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Presidential candidate of Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has dismissed the suggestion that Nigeria is a complex country as untrue stressing that what Nigeria needs is the right set of leaders.
He asserted that the notion was an excuse borrowed by people who lack knowledge and experience to fix the socio-economic problem of the country always put forward in leaders.
However, the former Anambra State governor, who was a guest on a radio programme in Enugu, on Tuesday, agreed that Nigeria was on the brink of collapse and needed a competent leader who can turn its fortune around.
Although he emphasised that there was need for religious and ethnic balancing in a multi-ethnic and multi-religious nation like Nigeria, he insisted that competence should always be key in selecting leaders.
‘There is nothing complex in Nigeria. That is the excuse you people give, there is nothing complex in Nigeria. It is the same country. It’s about dealing with human being. I’ve seen complex people all over the world. When we moved education from number 26 to number one in Anambra State, we didn’t remove the people (teachers). It were the same people, it was about managing the people and you who is the manager have to drive the process. I will turn power around (if elected president). I can assure you that within the first four years you will see the change.‘
Reminded that present and past administrations gave same promises he replied: ‘Forget about the past, those who think about yesterday, today will miss tomorrow. I am different. People promised in Anambra State and failed. I came and made it work. When I said I am going to clear all the gratuities and everything for 35 years, they said it was a joke, but I have done it somewhere. I’ve shown where I promised and delivered, all you need to do is to trust me. I am not going to waste everybody’s time, I’m going to do the right thing, it is going to be difficult but I will be on the driver’s seat.’
He expressed the need for Nigerians to take back their country by ensuring the existence of unity, security and productivity in all sectors.
He alleged that opponents were sponsoring ethnic and campaign of bigotry to pull him down. ‘I have said this before, let us bring all the presidential candidates, about 18 of us; let us look at our background and past records. But, people are not talking about what we can offer and they are now promoting ethnicity and tribalism.
“Most of those people you see lashing out on other people are not by supporters, they are actually people the other people paid to say, ‘oh these are his supporters.’ Just like they now bring people who will be threatening war. You are in the South East here, is there war in Enugu here? Enugu is far more secured than most states in Nigeria but the way they paint it is that if you come here they’ve declared a war, there is no war. We are not going to declare war. When they come with war, when they show us hatred, we will show them love. I am not in politics of discussing people, I am not in politics of quarrelling with people. I am in politics of ideas and what we can do to save the place and I have shown example. From a private sector to the public sector I have shown that I am a manager of resources simple.’
Asked if he would agree to serve in (Bola) Tinubu or Atiku (Abubakar) administration if he loses election, Obi said’ ‘I am not looking for a job. I want to save Nigeria. I, Peter Obi, wants to save Nigeria, I want to turn Nigeria into a production site where things are manufactured.”
On the notion that northerners would not vote for him because of secessionist agitations in the South East, Obi said those agitations including insecurity are spread across the country and emerged as a result of bad governance. He said those agitations would be decisively tackled through dialogue and engagement.
‘The South East is not the only place where there is agitation. There is agitation also in the South West. (Sunday) Igboho and his people are also agitating for Yoruba state. We have problems in the North East, Boko Haram and ISWAP. We have in the South South and North West.
‘There are problems all over the place. But I have said it repeatedly, I will deal with all agitators decisively through dialogue, engagement and then remove the criminals who are operating under this guise and deal with them as criminals.