The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has promised to turn around the fortunes of the country and pledged to be held responsible if he fails.
Obi stated this on Thursday in Port Harcourt, Rivers State in the company of his Vice-Presidential Candidate, Datti Baba-Ahmed, during the commissioning of the Nkporu-Oroworokwo flyover at the instance of the state governor, Nyesom Wike.
Obi expressed his admiration for Wike, whom he described as a performer, saying “I am very honoured to come here for the second time for commissioning.
“Sincerely, nobody in this country can doubt your performance, anybody who does so doesn’t want to admit what’s good because you have worked for your people and you have worked for Nigeria.
“You have done everything anybody could achieve. Most importantly, you have remained consistent in the position you have taken.”
He lamented that Nigeria lacks enough people with the capacity and charisma to turn around its fortunes.
“What’s lacking in our country is character, competence, and capacity. In all these, you have shown it as a state governor, and I am sure it will continue in the incoming Governor.
“I joined you when you said whoever will come after you will face a daunting task of improving from where you stopped.”
He advised Nigerians not to be deceived by promises being made by presidential candidates who are only doing so to get their votes.
“One thing you said that everybody should listen to is that all of us are different presidential candidates and all of us will be saying the same thing, nobody will say anything different.
“We have promised heaven and everything. What is most important is that among these 18, who can we trust that what he is saying he will do? Who can we say whatever he promised we can go home believing he will do? That is what is lacking in Nigeria.
“Your commissioner came out and spoke about the importance of infrastructure, it is critical.
“I will come to Rivers State to campaign, and all I can tell the people is that if I have the opportunity of governing this country, the people of Rivers State, the people of Niger Delta will remain grateful to me because I will change the Niger Delta,” he pledged.
He added that, “The oil we get from Niger Delta and from Rivers State, people will see it. What you (Wike) are doing in Port Harcourt is to bring back the fame of this city, you are trying to bring back Port Harcourt to what it used to be and I thank you for that. If I have the opportunity, like I tell people we will not serve you from Abuja, we will serve you from your State.
“We will come here, stay with you, listen to you and be able to see what the state wants when we come for campaign.
“Today, we are here to commission a project. I have listened to what you said that I should advise Labour Party members to be careful about the state. I will talk to them and negotiate with them.
“If we leave the state for him, he will leave the center for us,” he said to the mammoth crowd chanting his name.
“So, we will negotiate it, we know you are in charge but we will not quarrel with you. Anybody who quarrels with you does not know what he’s doing, I won’t try it so please give us this one, take all those ones.
“I assure you of our commitment to build a better Nigeria. Our past will not be our future, those people are our past but Datti-Ahmed and I represent the future of Nigeria and I have told Nigerians to hold me responsible. I know what it takes to turn around this country.”
According to the former Anambra State Governor, “I will not give excuse, I will change Nigeria and when I come to campaign you will hear me, but all I want Nigerians to do is take it on tape that I said I know the problem of Nigeria, Nigeria is not productive.
“Rivers State has the biggest port, the deepest part of the ocean is in Port Harcourt ocean, that alone will give Nigeria a reasonable revenue. I said before that every part of Nigeria, I will give a future.
“I have told the North, the vast land is our next oil because we will cultivate it. Nigeria must feed itself, and I have told people of the South West, you will be our financial hub while the South East will be our manufacturing hub.
“We will route the East to Rivers where we would export goods from, so that Port Harcourt remains the export city of this country. We will do it but we will explain what we are going to do.
“My fellow traders and I, we have a Governor that’s giving us a chance. The reason why Nigeria is not doing well is because it is not manufacturing and trading.
“We want to encourage traders and I assure you, wealth must come with enterprise, we don’t want people who have made wealth without enterprise.”
“The traders must trade,” he said pointing out that,” because it’s the trading that makes the nation. We will trade the goods we are going to manufacture, so we assure governor Wike that we will continue to work with him and continue the path of trading.
“Remain consistent, it is not easy when you are saying the truth, it is not easy when you seek agreement. You have all those who evolve the confusion as your enemies, you have all those who believe in not keeping agreement as your enemy.
“I have them, you are not what you told me, I know. So I assure you of my commitment and I assure you that I will continue to come but above all I am begging you, I am kneeling down and begging you take that one and give me this one.
“I assure you I will keep faith. The one I will take, I will use it for Rivers State to become greater and better. Let us build a better Nigeria.
“Next year’s election will not be based on tribe, I don’t want people to vote for me because I am an Igbo man or because I am from the South East. It is not going to be by tribe, there’s no place people from the North, East or West buy fuel cheaper,” Obi said.
He further opined that, “It will not be based on tribe, that was yesterday. We will not base it on religion either, there’s also no church that buys fuel cheaper.
“I have said it, the Queen gave the land for the mosque free and it cost several millions.
“In Dubai, the Emir of Dubai gave the Catholic church land and built their church for free. So nobody will come and tell us about religion here or you show me where Muslims and Christians are buying bread cheaper or cheaper food or have light and water.
“See Wike is building roads now, these roads will be used by everybody whether Muslim, christian, or those who don’t go to church. That’s what we want to hear not that you are a Muslim or you are anyhting else.
“It is not by ‘my turn’, but it is the turn of the Nigerians to take back their country, so let nobody say it is his turn.
“Next year’s election will be based on character, whether we can trust what you say. If you say you are going to fight corruption, let’s see what you did with the money which passed through your hand maybe as governor or as anything else, let’s see what you used that money to do.
“Wike is showing the result now, nobody will say we don’t know where Rivers State money is, it’s in this bridge, that’s what we want to hear. We want to have people who are competent.
“Wike is now showing competence, that’s what we want. We don’t want anybody to tell us this entire land they gave you, you have taken it for a hotel to your concubine or to your children. We can’t trust you again, no.
“We can see Wike is not the contractor, it’s Julius Berger. Wike is not the revenue collector for Rivers State, is he? Did you see Wike in anything? Is it any company that Wike formed that is collecting money for Rivers State?
“Not that when you go people say “Oh Peter Obi invested in this, Peter Obi did this, Peter Obi did that”, I said go and see the bank that I left the money in.
“One of the MDs of the banks where I left money, is from Rivers State, Herbert Wigwe, go and ask him, I left $50 million and over N10 billion in the bank. I was not owing any contractor, I wasn’t owing salary. So, this time we want to verify your past. You’ve got to show us your testimonials.
“The testimonial Wike is showing today is the bridge, nine bridges and he will do ten next week, that’s his testimonial.
“Don’t come and tell us, you started construction and somebody upset it and people protested on it, we want to see the completion.
“He has built a law school for the federal government. Federal government did not build it. He built a state one, he built a federal one,” Obi said.
He said he will recognize him “more from there (Aso Rock) because you are doing the work, so I assure you next year’s election will be based on capacity and ability to deliver.
“You see what Wike is saying now, he is doing this job because he has mental energy and physical energy, it is not a retirement home.
“We have to deal with it, so I assure you of my commitment to a better Nigeria. We will continue to work; the good people of Rivers take me as one of you. I belong to you,
“Datti believes in what I am doing, this man is the foremost man who invested his money in education. He doesn’t have investment like others do where we don’t know what they are doing. The two of us know what we are doing.
“They know our age, they know the schools we attended. I am not saying we are perfect, but if you know you went to school, when you have 75 you have an A. Even if you have 90 you still have an A. Which means you allowed some small mistakes but don’t take that and be saying you passed.
“That’s why we want people to follow us, everybody knows our age, they know where we were born, they know where we live, they know the schools we attended and we have classmates.
“This morning I was telling somebody about Peter Odili, he was our senior boy in secondary school. We couldn’t have played football in CKC without Odili, any day he’s not in the match we have lost. So I have people in Rivers that went to school with me whereas, some people nobody knows who went to school with them,” Obi added in apparent reference to Bola Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, who has been caught in the web of controversy following his inability to state which schools he finished from.
Obi continued that, “The Governor has said everybody should speak the truth, everybody should do the right thing and that’s where we are starting with a new Nigeria. A Nigeria where people will see the truth, a Nigeria where people would do the right thing.
“A Nigeria where we would be commissioning projects, projects, projects that’s what we came here to do today. To Commission projects, that’s the Nigeria we want where we are commissioning projects and not where we are giving excuses. May this be the future of Nigeria,” he stated.