PRESIDENTIAL candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the 2023 general elections, Peter Obi, has said Nigeria is currently in a coma, adding that he is the ‘specialist’ that will save the country.
Obi spoke in an interview on Arise TV’s ‘The Morning Show’ on Wednesday.
He spoke on diverse issues, including his widely reported talks with the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP), as well as the nation’s challenges and how he intends to address them.
His comments suggested that the talks have collapsed.
Obi responded to a comment made in Gombe State on Saturday by the NNPP’s presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwankwaso, that he was giving the South-East a golden opportunity to have a taste of the presidency by accepting him (Obi) as his running mate.
“The comment from my respected elder brother, Kwankwanso, is why we have 100 million Nigerians living in poverty and 18 million Nigerian children out of school. It is why we have over 55 per cent of Nigerians under the unemployment ladder. It is the reason Nigeria is insecure. Rather than vote for competence, we vote for incompetence based on a primitive consideration of ethnicity and religion. Tell me, today, you can’t travel from Abuja to Kaduna by air, road and train,” Obi said.
According to Obi, Nigeria has consistently voted for incompetent leaders who turn out to be rudderless and throw the nation into economic and security chaos.
“My commitment is to let us deal with the country’s issues. There are a lot of problems facing this country. People don’t know today that this country will soon default on their debt service.
“We have schools and universities shut down and we are talking about who we’ll vote for. Let’s deal with the issues. This election will not be based on my turn. It will not be based on ethnicity. It will not be based on religion. It will be based on the Nigerian agenda to save this country. Nigeria is in a coma, and it needs a specialist. That is what I’m offering to save its life, or it will die.”
The Labour Party candidate urged Nigerians to vote competence in the next poll.
Reacting to calls by the NNPP for him to be running mate to Kwankwaso, Obi said stalwarts in the party, including Buba Galadima, who made a similar call on Arise TV days ago, know he has a knack for managing the economy.
Obi explained that if they all agree that he is skilled at handling the economy, they should endorse him as the best for the presidency.
He said the major crisis facing the nation was the economy.
“Nigeria’s problem is the economy. Why do you want somebody who has the knowledge of what the problem is to be vice? That is what I am saying. You want to use the people who should be on the reserve bench to start the match. No.
“He (Galadima) mentioned that I have the knowledge. The Nigerian problem is the economy. It is the economy because people don’t have jobs and because people don’t have means of livelihood. You pushed them into criminality, agitation, and all sorts of problems we face today.
“That is what I am saying: I have the knowledge to start pulling these people out of poverty. My candidacy and the team I want to assemble – young people – will start mitigating the problems we are facing today. I will start dealing with cutting costs to pull Nigeria out of poverty.”
Obi also denied sponsoring any agitation, including the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He debunked claims that his son had participated in a protest against the Nigerian government outside the country.
Obi said agitations were creations of the government because it failed to provide good leadership.
“So, all of these are the creations of the government. I can say today that if I am in power, I will deal decisively with all agitations through dialogue and proper leadership.
“When I finish that, if there are remnants of criminals in it, I’ll deal with them decisively. That’s what’s happening everywhere. I follow the issue of agitations globally. I do things with my studies. It can be dealt with.”
Obi also described himself as a detribalized Nigerian who would embrace all if elected President.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party candidate promised to announce his running mate soon.
He did not rule out Datti-Baba Ahmed and others who have been rumoured as his possible running mate.