The Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr Peter Obi and his running mate, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed on Sunday were special guests on the Peoples Townhall.
At the event which held in the Federal Capital Territory (FCT), the LP flagbearer and his compatriot discussed their plans for the country if elected.
Obi spoke on a couple of issues including but not limited to security, economy, education, health, amongst others.
The former Anambra State governor who has been established as the leading candidate in several online surveys, also constructively gave reply to certain statements darted at him by other contenders in the presidential race.
Below are 6 very critical statements Peter Obi made at the engagement which is anchored on how to sustain Nigeria’s shared democracy, giving Nigerians a golden opportunity to ask important questions and to get specific solutions to the many challenges confronting the nation.
1. Fuel subsidy is an organised crime
Obi has promised that if elected in next month’s polls, he will see to it that subsidy is removed as planned by the incumbent administration of President Muhammadu Buhari.
“I can assure you, it will go immediately. Subsidy – I’ve said it before – is organised crime and I will not allow it to stay a day longer.
“What they’re telling you is not what it is. Half of what is being mentioned is not subsidy. First is that we consume the quantity that is not supposed to be consumed here. We are the same population with Pakistan. They consume below 50 percent of what we consume.
“So, the first half, I will remove it and give those people who are drinking it water – because that’s what they’re supposed to drink – so we can save the money,” the LP flagbearer stressed.
According to him, no reasonable country will spend money on subsidy at the expense of qualitative education and good healthcare facilities.
2. Discuss with every agitator
The LP presidential candidate also spoke about various agitations across the country which are threatening the nation’s peace, he said, “we are in a democratic dispensation; you govern by discussing, you govern by consensus. So, I will sit down and discuss with every agitator without exception of name.
“We must use carrot and stick (approach).
“I will discuss with those who want to discuss. You have to look at what is causing agitations today; it is issues of injustice, issues of where there is no fairness, issues to do with poverty, unemployment.”
According to him, when a government begins to address the issues and engage citizens in discussions, and bring them to the table, no agitator anywhere in the world will see reason to foment chaos, because at the time, there needs would have been met.
3. Dismantle confusion in Ports Administration
Speaking what will be done to improve the efficiency of Ports’ infrastructure and services, Mr Obi said he would dismantle the confusion in Ports Administration and get the country to work.
According to him, the reason the ports seem to be operating inefficiently is because people feeding off the inefficiencies and as such, they must be removed.
He further states that he will allow the private sector to build ports and manage them in collaboration with the government.
4. Declare war on Power Sector
As regards what he will do to take Nigeria out of the doldrums of darkness, Mr Obi promised to copy what was done in South Africa and Egypt to tackle the issue of power generation and distribution in Nigeria.
“We have to open up like South Africa has done. They have power issues like us, even [though] they are 60 million and they are generating almost 40-something-thousand, they declared [a state of] emergency and said anybody can generate up to 100,000 megawatts without license,” Obi noted.
“If somebody who is 60 million (sic) generating almost 50,000 declared [an] emergency, we declare war here on power. If it will consume everybody, it will consume us, but we will get power.
“Egypt did the same thing. Egypt had about 20,000. One of their studies showed that power is a critical issue. Today, Egypt is generating almost 50,000. In fact, Egypt is exporting power to Europe. If these things can be done around us – South Africa and Egypt – why not Nigeria?”
5. Nigerian women more productive
The LP candidate did not also mince words when he stated that women are more productive in Nigeria and are less corrupt compared to their male counterparts.
He promised Nigerians and all those present at the townhall that he will bring more women into government if elected as the president in the February 25 election.
“I can say it without anything; women are more productive in Nigeria than men any day any time. I worked with them when I was in the banking industry, they saved the bank. When they believe in anything they go for it.
“I wish our men will do the same thing. And they (women) are less corrupt; they are easily satisfied with little. Men will just go on and on forgetting that it is public money they are taking. I am very sorry about that, men. I am one of you but I have to say the truth of what I observed,” Obi said.
6. No one can say I stole public funds
Mr Obi went on to address jabs aimed at him by the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu, mocking him as ‘Mr Stingy.’
Expressing his disdain for the comment which he found as a humour in distaste, the former Anambra governor said he is happy no one would fault him for refusing to steal public funds.
“It’s good that when my opponents talk. Let us talk about corruption. One of the things that are killing this country today is Corruption Perception Index, which is measured by how you manage public assets, nepotism, how you share the land, how you manage your money, and everything.
“I’ve challenged everyone to say, ‘Go and see whether there is anywhere a kobo of Anambra State money is missing.’ Saving has now become an issue. When people have stolen all the money and impoverished the country and you are now questioning a man who left the money without anybody telling me to leave it and go,” he said.
At a recent campaign in Ekiti State, Mr Obi urged Nigerians to reject moneybag politicians in the February 25 election.
He said moneybags have played several roles in Nigeria’s history but most of all, they have brought Nigerians poverty.