By CECILIA OLOGUNAGBA
The Labour Party flag-bearer for the 2023 Nigeria presidential election, Mr Peter Obi recently visited six states of the U.S., consulting and engaging with the Nigerians in Diaspora in those states.
Obi visited six states namely: New York, California, Texas, Washington DC, North Carolina, and Atlanta, speaking as a guest speaker on “The Role of Nigerian Diaspora in Development and Growth of Nigeria.”
The lecture series focused on good governance and how Nigerians, especially the diaspora Nigerians can be involved in the nation’s electoral process.
According to him, the diaspora Nigerians should work towards contributing to the vision where the country will move from consumption-based to a production-based economy.
At New York, while addressing the Columbia’s Africa Business Club, Black Law Students Association, and Nigerians in Diaspora, he frowned at the idea of a nation borrowing for consumption.
He said there was nothing wrong about borrowing but that borrowing for consumption would not add to growth as against borrowing for production which he said would stimulate economic growth.
“We should borrow for production. America and China borrow. All the G-7 countries borrow so there is nothing wrong in debt but we should use debt to keep our economy growing,’’ he said.
Speaking on the economy, he said Nigeria was blessed with rich land resources which has been properly harnessed.
He decried corruption, saying that it kills entrepreneurship, professionalism, and hard work.
“So, we must fight corruption through the president, his wife, and ministers being honest”, he said.
Obi also advised the Federal Government to continue to dialogue with the striking Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) so that they would return to the classroom.
Addressing an audience at Beverly Hilton Los Angeles, California, Obi said that the problem with governance in Nigeria was failure to deliver on campaign promises.
He called on Nigerians to always hold their political officers accountable to serve as deterrent to other political office aspirants.
The Presidential candidate, however, challenged America-based Nigerians to hold him accountable on his campaign promises, particularly in the energy sector, if he wins the presidential race.
Obi said it was unfortunate that South Africa which produces 50,000 megawatts of electricity had just declared a state of emergency in the sector on the account of low power generation.
He said this contrasted with the situation in Nigeria which produces 4,000 megawatts for 200 million people.
Responding to questions as on how he will increase power generation if he becomes president, Obi said that he found out that one of the companies responsible for Egypt’s power transformation is present in Nigeria.
“I decided to investigate why they haven’t replicated similar success in Nigeria. My findings will remain confidential for now but there was no magic involved in achieving it,’’ he said.
At Houston in Texas and Washington DC, Obi spoke on impact of oil theft to Nigeria’s economy and the need to address it.
“For instance, in July Nigeria did not supply 717,000 barrels per day out of its 1.8 million bpd quota,’’ he said, adding that it has caused lots of economic losses to the country.
While in Charlotte, North Carolina, Obi spoke on how bad leadership had stunted Nigeria’s growth in spite of its enormous human and material resources, hospitality and sense of brotherhood.
“If you are hungry in Nigeria, your neighbor will feed you but if you are hungry in America, nobody will give you food.
“We have better food, environment, and our free-market policies are better but how did we get to where we are today, where millions of people cannot feed themselves?’’ he asked.
The LP presidential called for education system that would make Nigerians more productive and equip them with necessary skills to compete in modern era and attract expatriates as it was the case in the past.
He told the audience that Nigeria could be fixed, adding that other countries such as India, Brazil, South America has gone through difficult challenges but were able to remedy the situation.
“How did these countries get it back? It is by looking for visionary and committed leaders that sacrificed to fix their countries back.
“All we need to fix Nigeria is competent leaders who can run the affairs of the country with prudence and direction,’’ Obi said.
Speaking in Atlanta, Georgia, Obi promised that if elected, his administration would invest in security, diplomacy and economic engagement.
“We will invest in security, in diplomacy, and in economic engagement with our partners like the United States and other nations.
“This is what will take us toward a more prosperous Nigeria that will remain a highly valued contributor to the global economy”, he said.
According to him, the primary responsibility of the citizens in governance is twofold: to elect their leaders and secondly, to hold such leaders accountable; this role is applicable to the Nigeria Diaspora.
As the 2023 presidential election draws near, it is the sincere wish of the electorate that they will rise to the responsibility of electing good leaders.
They wish to have leaders who will deliver on their campaign promises by getting Nigeria out of its economic and security challenges, among others.
Above all, they hope to see leaders who are accountable, competent, honest and good managers of human and financial resources to take the country to a greater height. (NAN)