Peter Obi spoke on ‘Nigeria’s 2023 Elections: A Vision for Policy Change and Institutional Reforms’.
He said if elected President of Nigeria, he would revamp the already impoverished Nigeria’s economy, fight insecurity and corruption, and place the country on the path of rapid economic growth and recovery, adding that he would ensure borrowing in future would only be for investment.
Obi said, “the ethnic tension you see today is a result of injustice, unfairness, exclusion and marginalization; immediately we start reversing that, they (ethnic tensions) start going down.
“This is what I tell you about agitations, as long as we start doing the right things, as soon as we start building an inclusive society where people’s talent and hard work will match up their opportunities, you will start seeing those things go down. There is tension even in the western world. We will show compassion; we will show love,”.
Like Tinubu, Peter Obi Appears At Chatham House Speaks About Nigeria’s 2023 Elections
The former Anambra state governor was asked how he will address the issue of agitation by the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) during the question and answer session.
He responded by saying, “I will talk and discuss with all agitators. There is nothing wrong in that; people agitate even in my house and I have talked with them,”.
According to Obi, the agitations are a cumulative effect of leadership failure over the years which he promised would be solved by good governance.
“When people start seeing justice, fairness, an inclusive government and doing the right thing, all those things will start reversing itself and that is what Datti and I are discussing,” the presidential hopeful said.
He condemned all agitators but insisted that attention must be paid to the reasons for the agitations all over the place. “Not just the IPOB, we have the Yoruba nation and all sorts.”
Fielding a similar question on how he plans to tackle the security challenge and ethnic tension in Nigeria, Mr Obi said the ethnic tensions in Nigeria today are a result of injustice, unfairness, exclusion, and marginalization.
“As long as we start doing the right thing, as long as we start building an inclusive society; where people’s talent and hard work match their opportunities, you start seeing those things go down,” Mr Obi said.
He said Nigeria has an existential threat that leaves no room for the usual transactional leadership. “It is either you are a Nigerian or you look for another country.”
Mr Obi noted that security is the first commitment of his administration if elected. “Securing Nigeria is not impossible. I secured Anambra State as governor and it will not be different,” he said.
His government, he said, will apply the carrot and stick method. They will dialogue with those who are available for dialogue and will deal with those who are not interested.
“Nigeria must be secured. We will not shy away; we will deal with it,” Mr Obi said.
He added that it was time to resonate the spirit of the Nigerian military: the same spirit they used in securing Africa in the past during peace missions, he said.
Datti Baba-Ahmed, his running mate; Pat Utomi, professor of political economy, and Julius Abure, LP chairperson, were also in attendance.
Peter Obi is the second Nigerian presidential candidate in this electoral cycle to speak at Chatham House, a London-based think tank, following his All Progressives Congress (APC) counterpart, Bola Tinubu’s session there in December.
Two other candidates, Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), are also expected to speak there.
A total of 18 candidates are scheduled to take part in next month’s election but only four of them are believed to have a chance of victory. The four are Messrs Obi, Tinubu, Kwakwanso and Abubakar.