By Geoffrey Anyanwu, Lukman Olabiyi and Adanna Nnamani
Presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, has absolved himself from allegations of sponsorship of agitations in Nigeria, including that of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB).
He, however, said agitations in Nigeria were consequences of leadership failure over the years, saying if given the opportunity to lead, he would resolve issue of agitations in the country.
Obi was reacting to allegations by New Nigerian Peoples Party’s (NNPP) presidential candidate, Rabiu Kwakwanso, that northern Nigerians would not vote for a candidate from the South East because of the activities of separatist movements in the region.
He also said Igbo were at the bottom of politics in Nigeria and Obi should grab the golden opportunity of becoming his running mate.
However, Obi who featured on a television programme monitored, yesterday, said such comments were parts of the reasons for the sorry state of the nation.
“The comments from my respected elder brother is the reason why we have 100 million Nigerians living in poverty. The reason why we have 18 million Nigerian children out of school, it is the reason why we have over 55 per cent of Nigerians in the under-employment or unemployment ladder. It is the reason why we have all the problems why Nigeria is insecure today.
“We choose to 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, by road, or by train. Is it because somebody from the South-East is in charge? You can’t travel from Abuja to Minna by road, is it because somebody from the South-East is in charge? Yesterday, we had an attack on the presidential convoy in Katsina, is it because a person from South-East is in charge?
“He mentioned issue of my sponsoring agitation, go and check the records, check the facts, I have never been involved in sponsoring any agitation, be it IPOB or anyone, I have never.
“In 2017, I made a comment, I said, IPOB and all other agitations are as a result of leadership failure over the years. Leadership that failed to address the critical areas of development, some of the killings are creation of government. And I can say today that if I may come I will deal decisively with those agitations through dialogue and through proper leadership. And when I finish with that if there remains of criminality in it, I’ll deal with it decisively. That is what is happening everywhere, I follow issues of agitations globally, I do things with studies, how it can be dealt with.”
The LP standard bearer said the country would not be able to work the way it is presently structured said he would support state police.
“When you talk about restructuring, I’ve said it, Nigeria as it is structured today cannot work. But it is not what people say we will restructure, for example, the issue of security, why won’t states be in charge of their security? First, is that the Governor should be in charge of the security, so even if a Police Commissioner is posted there, the Governor is in charge and can remove him. I will promote fiscal federalism because it will help.”
Obi also disclosed why he visited the River state Governor, Nyesom Wike. “I went to see Governor Wike because he is the governor of a state that is strategically important to the future of what I am saying and I am happy I’ve seen the port. The ports in Port Harcourt can help to decongest the ports in Lagos and help towards what I want to do with the ports. We must generate appropriate revenue, so I didn’t go to see him to be another political gang up or things like that. I am going to visit every governor in Nigeria though, to plead with them to understand, we must build a better Nigeria. Nigeria is at the brink now, like I said in a short while we will not be able to service our debts. Those are what we should be discussing. When we don’t service our debts in the next tranche we will be reduced to junk status, we will be finished.”
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