Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, on Monday refuted claims that he offered Rabiu Kwankwaso, the New Nigeria Peoples Party presidential candidate, N40 billion in exchange for Kwankwaso to step down for him.
Obi clarified this at a discussion with the Nigerian Guild of Editors, on Monday in Lagos.
He said: “I never knowingly or unknowingly offered anybody money to become president. In all my talks with Kwankwaso, I never offered him any money.”
He also said that nobody was funding his campaigns.
“Nobody as of today will say he’s funding Peter Obi. I’m funding myself. I don’t pay people to work for me,” he said
Obi said that Nigeria’s issue was fundamental when discussing how he would turn Nigeria from a consuming to a producing nation.
He said that the first thing he would do if elected would be to ensure that the country feeds itself. “We must get the country to work and all it requires is leadership and I can do it.”
Asked if he would borrow to execute his programmes in the face of the rising debt profile of the country, Obi said that there was nothing wrong with borrowing if the money is to be channeled into production.
He said, “Nothing is wrong with borrowing if invested properly. Every nation in the world that I have studied borrow. The problem with borrowing is what you do with the money. It’s okay to borrow for production but there’s a problem when you borrow for consumption. I will only borrow for production and I will explain to Nigerians why I’m borrowing. I must talk to the people because the job of a leader is to communicate with the the people.”
While stressing the importance of the rule of law, Obi disclosed that he would invest in intangible assets such as education to drive the economy and attract foreign investors to the country.
On electricity, he promised to declare war on the energy sector to ensure improvement of power supply in the country.
“I will declare war on power. It’s possible to have a steady power supply because power generation is not a rocket science. We will change the narrative by bringing people who know and understand the system to turn things around for good.”
On affirmative action, the LP flagbearer promised that women and youths would be well represented in his government, as he would implement the Beijing affirmative action and Bangladesh model.
“Women are more productive than men and if they decide to do something, they do it well. We will involve women and youth in my administration and channel that population into production”, he said promising to create an atmosphere where about 50 per cent of women will be included in the national productivity.
He also spoke on the cost of governance saying, “Leadership changes everything. The cost of governance in Nigeria is unacceptable. We have to stop the rascality. I will reduce rascality and confusion and make the system work.”
He said the electorate should vote the right candidate, nothing that “nepotism is a higher corruption than bribery. Next election is not about tribe or religion. Tribalism and religion are the confusion the elites deploy to deceive the people.”
“Please, don’t vote for me because I’m an Igbo or because it’s my turn. I’m a Nigerian contesting election as a Nigerian. So, scrutinize all of us and verify what we have done in the past. Nigerians should vote for a character they can trust, competence and ability to start doing the right thing.
“The job of a leader is provide solutions and not excuses. If elected, I will not give excuses but results. Therefore, I want Nigerians to hold me responsible if anything is not going well under my leadership,” he added.