By Leke Akinrowo
Ayo Dada – Contributor
“I just departed for Egypt on a 3-day visit as part of my detailed study of comparable countries to Nigeria. In Egypt, I am expected to understudy, among others, the Egyptian Power Sector…,” Mr. Obi said.
This was the tweet that got Peter Obi, the presidential candidate for the Labor Party’s critics, real and paid went to town on him to express their disappointment.
- You don’t need to go to Egypt to get all the information required
- He is not an expert to even take an informed decision. We are not talking of spare parts here, (if that sounds like ethnic bias, tribalism}, yes it is… and it has no place in our country.
- He has misplaced his priority.
- The visit as at now, is not helping his ambition. If he had not gone before now, he could as well go later. He shouldn’t be deceiving us..
With the hashtag #WeCan’tContinueLikeThis, the presidential candidate of African Action Congress (AAC), Omoyele Sowore, said Mr. Obi’s move is a sign of unseriousness and a display of misplaced priority ahead of the 2023 poll.
One Deji wrote: “Peter Obi should be going to Ekiti not Egypt. Election is happening on Saturday in Ekiti. Obi says he’s going to Egypt to understudy their system. Labor Party have a gubernatorial candidate in Ekiti. This was how Kingsley Moghalu was all over the social media but someone called Dumebi defeated him.”
Aisha Yesufu wrote: “For those of you saying why should he be in Ekiti? I ask you why not? A leader is there for others, fights for others and listens to his people. A leader puts everything on the line for others and that way others put everything on the line for the leader.”
“I’m a Peter Obi supporter, but he should be more bothered about local politics for now than visiting Egypt or anywhere. We need him to win first before he can implement all the knowledge he is gaining. If he did not win all this knowledge might be of no use,” Asiwaju of Enugu, @_Temibee, argued.
However, Obi’s supporters fired back:
“Peter Obi is just too strategic God.
“While some people went to Germany for a medical checkup and others are busy with local politics, my President is going to Egypt to study how they doubled their power generation in 10 years and how they built 10k factories in 7yrs,” Jack, @Jack_ng01, defended the former Anambra governor.
Okey Bakassi wrote on his twitter handle that, “Peter Obi’s critics are angry he went to Egypt for serious business instead of medical checkup in London,”
There are millions of swing voters out there in Nigeria who are still studying the situation, trying to make up their minds.
I currently declare myself as one of the swing voters tilting towards Obi. Yes, we need a manifesto, that’s the way to see an articulated plan and approach. Those speeches he’s been giving are good, but we need an articulate plan. That’s what a manifesto does, and that is what I am waiting for.
His backers better get cracking on a manifesto immediately.
Now, back to his Egyptian trip, apart from the timing, I don’t see anything wrong with a candidate visiting other countries to see how they’re solving the kind of problems we have, in fact, any of our candidates who isn’t doing that is not doing enough! As simple as that.
If El-Sisi truly doubled Egypt’s power generation in 4 years, we should be learning how they did it. Simple!
I’ve heard some say that this is cheap propaganda, that former Lagos state governor, Fashola demolished NIDB building in Lagos using engineers from South Africa without stepping on a pebble in South Africa. That he searched for the company online, interviewed, and invited them to his office in Lagos, they did a demo for him, and a prompt job was done.
I hope Siemens’ electrification road map project signed in 2019 with the FG will succeed, and that in a few years, other countries will be coming Nigeria to learn what we did and how we did it. That’s the way things go.
Why do MBA schools emphasize case studies so much if not for learning how other people did what we’re trying to do so we can know what to do and what to avoid.
I think in criticising, we should not throw the baby away with the water. And to those saying that the trip was for the cameras, how are they sure it’s just for the camera? And even if it was, we need to hear what he learnt from the trip before we conclude if it was a wasted effort.
I’m waiting for candidates who can trace how we went from being ahead of Singapore, Malaysia and the UAE in the 1960s, and articulate how they all overtook us and exactly what we need to change in order to get back on the train of development, we have been missing that in our national discourse.
There is nothing wrong in a physical visit to Egypt, it is good and necessary so long as his team comprises the relevant experts. Again, but for probably the timing, there’s nothing wrong with Obi embarking on the trip, and in fact, there’s value in it. That he shouldn’t go at all is the misplaced priority.
The sense in the physical visit to Egypt is the same reason there’s a science lab in every school, so that what you’ve read in the beautiful science books, you can demonstrate them physically and prove they kinetically. What is important is that Peter Obi felt the need to see things firsthand.
Many of our criticism sometimes betray mindsets, or plain old ignorance. Should he wait till he’s president before going to understand the solutions to the problem he’s trying to solve when he becomes president? I’d say this is the best time to know how others are doing what we’ve not been able to do since 1960, not after he becomes president.
It may even be that his soon-coming manifesto will include lessons learnt on the Egypt trip.
Let’s expand our horizon! To me, people’s red-herring isn’t working, Egypt doubled their power generation in 4 years, we’ve been between 4,000 and 7,000 megawatts since 1999, so if our northern neighbours can go from 15,000 to 30,000 or more in just four years, shouldn’t we examine what they’re doing right and how?
Finally, former president Olusegun Obasanjo went about spending billions in building gas power plants without considering that the plants would need gas, he also didn’t realize we wouldn’t be able to distribute more than 4,000 megawatts, even if we generate 1m megawatts. That was wasteful and not a smart thing to do to say the least. OBJ’s is a classical example of the problems we have in our power sector, perhaps, had he done his homework properly, understudy on visits how other countries were able to solve their power generation problem, Peter Obi would not have seen the need for him to embark on the Egypt visit.
If there is one advice I will give Obi if he manages to become president, it is to simply hand the sector over to the Germans, Chinese or Koreans to run it, and exclude Nigerians from the top echelon of the sector for the next 10 years!
On a side note, Obi is a man who already sounds like a president, a man who has a clear plan on how he is going to govern, responding to a northern caller 👇 👇
A Northerner on a radio program asked him what he’ll do to IPOB if he becomes president, The ex-anambra governor replied;
“I’ll Dialogue With ALL AGITATORS. It Is A Normal Thing That Is Done In A Democratic Society. But, I’ll Not Discuss With Criminals. If You K!ll, Kidnap Or Maim People, We’ll Deal With You Decisively. I’ve Done It In Anambra. I Dialogued With Those Who Needs To Be Dialogued With, And I Dealt With Those Who Needs To Be Dealt With.”
Peter Obi is prepared for Governance.
I could see wisdom in his response!
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