Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) and former governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi, has said the Labour Movement in Nigeria has tentacles spread across the country, waiting to be activated for political change.
The former vice-presidential aspirant on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said Nigerians who bear the brunt of the various economic mismanagement of successive governments would emerge as the structures that would decide the fate of candidates in 2023.
Obi who said this was his reply, to critics who say the Labour Party has no structures as the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) which he left for the Labour party said they must understand that Nigerian workers numbering over 100m people, would rise to stand with him and the Labour party, to sack the two major political parties and enthrone the Labour Party (LP).
He said this at the National Headquarters of the Labour Party (LP) in Abuja, when he received his certificate of return, as the presidential candidate of the Party, from the National Chairman, Barr. Julius Abure, in the presence of other stakeholders representing the Nigerian Labour Congress and the Trade Union Congress among others.
There are two major political parties in Nigeria, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) both of which are fielding Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar respectively as their standard flag bearers for the 2023 presidential election.
Obi said the failure of past and present governments have swelled the rank of Labour Party structures that would drive the process for the 2023 presidential election.
The Labour Party Presidential Candidate who addressed other aspirants and supporters at the party headquarters in Abuja said “whenever I hear of no structure, my answer to it, is simple. The 100 million Nigerians living in poverty will be the structure.
“The 35 million Nigerian youths who don’t know where the next meal will come from will be the structure; the elderly, the mothers and fathers, the old ones that are dying or being owed gratuity and pension, will be the structure.
“Members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU), the lecturers who are being owed, the students that are not in school will be the structure; it is all about the structures of a human being.
The former Anambra state governor pointed out that the Anambra State University is not on strike because the impact of N5bn he allocated as support to the school has provided some infrastructure and other needs of the school leading them to ignore the ongoing strike.
“Anambra State University today is in session. The reason is that in 2011, or so when they were on strike? They came to me and said that the university is on strike.
“I said acting VC, what is it? Is it because of A.B.C and D? How much will I give you and will be able to ensure that this school avert this strike? He said to me this is the amount and I looked at him and said I can’t pay this amount.
“Well, let me tell you what I am going to do. You are being paid four to 5 million monthly now. Let me double it forthwith to support you.”
Obi boasted that no Nigerian University could boast of getting the support of up to N5bn from their state government for infrastructure as he did in Anambra state university.
“No University in the country and you can go and check, got the highest for infrastructure by any state University till date in one year, I gave them 5 billion nairas, Obi said.
He noted that while it was impossible for any government in the world to provide 100 per cent response for all needs of the various sectors, the population would appreciate 100 per cent commitment, sacrifice and efforts to move the nation forward.
He said, “I am not saying that governments fulfil everything. Nobody gets 100 per cent globally, but we want 100% effort and sacrifice towards where we are going which is to improve and better our fatherland.
“We cannot keep our children at home for months now. And we are comfortable talking about 2023,” he lamented.
The Labour Party presidential candidate said such a painful reality should worry the political class while he noted that it was a crime to convert public funds for private benefits while those who served out their lives for public service are languishing in penury.
He maintained that elective position appointments to public office and government officials should manage the public fund in trust for the people.
According to him: People can say anything about how I manage resources, when I was given public money to manage as governor of Anambra state, it was money given to me by the public and in trust. I have been out of the office for the past nine years. Anambra State has not bought me pure water. I do not need it. I managed public trust and delivered on it,” he boasted.
“It is a crime to owe old people when they have less opportunity in life. At their twilights; a difficult time. We must talk about the future of Nigeria; it is about the future trend; to ensure that our youth become productive and the only job I have as president of Nigeria is, and I keep saying it, to move Nigeria from consumption to production.
Representatives of the Labour Union who attended the ceremony include Chairman of the Political Commission of the Trade Union Congress (TUC) Comrade, Olorunfemi, Secretary of the Commission at the TUC, Comrade Martins and Comrade Uche Ekwe from the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC).
In his remark, Comrade, Uche Ekwe, dismissed those who believed the Nigerian Labour Congress has no structures and wondered what the affiliate of the Labour Union represented other than structures.
According to him: Nigerian Labour Congress was going to activate all her assets across Nigeria which involved all the affiliate unions and workers to deliver a candidate that would advance the collective interest of Nigerian workers.
He noted that the choice of Peter Obi by the Nigerian Labour Congress was to facilitate a regime change that would put an end to transactional leadership and birth transformational governance and management of public resources.
Ekwe said “nobody can stop us from participating actively in politics and that is what, we have started. Politics determine the type of education your children get; politics determine the type of job you do; politics determine the type of house you live in.
“Of course. Our purpose for bringing Peter Obi is to put an end to transactional leadership and influence transformational leadership in our economy.
“One of the presidential candidates says it is my turn, the other one said they will privatize and so many of them are talking. Mr Obi is not going to privatize. He is going to give a very good example of how public enterprise should be run, that is why we sought him out and we are supporting him.
He said it is clear that other political parties are jittery because the Labour Union has got it right this time.
According to him, talking about structure, there is no political party in Nigeria that has the kind of structure of workers that the Labour Union has. While other political parties are trying to bribe our workers to vote for them, we will ask our workers to choose between the pain they are suffering and a change they can trust to send their kids to schools, and enjoy other social benefits.