LOS ANGELES – Mr Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election, has vowed to quit office if he fails to increase electricity generation in his first term if elected president next year.
The Labour Party candidate was addressing a packed audience on Monday at the Beverly Hilton Los Angeles flag-off of his US speaking tour.
Governor, who flew in from Toronto, Canada described countries that had doubled their power supply in a few years including Egypt which he recently went to understudy.
He lamented that even the president of South Africa, which produces 50,000 megawatts of electricity had just declared a state of emergency in the sector for being too little but Nigeria which produces a paltry 4,000 megawatts for 200 million people has not.
“I will increase power generation in 4 to 5 years. This is not a guarantee. I am saying – if I don’t do it, I will leave the office,” he told his audience.
He bemoaned the fact that no one was held to account in Nigeria, pointing out that when elected office holders entered office they reneged on what they had promised claiming they didn’t know what it entailed.
Gov Obi further posited that, “in Nigeria, people don’t do what is expected; people do what is inspected!”
He challenged the enthusiastic Nigerian-Americans that came to listen to him that they must hold him accountable when he comes to power to deliver on what he promised.
Obi, whose speech was interrupted with applause and chants of “Obi! Obi!! Obi!!!” said no one was asking for perfection but that at minimum leaders should show direction and effort.
Narrating an interaction he had with a member of a rival party on the flight to Toronto the previous day, Obi asked him if he knew the pilot. When the man said, “no,” he further asked, “but you trust him that he is taking you to Toronto as he announced?”
However the problem with governance in Nigeria, he stated was that after promising a flight to Toronto, the pilots of state will enter the cockpit and begin to make excuses that they didn’t know the airplane needed fuel and that the destination is now Lagos.
Concluding, the guest speaker declared, “Election of 2023 must not be based on religion, tribe, connection or entitlement but character, competence, capacity and commitment.”
Responding to questions as to how he intends to increase power generation, Obi stated that he discovered that one of the companies responsible for Egypt’s power transformation is present in Nigeria so he decided to investigate why they haven’t replicated similar success. He said his findings will remain confidential for now but there was no magic wand involved in achieving it.
While appreciating the crowd for a massive turnout on a week day especially, Obi apologised for the late start due to his delayed flight from Canada. “At home we’re used to delays and we factor it into our planning. I was surprised when Air Canada was delayed for two hours. In Nigeria in fact we’re surprised when the flight leaves on time,” he said to gales of laughter.
The Good Governance Speech Series continues in Houston, Texas Tuesday and Wednesday before proceeding to North Carolina.
•Special Report by Emmanuel Ogebe; Photo credits: Nigeria US Law Group