Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi has been accused of lacking originality by promising to do what the President Muhammadu Buhari administration has already put in place.
Making this accusation, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) said in a statement signed by its Chairman Niyi Akinsiju that Obi’s recent interview on the US news network, CNN, showed that he is not in tune with what is happening in a country he is aspiring to lead.
“Like many Nigerians, we listened to the twice-postponed pre-recorded CNN interview, and we were stunned that a man that had been pontificating about Nigeria’s problems lacks originality when it comes to proferring solution.
“We first noticed this from Obi’s response to a question on how he would restart the economy which seemed like he was reading from President Buhari’s workbook.
“The Labour Party candidate spoke about ensuring that Nigerians return to agriculture, pulling millions out of poverty and cutting the cost of governance, which incidentally are part of what the Buhari administration, which he delights in maligning, is doing right now.
“We make bold to say that the
massive investment by the present administration in the agriculture sector through various initiatives is a major reason recent setbacks in the oil sector have not had much effect on Nigeria’s GDP.
“Today, we are Africa’s largest rice producer and also regularly making waves in wheat and maize production, amongst others, on the global stage as a result of some creative funding through the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
“So we would have expected Obi to provide some insights, no matter how brief, into what he would have done differently rather than give his interviewer the impression that he was coming to fill a void in agriculture.
“As for poverty alleviation, Peter Obi was a member of the former ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), that literally pushed 112m people into the poverty cliff in 2012, which was also a period the country made so much from oil revenue but did little in terms of critical infrastructure, he is promising and did nothing to put a concrete social welfare scheme on the ground.
“It was not until 2016, on Buhari’s watch, that Nigeria had its first ever efficient social safety net, the National Social Investment Programme (NSIP) which has four initiatives targeted at different categories of people.
“The programme is now in the process of being institutionalized as part of efforts to take 100m Nigerians out of poverty by 2030, but it would be interesting to know what Obi would do differently beyond sheer sloganeering”.
BMO also argued that the Labour candidate’s comments on insecurity and refineries were also pointers to his lack of depth on governance at a high level.
“There was also an allusion to security in a mediocre manner, not different from that of a casual political analyst with a vow to change the security architecture, employ more hands and motivate the operatives, but we were not told how all these would differ from what is being done today.
“On private refineries, we wonder whether Obi did not fully grasp the role played by the Buhari administration in making Dangote Refinery a reality, including having a stake in it as well as all private refineries with over 50,000 barrels per day production capacity.
“And as for government-owned refineries, it is common knowledge that they are being overhauled and it has since been announced that the Port Harcourt refinery would be operating at a reasonable capacity in December this year, for the first time since the early 1990s.
“So the Buhari administration is working assiduously to gradually wean the country from fuel subsidy which Obi told CNN could be done in a day without considering the impact on the average Nigerian”, the statement added.
The group urged Nigerians to challenge opposition elements to be more definite in their campaign promises.