Presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has said Nigeria has no reason to be poor, blaming the current situation of the country on poor planning and bad leadership.
Obi noted that people must be stopped from embezzling public funds.
Obi stated this at a colloquium and Hall of Fame in honour of the National Chairman of Labour Party, Julius Abure in Benin City organised by the Edo Policy Round Table in association with Mudiame University, Irrua, Edo State on Thursday.
In a goodwill message, Obi, noted that there was nothing wrong with Nigeria as God blessed the country with all the good things of life, but that the problem of the country is lack of planning and good leadership.
“Before I joined Labour Party, I told Julius Abure that people have told me that you and your leadership are going to allow the primary to be free and fair and since then our relationship has been on that basis. I like to celebrate people when they are doing something good and I thank you for celebrating him.
“We all have our problems; I am not a saint and I am not a criminal. I have never knowingly done anything that is wrong, if I know it is wrong, I wouldn’t do it.
“I have served in the state, I have served in the private sector and today we are going through difficulties. We are not here to mention names, I just listened to a very wonderful speech when they were talking about planning, if you have not planned, you plan to fail and it is very simple.
“The reason why the country is failing today is due to lack of planning. When you talk about lack of planning, you are talking about lack of implementation because we, politicians, when we are campaigning, everything is sweet and good but once we have the opportunity, we would bring out our true side and start doing the opposite.
“All I can tell anybody, there is nothing wrong with Nigeria. The country has one of the best in terms of land, weather, God-given resources and people. If we have a better Nigeria, Edo State will be better. For those you think are leaving Edo, they will come when Edo is good. One thing God has not given Nigeria is leadership, if we have a good leader we will do better.
“A country like Nigeria has no reason to be poor if not because of leadership, if you compare Nigeria with the three biggest economies in Europe- Germany, Britain and France, these three countries if you compared them with Nigeria in land size, they are just about 20 per cent bigger than Nigeria when you put the three together.
“Our GDP should be better but we have a leadership that is involved in waste and consumptions and no production. So whenever you are talking of pulling the people out of poverty and creating jobs, it is simple, just remove the economy from consumption to production, you will create jobs.
“But now all we are thinking about is to buy this and buy that, consume this and consume that, organise this ceremony and that ceremony, it will not work. Now, you have announced a round table, let’s have a round table for Nigeria and everybody and be rest assured that if we get this right we will have a better Nigeria.
“We must stop people from stealing public money. We must stop people from wasting public money, it is not their private money and all of us are involved, we must not celebrate them.
“How much money do you need to live as a human being and everybody here, no matter how big or poor you are, you will not be here in 100 years.
“Let us join together in rebuilding Nigeria and bequeath a better Nigeria for our children. We can’t bequeath Nigeria as it is today, we are going to bequeath anarchy and suffering to the younger generation. And when you wake up in the morning, all you hear is killing,” Obi added.
On his part, the Guest Speaker, Dr. Yunusa Tanko, noted that Nigeria at 63 was still searching for a new political order, adding that the full realisation of the country’s dream at independence had been made impossible because of the dominance of the factors of ethnicism, religions and politics, which he argued, have also affected the survival of democratic rule and national development.
He praised Abure for making his mark by midwifing the Labour Party to an unbelievable success by building on the strong foundation laid down by leaders like Chief Dan Nwanyanwu and late Alhaji Abdulkadir Abdulsalam.
In his speech, Abure, said the September 2 Edo governorship scheduled to hold next year affords the people of the state the opportunity to elect the right governor he termed “Shepherd Governor”, who he said would be a bridge-builder, must be selfless and ready to take risk and make personal sacrifices at all times in the interest and well-being of Edo people.
He stressed that such a governor must have the capacity to bring all shades of persons together in order to achieve the objectives of developing the state and must have innovative ideas and openness to harness the state resources to create for the state.
He stressed that the Labour Governor would be interested in wealth creation and poverty eradication, security, local government administration, education, health and infrastructural development.
Earlier, the Chancellor of Mudiame University, Prof. S . E. Eromosele noted that the situation in Edo State was dire, with poverty, hardship, and backwardness exacerbating the dependency ratio.
He, therefore, called for a Government that drives people-oriented policies, adding that citizens deserve to be integral to the policy-making process.