The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has explained why he would not prioritise probing previous administration if he emerged president in 2023.
He said this on Friday in Abuja while answering questions after he formally unveiled Dr. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed as his running mate for the 2023 elections.
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According to him, his is to avoid distractions and to stop corruption.
“As for probing the past government let me tell you, you see me argue it that you can’t close your shop and be chasing thieves. Those who only look at yesterday and today will miss tomorrow. God did not give us eyes at the back, mine is to look forward.
“If you come into government today and decide to stop the leakage first, you will get more. I am not going to be part of any form of victimization or witch-hunt, it won’t happen. Nigerians must live within law and order,” Obi said.
He added that many thought corruption was something impossible to deal with.
“But I can tell you right away if you the principal person, local government chairman, the governor or the president, are not stealing, your family is not, those around you are not, you will reduce it by 70 per cent.
“And I challenge everybody, go and show me anybody who was a contractor, who is a civil servant, who was a supplier, who will say in my eight years of being in government in Anambra State, I sat down with him and I said add one naira to this. I will resign I won’t continue with this (if it is true). That was why we were able to save about N70 billion naira.
“Go and read what my former Head of Service said. He wrote an article, ‘Stingeness as a development strategy’ because whatever money I saved when the civil servants were arguing with me, when I started paying them their dues, their leave allowance they started asking me where I got the money. Public money should be used for public good.”
Announcing Baba-Ahmed as his running mate, Obi said he (Baba-Ahmed) was eminently qualified to bring his private sector and academic achievements to bear in the drive to rescue Nigeria from the primitive politics of ethnicity.
According to him, the LP will anchor its manifesto in coming days on the 17 goals of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
He said that in the coming weeks, the party would unleash its ingenuity and resourcefulness of the youths, adding that the Labour Party administration would unlock the new asset of vast land in the north and turn it to future oil.
He said it was the party’s intention to secure, unite and make Nigeria productive and this could not be done without having people with similar vision and idea prepared for the task ahead.
Obi said, “He (Baba-Ahmed) has been described as one of the brightest, youngest personalities in Nigeria who has distinguished himself in all areas.
“He brings to this mission, a great wealth of experience from the background of a private sector, to public sector and a global knowledge that will help in a journey of turning around this country.
“Today, our country is facing so many challenges which I will not want to mention here because we’re just here to introduce our vice presidential candidate but I will not be doing great service to our country if I don’t mention some of those (challenges).
“We are today the poverty capital of the world. We are today hugely indebted and I have said it in my interview few days ago. We are actually about to default in our debt servicing, which will just trigger us into junk status. I pray it doesn’t happen.
“All this is collective effect of bad leadership. We’ve decided to halt this collapse, to stop this drift. We made this choice and I and Datti have sat down and discussed. I said to him, what we are doing is not just two of us.
We are bringing all Nigerians into this big tent where everybody will be involved because we want to end the primitive politics of ethnicity, religion. What we want now is to replace that with competence.
“We are committed to turning all those vast land in the north into the oil of the future. Oil is a diminishing asset, we must unlock the new asset which is the land, our people will go back there to production. Kano and Kaduna will be processing center.
“We will unlock what the port can do in Port Harcourt. It is a trans-shipment port that can generate enough income. We have people in Aba that can do the shoe and clothing that Vietnam is doing and earning over $60 billion in a year. This country must produce and that is what we are going to do. Datti has PhD in Economics for nothing, it is to be utilized.”