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Nigeria's Presidential fleet jet

Plan to buy new presidential jets, extreme insensitivity to Nigerian peoples’ struggles – Peter Obi

Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has said that the plan to purchase new presidential jets for President Bola Tinubu and his Vice, Kashim Shettima, “demonstrates extreme insensitivity” to the struggles of Nigerian citizens.

The former Governor of Anambra State, said in an X (former Twitter) post that “with rising insecurity, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, this decision highlights the disconnect between the government and the people,” insisting that instead of adding to luxuries, the focus should be on alleviating the suffering of the people and finding solutions to the problems.

Full text of the tweet reads: 

At a time when our country is trending on the global media for facing its worst economic crisis, marked by high inflation, a falling currency, and widespread poverty, the government’s plan to buy new presidential jets demonstrates extreme insensitivity to citizens’ struggles.

With rising insecurity, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, this decision highlights the disconnect between the government and the people. It is unacceptable and demands a more compassionate use of resources, prioritizing citizens’ welfare.

It’s on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford basic necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need.

Instead of adding to our luxuries, we should be focused on alleviating their suffering and finding solutions to their problems. For long, our bad leadership has made our priorities, as leaders, to be at variance to the needs of society, which is why we are headed now south, as a nation. To elucidate further, despite dropping down to the fourth-largest economy in Africa, with a GDP of $252 billion and a per capita income of $1,080, with huge debt burdens and borrowing to service debts, yet, we are spending $15 million for our Vice President’s residence, while the USA, the world’s largest economy with a GDP of $25 trillion, about 100 times our GDP, and a per capita income of $80,000, about 80 times ours, still houses their Vice President in Number 1 Observatory Circle, a house built over 100 years ago, and whose value is obviously less than the $15 million we are spending on our VP’s residence. A reputable real estate company, actually, reports that the US Vice President’s Official Residence is valued at about $7.5 million today.

While we had earlier refurbished the old VP residence with $2 million, the over 100 years old US Vice President’s house has only undergone widescale renovations twice, funded by tax payers money; in 1993 and in 2021. Every new US VP is free to finance any minor refurbishing from his personal funds. It’s, therefore, time to stop this impunity, insensitivity, and shamelessness and refocus on the needs of our people. We must prioritize education, healthcare, and lifting our citizens out of poverty.

Let us work together to build a nation that truly serves its people, not just the interests of a few. Let’s rise to the challenge, and build this new Nigeria which is now more possible than ever before. -PO

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