What Peter Obi Said About IPOB, Others at “The Candidates”

November 22, 2022

Day Four of “The Candidates” town hall series for 2023 presidential candidates hosted Peter Obi of the Labour Party and his running mate Datti Baba-Ahmed on November 21, 2022. The duo faced some tough questions from the host of the series, Kadaria Ahmed, and the studio audience. Here are the highlights of the evening.

Petrol subsidy

Kadaria asked Obi his plans on how to deal with Nigeria’s budget deficit. This led to a debate on petrol subsidy payments and Obi didn’t mince words. “I believe that subsidy must go. What we have today as subsidy is organised crime.” 

Obi said petrol subsidy payments have taken a huge chunk of Nigeria’s budget and promised to provide an alternative. He pointed to modular refineries and Aliko Dangote’s refinery as options to explore to reduce the cost of refining oil.

Foreign exchange rate

Obi said to solve the exchange rate problem, Nigeria needs to look at its underlying cause. “The naira is weak because we have weak reserves driven by low exports. There aren’t enough exports bringing foreign revenue.” Obi believes that once Nigeria becomes productive, the naira would rebound.

IPOB

A couple of tricky questions about the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) surfaced. Kadaria asked Obi about his stance on self-determination and Nigeria’s unity. 

“Once you do things based on fairness and equity, you’ll see unity. We’ll form a government of national unity.”  

Obi said he would listen to all agitators and dialogue with them. “There’s nothing wrong with agitation. You can’t attack people for expressing their opinion. People agitate everywhere, even in my house. You sit down and listen to them before you say yes or no.”

Climate change

On climate change and Nigeria’s flooding crisis, Obi believes part of the problem is rooted in the management of Rivers Niger and Benue. He said that Egypt’s Nile River, which is much larger, is properly managed. 

“Over the years, contracts have been awarded to dredge the Niger and Benue. If they’d been doing that, we’d have water transport and (properly) channel the water. Nobody will collect contracts and go away under our government.”

Pressed on whether he was committing to dredging the rivers, Obi said yes.

Electricity

Obi plans to revamp the power sector, despite the cost. “I’ve done the numbers well,” he said, “we can fund the power sector.” His strategy includes varying tariffs which would exist across various bands for low income and high income neighborhoods. Obi wants richer neighborhoods to fund the poorer ones. He says he’ll get subsidised tariffs for them. “I’ll declare war on power,” he added. 

He said Nigerians will be able to generate up to a certain number of megawatts without license while cutting down on taxes and levies. “There’ll be regulation, but we won’t waste people’s time.”

Fighting corruption 

Obi said he’ll bring corruption to a minimum. “I’m not going to fight corruption by being vindictive. We’re going to make sure there are proper investigations and everything. We’ll operate by the rule of law. Where we even need to negotiate, we will. There are other countries who have done it better and I’ve learnt from them.” 

Folks, that’s Day Four of our coverage of “The Candidates” presidential town hall series. Follow us on Twitter, Instagram, and Tiktok for more coverage of the series. You can also follow Daria Media on Twitter and Facebook and Instagram.

ALSO READ: Here’s What Rabiu Kwankwaso Wants to Do as Nigeria’s President

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