– Ex-Governor flags off US speaking tour in Los Angeles
By Emma Ogebe
Addressing a packed audience at the prestigious Beverly Hilton Los Angeles flag off of his US speaking tour, Gov Peter Obi vowed to increase electricity generation in Nigeria or quit office after his first term as president.
The Labor Party’s presidential candidate who had just flown in from Toronto, Canada described countries that had doubled their power supply in a few years including Egypt which he recently went to understudy.
Obi lamented that even the president of South Africa which produces 50,000 megawatts of electricity had just declared a state of emergency in the sector for being too little but Nigeria which produces a paltry 4000 megawatts for 200 million people has not.
“I will increase power generation in 4-5 years. This is not a guarantee. I am saying – if I don’t do it, I will leave the office.”
He bemoaned the fact that no one was held to account in Nigeria, pointing out that when they entered office they reneged on what they had promised claiming they didn’t know what it entailed.
Gov Obi further posited that,
“in Nigeria, people don’t do what is expected; people do what is inspected!”
He challenged the enthusiastic Nigerian America throng that they must hold him accountable when he comes to power to deliver on what he promised.
Obi whose speech was interrupted with applause and chants of “Obi” said no one was asking for perfection but that at minimum leaders should show direction and effort.
Narrating an interaction he had with a member of a rival party on the flight to Toronto the previous day, Obi asked him if he knew the pilot. When the man said, “no,” he further asked, “but you trust him that he is taking you to Toronto as he announced?”
However the problem with governance in Nigeria, he stated was that after promising a flight to Toronto, the pilots of state will enter the cockpit and begin to make excuses that they didn’t know the airplane needed fuel and that the destination is now Lagos.
Concluding, the guest speaker declared, “Election of 2023 must not be based on religion, tribe, connection or entitlement but character, competence, capacity and commitment.”
Responding to questions as to how he proposed to increase power generation, Obi stated that he discovered that one of the companies responsible for Egypt’s power transformation is present in Nigeria so he decided to investigate why they haven’t replicated similar success. He said his findings will remain confidential for now but there was no magic involved in achieving it.
While appreciating the crowd for a massive turnout on a week day especially, Obi apologized for the late start due to his delayed flight from Canada. “At home we’re used to delays and we factor it into our planning. I was surprised when Air Canada was delayed for two hours. In Nigeria in fact we’re surprised when the flight leaves on time,” he said to gales of laughter.
The Good Governance Speech Series continues in Houston, Texas Tuesday and Wednesday before proceeding to North Carolina.