Emmanuel Thomas l Monday, 07 November 2022
ABUJA, Nigeria – Presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, Mr. Peter Obi has said that he will wage total war on power if elected President of Nigeria.
Obi who was speaking at the first Town Hall meeting organised by Arise TV in Abuja along with others in the absence of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his vice, Kashim Shetima said a state of emergency has been declared in South Africa where installed power capacity is 50,000 megawatts of electricity, adding that he will declare war on power if he is elected in 2023.
He explained that Nigeria currently has 12,000 installed capacity of electricity but that transmission is able to take only 6,000 megawatts. He said he will overhaul current transmission and take on new ones as part of effort to tackle epileptic power supply in the country.
Peter Obi who described himself as a wealth creator, said his mission is to create wealth and that the Nigerian economy has already been diversified, adding that the contribution of oil to the economy is minimal irrespective of the fact that it remains the highest earner of foreign exchange and that agriculture contributes 80 percent to Nigerian Gross Domestic Product, GDP.
Peter Obi who appears more composed than others in the debate reeling out figures from his brain said he feels bad about the state of current flooding in Bayelsa and that as Commander-in- Chief he will move to Bayelsa to ensure that the right thing is done. He also spoke about dredging the waterways as solution to stop flooding.
On security, he said he will ensure that service chiefs to the right thing, adding that a President who has the will ensures that service chiefs do what is expected of them.
He reemphasized that he will dialogue with all agitators adding that agitation remains part of democracy, “so I will sit down with them. People are angry due to injustice and lack of opportunity”.
Obi however criticised the way the Presidency acted during the attack on the Abuja-Kadun train, stressing that there was delay and that information provided on the possibility of the attack was ignored and that the action of the President after the attack was also not swift.
He said under him as President, his response to issue of national security will be very swift.
Like Peter Obi, all other candidates, including that of the New Nigerian Peoples Party, NNPP, Mr. Rabiu Kwankwaso and Ifeanyi Okowa of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, who represented Atiku Abubakar all agreed to dialogue with agitators,
On Power, Kwankwanso said he will identify area of competitive advantage and use natural resources that will best meet the needs of the people. Kwankwanso talked about using coal in the east, solar in the north and Hydro in the other areas in other to solve the problem of power supply.
He said as governor he was able to ask people to relocate to higher grounds from areas prone to flood and that he built houses which he gave to people of Kano free of charge in many local governments. On security, he talked about recruitment of more manpower into the armed forces to make their presence felt in every nooks and crannies.
Also speaking, the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Redemption Party, PRP, Mr. Kola Abiola said he will look at the peculiarity of geopolitical zones and use the best, solar, gas, etc to make sure that there is balance in power supply.
He spoke about bringing down the cost of doing business in Nigeria.
On the problem of flood, he said the FG did nothing despite early warning it received from relevant agencies since early October.
He said the waterways need dredging. “If we dredge the waterways, we can move produce through the waterways and make the waterways as important like the Missipi Rivers in the United States”, he said. On federalism, he said nothing much can be done about it with the present constitution.
“ We need to look at the constitution, the Land Use Act etc, which talks about ownership of assets”, which he said encumbers development. He said his government will create jobs and get Nigerians who have left the country back to Nigeria.
“We are investing in Nigeria and losing them to foreign nations. Something has to be done, we need to think about disabling it”, he said. On insecurity, he talked about revival of the National Security Council, which he alleged has not sat since 2009.
Atiku’s representative, Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State also gave a good account of himself, taking time to reel out what his party will achieve. He did not criticise President Muhammadu Buhari on how he acted when the Abuja- Kaduna train was attacked, since he is not aware of the kind of information available to the president when the bandits struck.
In his closing remarks, Publisher of ThisDay Newspaper and CEO, Arise TV, Mr. Nduka Obaigbena said the Town Hall is the first in the series, just about 110 days to the general election. He said the series will continue every Sunday.