with that. There are so many people who have done well in life and never went to formal school.“This country is sick and should not be handed over to a sick person. I am not saying that anyone is sick. We have been here for over two hours; we don’t want people who can’t stand for 30 minutes.“If you said you will fight corruption, let’s go to the road you have passed and see what is remaining there after you left.“This year’s election must be based on competence. This job requires physical and mental energy; it is not a retirement job.”While addressing the large gathering of supporters at the square, Obi urged young people to take back their country from the grips of bad leaders who had caused pain to the people and failed to deliver on their promises.The LP presidential candidate added that both the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) have held power for years and have not delivered on their promises.“Both the PDP and the APC have held power for years and have not delivered on their promises.“Now is the time to ask them to go. We want to throw away the structure of criminality and bring back a structure of good governance to the people.“We cannot continue to have millions of Nigerians living in poverty. We can’t continue with the level of stealing in our country,” he said.Obi maintained that he and his running mate have come to secure and unite Nigeria and ensure that there was respect for human rights and the rule of law as well as create jobs for the teeming youths.“The police will become your friend. We will build a country that everyone will be proud to call theirs. A new Nigeria is possible for us,” he said.He further stated that his administration would recruit people across all levels of security agencies to ensure the adequate protection of lives and property and also ensure that the officers are happy with their jobs by providing insurance cover for them.“We will prioritise our education system and ensure that ASUU will not go on strike. The job ahead requires both physical and mental energy and we are prepared for it but you must go and collect your PVCs,” he stressed.Obi declared that he would end industrial action in Nigerian universities and other tertiary institutions, a situation he claimed had crippled university education in the country.The former governor of Anambra State pledged that once he becomes the president, the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) strike would be a thing of the past, because “we will not have one day of ASUU strike.”Lamenting the frequent industrial action being witnessed in the Nigerian universities, Obi said in his days at UNN as a student, lecturers never went on strike.He pointed out that there was nothing big about funding the universities.“There is nothing big about funding the universities. Funding a university is the collaboration of everybody. Education is not an expense but an investment. We’ll make sure that nothing stops education,” he said.To encourage university education, Obi said students could be given loans to study and repay the loans after graduation. He said there was nowhere in the world where university teachers were being toyed with, adding that they should be motivated to work to improve their industry.On security, Obi said for there to be effective security, a security outfit should be set up in every community.He, however, said insecurity was not peculiar to Nigeria because some nations of the world like Mexico and Brazil were once imbued in situations akin to what was being witnessed in Nigeria today.He, however, pointed out that good governance, provision of jobs to the youths and industrialisation would check insecurity in Nigeria.On how best to save Nigeria from the present economic quagmire, he said the Bank of Industry, Bank of Agriculture, and other development finance institutions should not be managed by governments, but by individuals and corporate organisations.On his part, the Director of UNN Business School, Prof. Josephat Onwumere, said they organised the interactive session so that the presidential candidates could tell Nigerians how they would turn round the economy.Onwumere said it was important that Nigeria produce men with competence that could move the country forward, adding that other presidential candidates would be invited by the Business School to showcase their manifesto to the world.In his address, Enugu State Chairman of the party, Casmir Agbo, said Obi’s candidacy represents a new voice and hope for the country which is at crossroads following years of bad leadership.On his part, chieftain of the party, Chief Victor Umeh, thanked the LP for giving Obi the ticket to run for Presidency, noting that all hope would have been lost again as Obi remains the best in the field.Meanwhile, also speaking in Owerri, yesterday, Obi promised Nigerians that his government would offer a new brand of transformative and purposeful leadership with the overall goal of streamlining governance, making it more responsive, efficient and cost effective if elected president on February
25.Presenting a keynote address titled, “A New Nigeria of Our Dream,” during the 2023 annual global summit organised by the Mbaise Policy Roundtable, Inc. (MPR), held at Mbaise, Obi who was a guest speaker underscored the fact that Nigeria was at the brink of collapsing due to bad leadership, administrative ineptitude and massive corruption over a few decades. He however gave hope to Nigerians by offering to introduce leadership imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment.According to him, the Obi-Datti administration would ensure good governance, rule of law, security of lives and properties, as well as ensure that, “we have these assets in place and stress asset optimisation by striking a strategic balance that allow us to promote and protect national interest, while meeting our ECOWAS obligations.”Obi who was represented at the annual intellectual event by Imo State Coordinator of ‘Big Tent’, Dr. Fabian Ihekwueme, was optimistic to rebuild Nigeria’s military power, promote economic growth, and enhance its technological prowess with a view to improving Nigeria’s diplomatic influence in sub-regional, regional and global affairs.He said restoring leadership would require that, “we reassert proactively, Nigeria’s leadership role in African affairs through constructive engagement, peacekeeping duties, and using existing sub-regional and regional as well as bilateral platforms for dialogue on current and emerging challenges.” In his remarks, another keynote speaker, Prof. Pat Utomi highlighted the determinants of economic growth of a country which centres on public expenditure, capital formation, private or public investment, employment rates, exchange rates, etc.Utomi whose theme dwelt on, “A New Nigeria is Possible” also pointed out some non-economic determinants that help to advance progress in a given state, such as capital accumulation, technological progress, government efficiency, institutions, among others.Chairman and Moderator of Mbaise Policy Roundtable, Inc, Prof. Eddie Oparaoji introducing the 2023 annual summit theme as “Education and Agriculture as Building Block for Youth Leadership and Entrepreneurship” noted that over the years, MPR and key speakers had discussed and interrogated the subject of agriculture and discovered that feeding a nation remains the key to development.
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