The Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 Election, Peter Obi on Sunday, said those on the government delegation to COP28 are idle hands, hangers-on who understand nothing about climate change.
However, Obi, reacting to reports of Nigeria’s huge delegation to climate change, admonished Nigeria to strive to compete with China in the production area and not on the size of delegations to a specialized conference of experts.
According to Obi, ” Most importantly, most of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non-relevant civil servants or relations, friends, and hangers-on of high government officials. Most of them hardly understand or have anything to do with Climate Change.”
Obi, in a series of tweets in his X handle on Sunday in reaction to the trending large delegations to the United Nations, COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, decried the waste and wrong imitation of China, a country dutifully pulling their people out of poverty.
Reports from Dubai show that Nigeria equals China with 1411 contingents to the conference, the highest in the global event aside from the host UAE.
But in a satirical response to the size of Nigeria’s contingent Obi said “In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China, with the same number of contingents at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. Nigeria’s contingent to COP28 totalled 1,411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.
The Labour Party standard bearer noted that While China’s budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head, Nigeria’s budget is about $33 billion, about $165 per head.
China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured.
Nigeria has more people living in ‘Multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China’s population being seven times larger than ours.
“This huge contingent is at public expense and at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs due to economic hardship.
I pray earnestly that a day will come soon enough when we can focus on competing with China on productivity and the miracle of migrating the highest number of its citizens out of poverty over a relatively short time.
“As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as an addition to our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.
He said, “We need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour.We need to tie spending to necessity and national Priority, pointing out that a New Nigeria is possible but we only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.”