By Chinelo Obogo and Adanna Nnamani, Abuja
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Obi, has promised to ensure that 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme if elected.
He spoke at Success Conference in Abakiliki, Ebonyi State over the weekend.
“Given the role of health in reinforcing education in the measure of productivity, my leadership will pay serious attention to the health system by ensuring that at least 100 million poor Nigerians have access to free medical services through an integrated health insurance scheme.”
With respect to finance, he said the lack of government-backed sizeable venture capital funds was a significant adverse factor in the finance mix for SMEs and young entrepreneurs at the grassroots level. He said if elected, he would create a professionally managed SME Equity Fund within the first year of office with the goal of promoting the development of at least one value-added industry to utilise the local raw material supply in every local government in Nigeria
“It is imperative that, as this conference draws closer to the most critical period ahead of the 2023 elections, all young people of voting age obtain their PVCs and make sure they cast their ballots for qualified, competent, and trustworthy candidates at the local/state and national levels.
“Governments at all levels have a responsibility to provide an environment that allows people to achieve their life goals, including those related to infrastructure, health, education, and security of life and property. Good leaders bring about the good life; terrible leaders bring about destruction,’’ he said.
He said the new administration taking office in 2023 would face a plethora of domestic and external challenges provoked by cumulative leadership failures over the years and that the country is currently one of the most miserable in terms of poverty rate, number of out-of-school children, infant and under-5 mortality rate, life expectancy, and a host of others.
He, however, said these problems, though difficult, were not unsolvable but that the institutional weaknesses and lack of political will to implement them were undermining development efforts.
He said the right leadership with political will and commitment to addressing these problems, a new Nigeria, where everybody including the most vulnerable and excluded group like youths, women, and children will become the key stakeholders in the decision-making process, is possible.
As part of ongoing consultation, Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti-Ahmed at the weekend, visited Nigeria’s former military president, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, at his residence in Niger State.
They had also earlier paid a visit to Ex-military Head of State, General General Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, IBB (rtd)at his home.
Sharing photos from the meeting on his Twitter handle, Obi said: “It was a pleasure and honour for me and my running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, to be hosted by Nigeria’s military president, General Abdulsalami Abubakar, GCFR, at his home in Minna today.
He wrote: “Today, my running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed and I visited President Ibrahim Badamosi Babangida, GCFR, at his home in Minna. He received us very warmly and we had insightful conversations on the state of affairs in our country.”
Meanwhile, LP called on all candidates of the All Progressive Congress (APC), to immediately withdraw from the 2023 elections.
According to the LP, APC has succeed in ruining and wrecking the economy and future of Nigeria by pushing the country into insolvency and bankruptcy.
In a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Arabambi Abayomi, the party said: “Its an undisputed fact that in the first four months of the year 2022 by the Buhari Govt ‘s revelation through the Budget and Planning Mininstry , they admitted that the cost of debt servicing by the same stealing Govt has surpassed its revenue in the 4 months under review.
“Remarkably, the clueless and confused APC Govt spent a total of N4.2 trillion between January and April 2022 from the earmarked N17.32trillion for the whole year .
“In these same four months, a sum of N285 bn was earned as oil revenue, this represents a shortfall of 60.9% of the prorated figure of N730.12bn, this is even in spite of the marked rally in crude oil prices in these four months when the Government unabashedly retarded APC Govt casually mentioned that oil production declined to let the oil revenue fall short of projection.
“It sounds very irritating, painful and annoying to keep hearing this dying and failed APC Govt repeatedly claiming that the untenable , questionable & unverifiable oil subsidy deductions was responsible with the twin criminal excuse of the inability to increase oil production was responsible for failure at meeting the projected target of revenue growth in the 4 months.
“The dishonest and lying APC probably forgot that in 2021 it spent N4.22 trillion on debt servicing which was an increase of 29.3% over over the sum of N3.27 triln spent for the same purpose in 2020 while the revenue only increased by a marginal 9.3 % to N4.39 trillion revenue and in the last 16months APC led Buhari Administration has spent a whooping sum of N6.16TRN
“The Director-General of the Debt Management Office (DMO), Mrs. Patience Oniha confirmed that Nigeria’s total public debt stock representing domestic and external debt stock profile as at March, 2022 stood at N41. 60 trillion and N42.84TRN ($103.31billion as at June 30,2022 , dividing that by 200 million Nigerians including 50million yet unborn totalling 250m population explicitly confirmed that every Nigerians as at June 30th 2022 is indebited to the tune of N170,000 naira each
“Finally and for the record,the Minister of Finance and National Planning, Zainab Ahmed, said with impunity, executive rascality and malfeasance that the APC led Federal Government will borrow over N11 trillion and sell national assets to finance the budget deficit in 2023. She also said the government’s budget deficit is expected to exceed N12.42 trillion while appearing before the House of Representatives Committee on Finance to defend the 2023-2025 Medium Term Expenditure Framework (MTEF) and Fiscal Strategy Paper (FSP).
“In view of this deliberate infractions, divisiveness wickedness and Lawlessness,Labour Party here by call for the immediate withdrawal of all APC candidates from the 2023 General Election so that Nigeria will not go into final extinction
“We must vote against the sick , the early and tired ancient men and the known and world wide published treasury thief to invest our votes in Peter “ the Obedient Obi in LP.”