The Labour Party, Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi, has rolled out his governance agenda to Nigerians in Diaspora, declaring that his mission is to retool governance and secure a robust United Nigeria.
Speaking on the team, ‘Nigeria Diaspora and Capacity Building’, in Michigan United States on Monday, Obi noted that “the journey to rescue Nigeria, could not have gained momentum without the proactive role of our youths. I salute them. The race is far from over. The campaigning has only just started. Yet, I am confident that given their resilience, they will stay the course.”
Obi noted that Nigeria is not bereft of the required human capital necessary for good leadership nor is she bereft of good governance ideas and plans, but “our country is bedeviled by the impunity of those few who have perfected the dubious act of State Capture. It is their conduct, plus the resulting combination of institutional weaknesses and lack of political will that manifest as poor policy and projects implementation and poor governance performance outcomes.”
The LP flag bearer said that turning Nigeria around requires sacrifice, but above all, an adaptive, transformative and purposeful leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment.
He expressed his committed “to retooling governance and bringing about a secure and united Nigeria and will pursue a production-centered growth for food security and export; effective legal and institutional reforms (rule of law, corruption and government effectiveness);the leapfrogging of Nigeria from oil dependency to the Fourth Industrial Revolution (4IR).”
According to Obi, the Initial Focus of his government if elected will be on Several Critical Sectors – The 4 CS And Intangible Assets:
Thinking through 2023 and beyond, we must think seriously about a leadership that is imbued with competence, capacity, credibility and commitment. Accordingly, we will pursue intangible assets of good governance, rule of law, security of lives and properties; we will ensure that we have these assets in place and stress asset optimization.
Security: The relevant security institutions and agencies exist. The supporting national security enabling documents and strategies also exist. We will tweak the security architecture, by offering each arm or agency lead in areas where they have comparative advantage. Total reform of the entire security architecture that will include 3 level policing- Federal, state and community.
A properly manned, equipped and technologically driven security system will entail reforming the security sector and governance, with particular emphasis on re-focusing the military on external threats and border protection and police on internal security threats and law enforcement; swift prosecution of criminals, bandits and terrorists; enhanced coordination among security agencies; and upholding the rule of law.
Power: Even though I am aware that power has been moved from exclusive list to the concurrent list, we will go beyond it; we will aggressively support the private sector to invest in the power chain through a multifaceted approach particularly the transmission infrastructure. As we all know, two components of the power sector (generation and distribution) have been privatized and liberalized leaving the most critical component (transmission) in the hands of government which is causing inefficiency and darkness. We will, therefore, vigorously pursue the liberalization of the transmission infrastructure in addition to a robust power mix- embedded power and renewable energy.
Subsidy: There are two elements of subsidy – the corruption component and the real subsidy component. For the corruption, we will deal with decisively which will reduce the subsidy cost by over 50%. We will support local refining for domestic use and priced strictly in Naira. Starting with all government vehicles, we will transition to gas powered cars.
Inflation: The first thing to tackle is food inflation. Once we tackle insecurity and farmers return to farms, our food production will go up and inflation will go down through reduced food prices. When you remove subsidy, our fiscal imbalance will reduce and subsequently increase.
Debt: We shall pursue a drastic reduction in cost of governance and corruption; Improve ease of doing business to attract FDI to jumpstart industrialization and when borrowing is unavoidable, it will be strictly for regenerative purposes and production.
Human Capital Development: We will aggressively pursue the global best practices and standards within available resource. In the medium and long term, 14% budgetary funding for education is within the realm of possibility. We will re-direct UBEC and TETFund resources to the strict and robust funding of basic and tertiary institutions, with a view to ending the perennial strikes by University Staff and workers.
Gender Parity: As governor of Anambra State my administration achieved close to a 60-40 gender balance in appointive and elective positions. The national target has hovered around 30-35%. We intend to progressively aim for between 35-40%, with aggressive gender mainstreaming action plan and rigid benchmarks.
Corruption: We will have zero tolerance for corruption; block leakages and cut the cost of governance. Our total commitment to transparency and accountability in government business is the only credible way to achieve limited to zero corruption.
On the ‘Impact of Diaspora Communities on Their Countries,’ the LP candidate also spoke extensively on the role Diasporas can play in the development of their homeland, stating that his government, if elected, will encourage adequate diaspora participation because he considers Diaspora remittances the new normal and envisage that it will soon become Nigeria’s new Official Development Assistance (ODA).
‘In 2021 Nigeria’s foreign direct investment (FDI) was a paltry $4.8 billion compared to Diaspora remittances. Diaspora remittances are our alternative FDI and ODA.
“The Nigeria Diaspora represents a broad segment of Nigeria’s human development capital. With that population, the Diaspora family has the capacity to catapult any nation to greatness. Regrettably, Nigeria is yet to harness fully the huge benefits of the Diaspora potentials,” he noted.
Obi noted that beyond the vital role Diasporas play in sending foreign remittances back home, they are increasingly involved in advancing technology and skill transfer, strengthening democracy, opening up global supply chains, trade and foreign direct investment, education and research as well as healthcare delivery.
Finally, the LP candidate urged Nigeria Diasporas never to despair or be weary in contributing their quota towards national capacity-building in Nigeria pointing out that even though the outlook seems bleak, especially with the present state of insecurity and parlous economy but with your avid prayers and contributions in both human and material terms, Nigeria will recover.
“It will take only one visionary leadership and disruptive thinker for Nigeria to be put back on the right trajectory. I know that with a robust Diaspora support we can take back Nigeria” he concluded