The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has lamented that the country is currently breeding poverty, hunger and insecurity due to bad leadership.
He stated this at his presidential campaign rally which was held on Thursday at the Hockey Pitch of the Abubakar Tafawa Bewa Stadium, Bauchi State.
He recalled the efforts of Nigeria’s former Prime Minister, Sir Abubakar Tafawa Balewa, and Nnamdi Azikiwe, in uniting the country and ensuring justice, peace and fairness during their leadership.
Obi, a former Anambra State Governor, lamented the huge debt burden of the country, promising that under his leadership, things would be different.
“Whenever I’m in Bauchi, I’m reminded that once there was a united and peaceful Nigeria. Nigeria was on the path of greatness from a revered leader from Bauchi and that is Tafawa Balewa. I come from Anambra State and I live in Onitsha where a man who believed in the unity of Nigeria, Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe, was from.
“Nigeria is breeding poverty, people are poor in Nigeria, people are hungry, people are insecure. All the money that we have borrowed, if we had used it the way Tafawa Balewa used the money he borrowed, Nigeria would have been heaven today.
“On June 19, 1974, Tafawa Balewa applied to the World Bank to give him $82million to build the Kainji Dam to generate power. Today, Kainji Dam is still there, it was supposed to generate 750 megawatts. Today, the equivalent of that money is supposed to be about $1.250 billion. Today, Nigeria is owing N77 trillion. If you divide it by the value of what Tafawa Balewa borrowed then, we would have had 150 Kainji Dams and Nigeria would have been exporting power to other countries today.
“This is a city (Bauchi) where someone who wanted to build a new Nigeria comes from and we are here saying that we want to build one Nigeria. A new Nigeria is possible, a Nigeria where you have jobs, a Nigeria with economic growth, a Nigeria that is peaceful, a Nigeria that is secure, that is what we want to build,” he said.
He urged Nigerian voters not to vote based on ethnicity or religion, pointing out that people from all the zones of the country were currently living in hunger.
“They’ve told you lies, you voted for them, today, you’re hungry. Elections that are coming, don’t allow anybody to tell you to vote based on tribe or religion because people from the north and south are hungry, they didn’t give you food. People from the north don’t go to school because they didn’t provide schools,” he said.
He promised to teach almajiri and all students and pupils in Islamiyya schools who are learning the Quran, skills as a way of empowering them to be self-reliant.
Obi, who also promised to create jobs for Nigeria’s teeming unemployed youths, assured the people of Bauchi that the newly found oil in the state would be used to develop the state.
He said: “I’ll ensure that you have jobs, I’ll ensure that you are secure, that is what Datti and I will do. Vote for us because all the people coming here to campaign for you; you voted for the APC and the broom swept you into hunger. You voted for the PDP but the umbrella leaked and today, you’re hungry. But we want you to vote for man, wife and child.
“We want the oil that has been discovered in Bauchi to be used to develop Bauchi and the north, to give you jobs and to ensure that things are working, and not for people to steal the money and everybody is hungry.”
Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, said that 18 political parties filed candidates, but 15 had become weak and drew back while the remaining three had not positioned and arranged themselves in a way that they could win election, “so one is remaining and that is Peter Obi of the Labour Party.”
He stated that he and Obi had done it before and were not afraid like the other candidates to tell people to go and verify what they did before and was being said about their integrity.
“Peter Obi was governor of Anambra for eight years and didn’t borrow money in his state. When he was leaving office, he left N75 billion in the state’s account for his successor.
“When the PDP announced its vice presidential candidate, the party split. When the APC announced its vice presidential candidate, the whole country became divided. The day Peter Obi made his announcement, everyone hailed his choice as a good one. Obi is a lover of Muslims and also the north. Those who know me know that no corruption has ever been planned with me and it never will.
“The day you hear that Peter Obi is the President of Nigeria, from that day, the end of insecurity has begun and healing has commenced. From that day, the economy has returned to the path of prosperity. From that day, corruption has begun ending. I assure you that under us, there will be peace and happiness in the land; respect for one another in the land, only a few days are left,” he promised.