On Monday, People’s Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidates Atiku Abubakar and Peter Obi of the Labor Party attended the opening ceremony of the 2022 edition of the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA) Annual General Conference in Lagos State.
TheNewsGuru.com (TNG) reports that the 2022 NBA Annual General Conference, which runs through August 26, will be themed “Bold Transitions” at the Eko Atlantic City.
Speaking at the opening ceremony, the Labor Party presidential candidate for the 2023 elections said that for Nigeria to emerge from the mess it finds itself in, visionary, articulate and capable leadership is needed to begin to change things.
The Labor Party presidential candidate, who received a tumultuous reception at the opening ceremony of the NBA’s annual conference, articulated the country’s security challenges with the challenge of unemployment.
Speaking further, Obi said what is worse is the fiscal mess Nigeria finds itself in, pointing out that to get out of the mess, the 2023 elections should not be about tribe and religion but about the vote of competent leaders with a commitment to deliver.
“Out of 200 million Nigerians, 60% are expected to work. So, we are supposed to have 120 million working Nigerians but today working Nigerians are less than 50 million. So 70 million Nigerians are not working, they are not productive. When you compare that to your productivity, you will see how low it is.
“But, what is even worse, we are in a tax mess, a total tax mess because of all this. Between January this year and April, the total revenue of the Federal Government of Nigeria is N1.630 billion. Then the expenditure is 4,720 billion naira. If you minus that, you will have a deficit of 3.1 trillion naira. This shows that almost 200% is a deficit. And that is the crisis we face.
“How we got here is the accumulation of leadership failures over the years. To get out of this, you need to have visionary, articulate and skilled leadership to start turning around this. The election that we are going to have next year would not be about tribe, no religion, no connection, no rights; it must be an election on character, skill, ability and commitment to deliver, Obi said.
Speaking at a panel discussion, the former governor of Anambra State further highlighted “important” areas that Nigeria needs to address “aggressively” for a bigger economy, pointing out that investments in intangible assets such as education and electricity are essential to economic revival.
“What we need to do are the two most intangible assets: security; and law and order…provide an enabling environment to attract investors, then education and power. The economy is driven by these intangibles,” Obi said.
2023: I’m not on a trial and error mission – Atiku Abubakar
Meanwhile, in his remarks at the ceremony, Atiku, in what appears to be a reference to the Labor Party’s presidential candidate, bragged that he had been actively involved in governance and that his ambition to become President of Nigeria in 2023 was not a trial and error mission.
The former vice president, who also spoke at the roundtable and revealed he would cede federal universities to state governments if he becomes president in 2023, said: “I saw, I participated and felt good for this country, so I’m not on trial and error leadership.”
Speaking on the handover of federal universities to state governments, Atiku said, “I had an argument with a university professor from the Federal University of Lokoja. He said he read in my policy document that I intended to delegate, in other words, to return education to the states. How dare I do that?
“I said, ‘Professor, do you realize that the first set of our universities belong to the regional governments?’ He said yes’. I said who are the successors to the regional government? He said the States. I said the children you send to America, to England, who owns these universities? Mainly the private sector. So why do you think we can’t do it here? We do not have money “.
He also revealed that the only way to tackle the problem of the Nigerian economy is to ensure that there is an enabling environment for the participation of foreign and local investors, highlighting whether it is infrastructure, education or electricity.
TNG, meanwhile, reports that award-winning novelist, Chimamanda Adichie, who delivered a keynote address at the event, said Nigerians are starving for heroes and young people have no one to look up to.