The presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, has vowed to build a better Nigeria by “dismantling the political structure” which he said has led millions of Nigerians into poverty.
Mr Obi stated this in Uyo, Akwa Ibom State on Monday while speaking with journalists ahead of his campaign in the state on Tuesday.
Many Nigerians, including the presidential candidate of the People Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and the Governor of Anambra State, Charles Soludo, had said Mr Obi cannot win the 2023 election because the LP lacks the needed political structure across Nigeria.
Mr Obi was the running mate to Atiku in the 2019 presidential election on the platform of the PDP.
He was also one of the PDP presidential aspirants for the 2023 elections but later defected to the LP where he picked the party ticket.
According to Sahara Reporters, Atiku said in July that LP has no structure but only exists on social media.
Mr Atiku, giving an insight into what he meant by political structure, said Mr Obi cannot win the presidential race because the LP has no governor, federal and state lawmakers.
Atiku’s view has been reinforced by the political adviser to the Bayelsa State governor, Collins Cocodia and Mr Soludo, governor of Anambra, Mr Obi’s home state, who said Mr Obi winning the presidential elections was next to zero.
“The structure they have today is what we want to dismantle. It is a structure of criminality,” Mr Obi said in Uyo, in response to a reporter’s question about the “lack of structure” comment from his political opponents.
“It is the structure that produced 133 million people living in poverty, 20 million out-of-school children, and made Nigeria surpass India in infant mortality.
“It is the structure that destroys us and we want to destroy that structure. And you are the next structure. We want to build a better place for our children,” Mr Obi said.
According to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organisation (UNESCO), Nigeria has about 20 million out-of-school children.
The figure placed the country second in the world after India with such records.
Mr Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, attributed the high record of out-of-school children to the existing political structure which he said would be replaced with a new one.
Key issues not addressed – journalist
Reacting to Mr Obi’s response to questions during the interaction, a journalist in the state, Ndifreke Enefiok, said the LP presidential candidate did not address key issues like poverty, energy, women’s participation in politics and governance and people with disability.
Ms Enefiok said Mr Obi was only saying he was going to pull people out of poverty without telling the people how he was going to achieve it.
“I would want the next president to prioritise job creation because when people are employed there would be no room for criminality,” she said.
She also said Mr Obi did not talk about issues affecting women and people with disabilities, particularly on government plans to ensure they participate in the governance process.
“Even the women, people are clamouring for 35 per cent for the women. I think it is not enough. What is he going to do differently to ensure women are also involved in politics so that women don’t get beggar positions in politics?” she asked.
She, however, said Mr Obi was the best among the four major presidential candidates that can address the country’s problems.