The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate Peter Obi and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed were on ‘The People’s Townhall’ on Channels Television to discuss their plans for the country if elected.
The programme, which ran for two hours on Sunday, saw the duo reel out their agenda for Nigeria ahead of next month’s presidential election.
With the crime rate soaring across Nigeria, security was top of Sunday’s discussions. But the LP flagbearer says he will negotiate with agitators and adopt the carrot-and-stick approach to reverse the trend.
“We are in a democratic dispensation; you govern by discussing, you govern by consensus. So, I will sit down and discuss with every agitator without the exception of the name. We must use carrot and stick (approach),” he said, attributing the situation to a sense of injustice.
He argued that agitations are not new and that even at the family level, children, wives, and others do so but believes negotiations are key.
Another way to address the situation, according to Obi, is community policing. As far as he is concerned, “these things start from the communities”.
“There is no reason we should not have local, state and federal, and national policing,” he said, adding that the constitution will be tweaked to “suit it”.
LP presidential candidate Peter Obi at The People’s Townhall on January 8th, 2023. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
Away from security issues, Obi spoke about fuel subsidies which the present administration says would end on June 30th.
The LP flagbearer described the payment of subsidies on fuel as “organised crime”.
“They have removed it. That’s what they’ve done. But I can assure you, it will go immediately. Subsidy – I’ve said it before – is organised crime and I will not allow it to stay a day longer,” he maintained.
“What they’re telling you is not what it is. Half of what is being mentioned is not subsidy. First is that we consume the quantity that is not supposed to be consumed here. We are the same population as Pakistan. They consume below 50 percent of what we consume.
“So, the first half, I will remove it and give those people who are drinking it water – because that’s what they’re supposed to drink – so we can save the money.”
‘We Would Declare War’
obi-datti channels TV townhall
LP presidential candidate Peter Obi and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed appear on Channels Television’s The People’s Townhall on January 8th, 2023. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
The businessman, who last year travelled to understudy Egypt’s power sector, promised to declare “war” in that area.
“We have to open up as South Africa has done. They have power issues like us, even [though] they are 60 million and they are generating almost 40-something-thousand, they declared [a state of] emergency and said anybody can generate up to 100,000 megawatts without licence,” the LP chieftain added.
“If somebody who is 60 million (sic) and generating almost 50,000 megawatts declared [an] emergency, we would declare war here on power. If it will consume everybody, it will consume us, but we will get power.
“Egypt did the same thing. Egypt had about 20,000 megawatts. One of their studies showed that power is a critical issue. Today, Egypt is generating almost 50,000 megawatts. In fact, Egypt is exporting power to Europe. If these things can be done around us – South Africa and Egypt – why not Nigeria?”
His running mate equally spoke about their plans for the sports sector and vowed that Nigeria will never miss the World Cup.
“I will plead with Mr President to see that whoever is in charge of sports will see that we move mountains to bring the African cup to Nigeria. There is no way World Cup will be played without Nigeria, Nigeria has passed that, it will never happen again by the grace of God,” he vowed.
LP vice presidential candidate Datti Baba-Ahmed appears on Channels Television’s The People’s Townhall on January 8th, 2023. Photo: Sodiq Adelakun/Channels Television.
A visibly emotional Datti also lamented about the barrage of insults meted to him and his family as a fallout of his political bid.
“When I joined the ticket, I impeached certain lies against him and I saw they were heading towards that. Particularly my good friend on the APC side, on the same level,” he stated.
“When people think they have money, they have power, and the sitting authority is theirs, there’s no limit. Someone has to tap them on the shoulder. I did it and I pointed a finger. You do it again – do one, I’ll do three. You know I’m capable of doing it.
“They’ve stopped. However, I and my family have been paying a huge price for my attempts to rescue Nigeria. They sent all sorts of people after me.”