Presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has berated the federal government for insensitivity to the poor in the way it has been managing the affairs of the country.
Mr Obi was speaking at the headquarters of his party in Abuja during a press briefing called to state the party’s official position to the verdict of Nigeria’s Supreme Court which threw out his appeal and upheld President Tinubu as the winner of the February presidential election.
Obi said the supplementary budget proposal submitted by Tinubu to the parliament should have gone to address issues such as the 26 million poor who, according to a United Nations report, could go hungry next year President Tinubu’s government preferred to allocate funds for the purchase of luxury items such as presidential yacht and SUV cars for the First Lady.
He said such a supplementary budget request “shows to the extent this government is totally uncaring. We’re in big trouble”.
He said the office of the First Lady was first and foremost unconstitutional and the funds should have been allocated for the “girl-child education” in Nigeria. The duty of the first lady, he said, was merely “to look after the husband”.
Obi also wondered why N56 billion would be considered for the purchase of new vehicles for parliamentarians when primary health care appropriation for the entire country was less than that amount. “It shows the height of insensitivity especially as some of the legislators are ex-governors who already have luxury cars”.
“When I became governor (in Anambra), judges and permanent secretaries had no official cars, but the bureaucracy ordered two bulletproof cars for me. I said no, use the money to buy 50 cars for the judges and permanent secretaries and those allocated to my office. We used the money for two vehicles to buy 50 and nobody killed us in the non-bullet proof cars.”
Mr Obi, a billionaire businessman before joining politics, is reputed for living a spartan lifestyle. He campaigned in the February polls on the promise of cutting cost of governance, fighting corruption and refocusing Nigeria’s from essentially a consumptive economy to a productive one.
He came third after Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party, but his supporters continue to insist he was robbed of victory.
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