• Monday, June 24, 2024
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Obi in Oxford, pledges sledgehammer approach to dealing with corruption

Obi in Oxford, pledges sledgehammer approach to dealing with corruption

The former governor of Anambra state and the presidential candidate who has been placed at the top of the pack by at least two opinion polls in the race for next February’s election in Nigeria, says he will adopt a sledgehammer approach to containing corruption in the country.

Speaking to an ecstatic crowd of students and faculty at Oxford university at the weekend, Peter Obi who has investment across a broad spectrum of the economy including merchandising and banking, said, “it is no secret that corruption has been endemic and one of the biggest obstacles to our economic progress in Nigeria. We are not proud of this, and my administration, when we come in, will tackle this challenge head on. We will have zero tolerance for corruption. You can expect a sledgehammer approach.”

Mr Obi has taken courses at Oxford in the past and he acknowledged that it was a pleasure to be back, before going on to speak on the theme “Trends and Prospects of Nigeria’s Economy: Broader implications For Africa’s Development.”

According to him, “Nigeria is a challenged country. In February 2023, She will hold her next presidential elections; in doing that she will like the U.K. to canvass for electoral legitimacy, that will hopefully translate to governance legitimacy. We are involved in that process.

“Our primary goal is to enhance government performance legitimacy and reform the machinery of government. Nigeria and the UK are historically linked by democratic values, and by global trade and commerce; and inextricably so, by the global supply chain.

Read also: Peter Obi releases manifesto, to reshape security setup, harness youth strength

“While we don’t expect that Nigeria will always remain the centre of U.K. Strategic engagement in Africa, we envisage that for long she will enjoy a prominent status in geopolitical and geostrategic consideration. Nigeria remains a key member of the Commonwealth. A United, secure, stable and productive Nigeria, is of great interest to the U.K.

“Given her historical leadership role in west Africa and Africa as a whole. Her role remains vital to U.K strategic interest in Africa.

“From my vantage position, I believe U.K’s long interest and support for Africa should transcend the promotion of democracy, and include a broad range of economic related issues, in particular support for Africa continental free Trade Area.”

Obi who called agriculture the new oil and gold in Nigeria, said as much as 65% of the arable land in Africa’s most populous nation remains as part of the mere potential of Nigeria because it is fallow.

According to the Labour party candidate, “we should have long reaped the fruits of that potential by now if we had had the serious leadership commitment to do so. That said; let me say that Nigeria does have the potential to be a key exporter of agricultural produce to the world. To put this in geographical context, Nigeria’s arable land is larger than the entire land mass of Turkey. And barely 40% of this arable land is cultivated today.

“My country—richly endowed with God-given resources—has over 84 million hectares of arable land.

“But we must have peaceful ad credible elections to sustain the required stability for growth.”

He also told his audience that “Nigeria is poised to lead African countries as we leverage more private funds to meet our continent’s infrastructure financing needs. Those needs are estimated to be between $68 billion and $108 billion annually.Accordingly, we anticipate opportunities for leveraging more private capital to finance regenerative infrastructure projects—as part of public-private partnership. Availability of such funds will help free public funds to projects shunned by the private sector.

“My administration, when I am elected President of Nigeria, will make sure that we do everything to sustain these crucial investment inflows. I do not like to talk much about Nigeria’s “potential” because ‘potential’ is a word that we have come to over use. With the kind of reforms that my government will make, we will ensure that investment—both domestic and foreign—will grow our agriculture sector to feed Nigerians and the wider world.”