COP28: Obi urges FG to compete with China on production, not delegation size

Mr Peter Obi

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 election, Mr. Peter Obi, has admonished Nigeria to strive to compete with China in the area of production and not on the size of delegations to a specialized conference of experts. 

Obi emphasized the need for Nigeria to focus on enhancing its production capacity rather than the size of delegations, highlighting the importance of economic competition and productivity. 

He made these remarks in the context of the COP28 conference, where he criticized the composition of Nigeria's delegation, referring to some members as "idle hands."

Obi in a series of tweets in his X handle on Sunday, December 3, 2023, in reaction to the trending large number of Nigeria delegations to the United Nations’ COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates, decried the waste and wrong imitation of a country dutifully pulling their people out of poverty.

Reports from Dubai show that Nigeria equals China with 1, 411 contingents to the conference, the highest in the global event aside from the host, UAE.

But in a satirical response to the size of Nigeria's contingent, Obi said, "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. Nigeria's contingent to COP28 totaled 1, 411, the same number as the Chinese contingents.”

The LP standard bearer noted that While China's budget for 2024 is about $4 trillion, about $2,860 per head; Nigeria's budget is about $33 billion, about $165 per head. China has a high Human Development Index, HDI, with a ranking of 79 out of 191 countries measured, and Nigeria has a low HDI, with a ranking of 163 out of 191 countries measured. Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times our population.

"Most importantly, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either non-relevant civil servants or relations, friends, and hangers-on of high government officials. Most of them hardly understand or have anything to do with climate change.

"This huge contingent is at public expense and at a time when most Nigerians can hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship. 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. 

"As we have kept emphasizing, we must stop waste as an addition to our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.”

Obi finally stated that "we need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour. We need to tie spending to necessity and national priority,” pointing out that a New Nigeria is possible but we only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.

By focusing on production and economic growth, Obi's message emphasizes the importance of taking actionable steps to address climate change and create a more sustainable future for all.
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