Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has said the party is now a mass movement.
According to Obi, LP is no longer a political party, but a mass movement to take back the country for Nigerians.
Speaking yesterday, Obi said the party wants to take Nigeria back to the root of greatness, where all citizens can be proud to say they are Nigerians.
Mr. Peter Obi, who spoke in Lagos during the formal reception for the 2021 governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Anambra State, Valentine Ozigbo, and his group into the LP, said he is determined to turn Nigeria from consumption to production.
Citing Brazil as a country of over 200 million population, which had similar experience of depending on importation, as an example, he explained that Brazil has, today, changed the trajectory by producing their own foods.
The presidential hopeful used the opportunity to warn those who twist his statements for political reasons to desist. “For those who turn around what I say, I want them to tell us what figures their own candidates have. We want a productive country. Netherland is smaller than Nigeria but its total export, last year, was over $600 billion.
“Nigerians believe in me. We must have competent people in office by reversing the trend of having our children stay abroad. Parents are getting lonely these days. If you ask them, they say their children are in Canada. Canadians don’t keep their children in Nigeria.
“Our children have been exported to other countries because things are not working here and it’s not good. We want to reverse it, because it’s affecting all of us. So, it’s important that we do the right thing. We must sacrifice for our children to come back, and for our society to work.
“We have a country called Nigeria but we don’t have Nigerians, because we don’t have citizens who are proud to say they are Nigerians. And that’s what we want to do; to make Nigerians proud of themselves. We want to start a journey that will take Nigeria back and be on a route to greatness.”
Reflecting on the shrinking value of Nigeria’s currency, naira, Obi said one practical way to stabilise the local currency is to move Nigeria from consumption to production and export of goods.
“When you export goods, they pay you in dollars. What will give you dollar is production. Nigeria is not a producing country. So, let us go out and produce, that is our desire. That’s how we will create jobs. We’re not going to create jobs with people thinking they can live by tribes, or by religion.
“We want to stop politics of wasting people’s time and politics of sharing money. We want to play politics that will make our children live in a better society. Today, businesses have collapsed, nowhere is secured. I used to drive all over the country but today, you can’t drive and people still think it will continue to be business as usual. No!, it has to change and that change is very important,” he declared.
The National chairman of the LP, Julius Abure, explained that the party does not admit all manner of persons.
According to him, the Obi-dient movement is driven by integrity, capacity, competence and track record of performance.
He stated that the party carefully selected its candidates for elective offices based on the listed principles.
“Ozigbo met all the criteria I mentioned. That is why we welcomed him. Nigeria is in crisis. Inflation is double digit and over 80 million Nigerians are living in poverty. Before it degenerates to where people will adopt others on the street to eat them, we must do something to rescue the nation,” he said.
Abure assured Ozigbo and his group of equal opportunity and treatment, adding that they would be accorded all membership rights and privileges.
Ozigbo, who expressed delight to join the party, declared that he is “proudly Obi-dient.”
He explained that he has faith in the presidential candidate of the party, adding that there is no way he can vote a different person when Obi is on the ballot. “Obi will go down in history as the man that ushered Nigeria into a new dawn. I am very proud of LP and proud to be a member of the party,” he added.
The party’s governorship candidate for Lagos, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, expressed happiness with the entrance of Ozigbo into the party and stated that the mantra of their presidential candidate, which is moving Nigeria from consumption to production, resonates with the name of the party, Labour.