The Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Mr Peter Obi, has urged Nigerians to shun ethnic, tribal and religious sentiments, and focus on competence and credibility, when electing leaders into public offices, saying that the country has continued to suffer under the burden of poor leadership.
Speaking to journalists at Awka on Wednesday, Obi said it would be deceitful to tell Nigerians that the country was getting better. He said the underlying severe economic conditions in the country aggravated the negative economic impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the nation, leaving the country in a severe economic recession.
Obi lamented that the year 2020 has been very challenging for Nigeria, with the nation taking the centre stage and being on the global news for the wrong reasons.
He said: “A recent World Bank report shows that, unless some urgent measures are taken, Nigeria’s economy will shrink further, pushing over 11 million people into poverty. If the 11 million people join the already existing 98 million Nigerians living in poverty, then well over 50% of the country would have been in poverty, a very catastrophic situation for the nation. What is more worrisome is that the majority of these people living in poverty are youths in their productive ages.
“The massive army of out-of-school children, the great number of unemployed graduates, the high prevalence of drug abuse among the youth, the worrisome level of insecurity and corruption in the country, the unbearable level of daily stress among Nigerians and other unpleasant reports emanating from the nation calls for serious worry among Nigerians.”
He expressed confidence that the country will be turned around for good if Nigerians decide to elect competent leaders who, not only understand the workings of the economy and how to steer the nation to economic progress, but have integrity and proven records of financial prudence. He argued that competent leaders can only be elected if Nigerians can shun tribal sentiments and religious affiliations and shop for capable hands who can move the nation forward in all levels of government.
“The only reason political leaders continue to find excuses for their failures is because they are not competent. It is incompetence that fuels over dependence on oil revenues when many productive sectors are left unexplored. Corruption flourishes unfettered because we do not have competent and innovative leaders across different levels of government. If we can recruit capable hands into our public offices, our nation will be set on a path of economic growth and integrated development,” Obi said.