Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, on Monday, assured Nigerians that he would not make excuses for failures if elected president in 2023.
This is also as the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) rallied support for the Obi/ Datti presidency in Abuja on Monday, at a retreat organised by the LP for its national officers, candidates, and trade unions, in Abuja.
The event attracted participants from the labour hierarchy, led by Ayuba Wabba, president of the NLC president, as well as top officers of the labour party,
Speaking on day one of the two-day leadership retreat, Obi stated that the job of a leader was to solve problems and not to give excuses. He described it as disappointing for a candidate supported by organised labour to fail the people.
“I am in this retreat to listen. Even if we don’t achieve 100 percent, we must have made sacrifices,” he said.
The LP presidential hopeful decried the recurrent industrial action by the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), 12 years after the Federal Government signed agreement with the union.
“How much is ASUU asking for that the Nigerian government cannot pay since the last 12 years? N1.2 trillion,” Obi said, noting that the revenue which accrued to the country for the month of July alone was enough to settle the union’s demand.
According to him, next year’s election would not be based on ethnicity or religion, but on character, competence and capacity, just as he decried the lingering Nigeria’s economic challenges.
Speaking on his experience as governor of Anambra State, he declared that “I solved these challenges at the small level; I want to solve them now at the larger level.
“The major problem facing Nigeria today is food inflation. We have enough land. The Sambissa forest is three times the size of Israel.
“The more you pull people out of poverty, the more you reduce criminality. I have said it before and I will say it again that the vast land in the North is the next crude oil of Nigeria and I am ready to use the land to make Nigeria self-sufficient in food production”
Wabba, president of the NLC, said that Nigerian workers would actively participate in selecting the next leaders of the country.
Wabba stated that protests and strikes would not fix Nigeria, stressing that the NLC and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) will activate their structures in Nigeria’s 774 local government areas for the LP.
The NLC president noted that politics has become business in Nigeria, adding, “people are selling properties to contest elections only to recover them again after winning. This is not the type of politics labour is preaching.
“Presidential candidates must meet the criteria before they can earn labour’s support.”
Festus Osifo, president of the TUC, assured that the union will support LP 100 percent.
Julius Abure , the LP national chairman, in his welcome address, urged Nigerians to embrace the party, as it is “in the best position to proffer valid and effective solutions to the ills that plague our nation”
Abure lamented that Nigeria had in the past seven years, witnessed retrogressions in all the indices of economic development, adding that “ global terrorism research/ analysis, from organisations that specialises in collation of data on terrorist activities worldwide, recently, ranked Nigeria as the second most terrorised country, second only to Iraq”
“If we speak to the average Nigerian under the age of 35 years, the majority are interested in leaving Nigeria for greener pastures”.
He also cited cases of international airlines divesting from Nigeria, with increasing air fares and high prices of food items.
According to him, “The naira is falling as fast as the balance of our external reserve account; the latest World Bank Poverty Assessments state that poverty reduction figures stagnated since 2015”
Abure opined that Nigeria was in a free fall, adding that “the county cannot afford another four years of business as usual”
He declared that the LP under the Obi/ Datti team was offering Nigerians an opportunity to put the country back on the right track.
“Labour is a fundamental factor of production. For production to be sustained, it requires security, education health care and basic infrastructures”
He assured that the party will work hand in hand with the nation’s budding ecosystem to rebuild the country.
“We have a strong economic development strategy that will be unveiled to the public very soon,” he added.
The event witnessed the unveiling of the party’s membership registration portal and membership cards, which the national chairman said would be distributed free to willing members nationwide.