Peter Obi Calls For Peace Ahead President Tinubu's Administration
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‘Poor Imitation Of China’ – Obi, PDP Tackle Tinubu Over 1411 Delegation To COP28

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Labour Party’s (LP) standard bearer in the February 25 presidential election, Peter Obi on Sunday bemoaned Nigeria’s 1411 contingents to the United Nations’ COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE) as a wrong imitation of China.

Reports from the 28th session of the Conference of the Parties (COP28) to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC) showed that Nigeria equals China with 1,411 contingents to the conference, the highest in the global event aside from the host UAE.

Obi, who is a former governor of Anambra State, asserted that instead of competing with China as per the number of delegates in a specialised conference, such competition should have been in the area of production.

He spoke at the same time the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) described the 1,411 Nigeria contingents to the COP28 conference as “wasteful, frivolous and reckless in the application of the scarce resources.”

PDP in a statement issued by its National Publicity Secretary Debo Ologunagba, regretted that such wasteful spending came at a time when Nigerians were yearning for prudent management of resources to achieve the desired infrastructural regeneration, job creation and revamping of the economy.

The main opposition party dismissed the attempt by the presidency to rationalise the over-bloated delegation by trying to hide under genuine sub-national officials, businesses, journalists and civil society organisations who, according to the PDP, travelled at their own expense to cover the event, “baggage of cronies, mistresses and other hangers-on associated with the presidency who are reportedly attending at government’s expense and have no relevance whatsoever at the conference.”

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Obi in a series of tweets on his verified X handle, described the mammoth contingent as a twist of sad irony, noting 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 having seven times our population.”

The former governor pointed out that the vast majority 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.”

He regretted that this huge contingent was at public expense, which he noted was at a time when most Nigerians could hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship.

He wished a time when Nigeria could 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 emphasising, 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.

Obi however warned of unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour, stating that the Nigerian government should “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.”

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The PDP statement maintained that well-meaning Nigerians were appalled by the level of profligacy inherent in the All Progressives Congress (APC) administration “whose actions and policies so far are skewed towards the promotion and institutionalization of corruption.”

According to the party, the attempt to deceive Nigerians even when the list of the delegation is in the public domain, showed that the APC administration is irredeemably depraved.

“We ask, why would a country whose citizens are dying daily from inability to purchase necessities be willing to fritter its resources and scarce foreign exchange in such a manner?

“It only points to the fact that this administration is not interested in the good of the generality of our citizens but for a select few positioned to fleece the nation’s resources,” the party said.

It challenged the presidency to come clean by making public the names of the official delegation sponsored by the Federal Government to the conference, the relevance of such individuals to the conference and the total cost of such sponsorship on the nation.

“Of course, Nigerians have the list and they know the genuine, officials of sub-national governments and other self-sponsored entities at the conference,” PDP disclosed.

The party called on the National Assembly, pursuant to its constitutional duty under Section 88 of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, 1999 (as amended) which empowers it to investigate and expose corruption by any organ of government, “to immediately commence investigation into this embarrassing revelation and impose appropriate sanction on anyone or Institution found culpable in that regard.

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“Our Party also demands that President Tinubu should be ready to refund any Federal Government fund improperly spent to sponsor any individual who has no relevance at the conference.

“Such funds should be channelled to projects that have a direct bearing on the wellbeing of Nigerians,” the statement concluded.

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