In a scathing commentary on the nation’s extravagant representation at the recent Climate Change Conference, COP28, Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi has condemned Nigeria’s excessive participation, questioning the rationale behind matching China’s contingent numbers.
In a series of posts on his X platform, Obi underscored the urgency for the government to break free from the tradition of wasteful spending.
He emphasised that Nigeria should shift its focus towards competing with China in terms of productivity and swiftly elevating a significant portion of its populace from poverty.
Obi expressed disappointment over the parity in the number of delegates sent by Nigeria and China, despite glaring disparities in productivity, budget allocations, and population between the two nations.
“In a twist of sad irony, let me congratulate the giant of Africa, Nigeria, for matching the great China with the same number of contingents at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates,” remarked Obi, highlighting the stark contrast in economic metrics.
While China boasts a staggering 2024 budget of about $4 trillion, equivalent to roughly $2,860 per capita, Nigeria’s budget stands at approximately $33 billion, equating to a mere $165 per capita.
Obi emphasised the divergence in Human Development Index (HDI) rankings, with China securing the 79th position out of 191 countries measured, in contrast to Nigeria’s lower standing at 163rd.
Drawing attention to the prevalent poverty in Nigeria, Obi pointed out that the country has more citizens living in’multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite having only a fraction of China’s population.
“The vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non-relevant civil servants or relatives, friends, and hangers-on of high government officials,” Obi lamented, highlighting the disconnect between the delegation and the critical issue of climate change.
He further criticised the fiscal irresponsibility of sending a massive delegation at public expense during a period of economic hardship for most Nigerians, who struggle to afford basic necessities.
“I pray earnestly that a day will come soon enough when we can focus on competing with China on productivity and the miracle of migrating the highest number of its citizens out of poverty over a relatively short time,” Obi wrote on his social media platform.
As Obi persistently advocates for fiscal prudence, he calls for a paradigm shift in government behaviour, urging a reduction in the cost of governance and a strategic investment in production.
In his vision for a “new Nigeria,” he emphasises the need to eschew unnecessary ceremony and showmanship, tying government spending to necessity and national priorities.
According to Obi, a more responsible and productive Nigeria is not just a possibility but an imperative.
(Edited by Oludare Mayowa; firstname.lastname@example.org; Newsroom: +234 8033 964 138)