By EMMANUEL OLONIRUHA
ABUJA- Presidential Candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi pledged in Abuja on Tuesday to secure and unite Nigeria if elected as president in 2023.
Obi made the pledge at an interactive session with the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN).
He said unity and security were needed to address problems bedevilling the nation, including moving of Nigeria from consumption to production.
He noted that challenges of Nigeria like unemployment, drug abuse and others could be addressed by prioritising the production sector.
“We must secure and unite the country. When you secure the country, you are able to bring famers to return to the farm. That alone will start addressing food inflation.
“By moving the country from consumption to production you are moving people away from poverty. The more you pull people out of poverty, the more you address criminality.
“Nigeria now has 13.8 per cent drug prevalence against the global average of 5 per cent. To deal with that crisis is production. We need to feed ourselves,’’ he said.
Obi commended CAN for its proposed document to address the challenges of the country.
He noted that Nigeria was not short of ideas to bring solution to anything, but what was lacking was institutional framework and political will to implement the ideas.
He said Nigeria could achieve whatever it wanted with true implementation of its great ideas.
He urged Nigerians to look at the antecedents of the 18 presidential candidates on the ballot before casting their votes in 2023.
He charged that voting should not be done by religion or by tribe, but by the capacity of the candidates to address prevailing challenges.
“Next year’s election should not be based on tribe. If it is by tribe the north would have been safer and be more developed.
“Yes we must all respect the issue of religion, but even at that, we should not follow people blindly because of religion.
“We cannot use the process of yesterday or those who did not solve it yesterday for tomorrow.’’ he said.
Obi said also that if elected, he would be in-charge of the country with the required energy and mental requirements.
He also promised to address increasing debt profile of the country as well as engage youths in addressing the problems of Nigeria.
The job of Nigeria president requires physical and mental energy. I will make sure that Nigeria works. In our country people don’t do what is expected, they do what is inspected. I will be there.
“I want to hire energetic men and women to start solving these problems.
“I want to pull young people with so much energy and talents. I want to invest in them because they can change the world. That is what I want. I believe I can solve these problems,’’ he stressed.
Obi also pledged to fight corruption and make the education sector to work.
“I am not going give excuses. The work of a leader is not to give excuses. I am not going to complain. It is not the job of a leader.
“I am not going to complain of the past. You are hiring for the future and I am going to be for the future,’’ he said.
Earlier, President of CAN, Archbishop Daniel Okoh said the interaction was to collectively review the understanding of the Nigerian crisis of development and governance and find a lasting solution.
Okoh said CAN had consulted with Nigerians of diverse religious, ethnic and social identities on the problems of Nigeria.
The solutions to the problems have been articulated in the association’s strategic document called: “Charter for Future Nigeria’’.
“The Charter begins with a diagnosis of Nigeria’s problem and locates it primarily in an incoherent Constitutional and institutional framework that defines governance and social and economic interactions.
“In this interaction, we will present the highpoints of this strategic document and listen to your response to the issues they raise,’’ he said.
“Our interest is that all candidates clearly understand the concerns of Nigerian Christians and propose policies and programmes to address those concerns.
“We believe that with this kind of respectful and sincere conversation we will find lasting solutions to these crises,’’ Okoh added. (NAN)