Peter Obi to FG: Focus on Alleviating Suffering, Not New Presidential Jet

Chuks Okocha in Abuja

Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate in the 2023 election, Peter Obi, has advised the federal government not to contemplate purchasing new aircraft to add to the existing presidential fleet, but to focus on poverty alleviation.

Obi described the alleged recommendation by the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence that the federal government should purchase new aircraft for the presidency as unacceptable and a clear show of insensitivity to the suffering of the people.

In a statement by his media aide, Dr.Tanko Yunusa, Obi said, “At a time when our country is on the front page of global newspapers for facing its worst economic crisis, marked by high inflation, a falling currency, and widespread poverty, the government is contemplating buying new presidential jets.

“This demonstrates extreme insensitivity to citizens’ struggles.

“With rising insecurity, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, this decision highlights the disconnect that is apparent between the government and the people.

“It is unacceptable as the situation in the country today more than ever demands a more compassionate use of resources, prioritising citizens’ welfare.

“It’s on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need.

“Instead of adding to our luxuries, we should be focused on alleviating their suffering and finding solutions to their problems.”

The statement added, “For long, our bad leadership has made our priorities, as leaders, to be at variance to the needs of society, which is why we are headed now south, as a nation.

“To elucidate further, despite dropping down to the fourth-largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $252 billion and a per capita income of $1,080, with huge debt burdens and borrowing to service debts, yet, we are spending $15 million for our Vice President’s residence, while the USA, the world’s largest economy with a GDP of $25 trillion, about 100 times our GDP, and a per capita income of $80,000, about 80 times ours, still houses their Vice President in Number 1 Observatory Circle, a house built over 100 years ago, and whose value is less than the $15 million we are spending on our VP’s residence.

“A reputable real estate company reports that the US Vice President’s Official Residence is valued about $7.5 million today.

“While we had earlier refurbished the old VP residence with $2 million, the over 100-year-old US Vice President’s house has only undergone wide-scale renovations twice, funded by taxpayers’ money; in 1993 and 2021. Every new US VP is free to finance any minor refurbishing from his funds.”

Obi further stated, “It’s, therefore, time to stop this impunity, insensitivity and shamelessness and refocus on the needs of our people.

“We must prioritise education, healthcare, and lifting our citizens out of poverty. Let us work together to build a nation that truly serves its people, not just the interests of a few.

“Let’s rise to the challenge, and build this new Nigeria, which is now more possible than ever before.”

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