The presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, has clarified why he did not pay a courtesy visit to the Oba of Lagos, Rilwan Akiolu, during his mega rally in the state last Saturday.
Unlike other states where Obi visited traditional rulers before embarking on his campaigns, he started out in Lagos at the Alaba International Market.
Obi later headed for the Tafawa Balewa Square, where a campaign rally was held with many of his supporters and party faithful in attendance.
Obi’s decision not to visit the monarch has since elicited controversy, as some wondered why the Labour Party standard bearer didn’t do so.
Speaking on the incident while featuring on Channels Television on Monday evening, Obi said it was not an issue.
“I have the utmost respect for the Oba of Lagos, I have always done so to every other traditional ruler. They (royal fathers) are highly respected.
“This is not the only place where this had happened.
“We wanted to branch to the palace, but we were told that he was not readily available to receive us, and that we should apply and come some other day,” Obi said.
The Labour Party candidate said he intended to do that, adding “there is no issue with that.”
He also stated that his reason for going to markets as part of his campaign was due to his emphasis to return Nigeria from a consumption to a production country.
On his economic ideas and implementation strategies of his campaign, Obi said:“My reason for going to markets is simple.
“I have always said we need to be able to go back from consumption to production, you can’t talk about doing that without roots to the functional markets.
“I need to interact with traders and business people, and visit industrialists, agriculturalists hearing what is their problem and be able to promise them of better times to come.”
Speaking on his economic agenda, he remarked: “The greatest employer of labour, the greatest productive area in any economy is Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises. From China to India and Indonesia, they are all driven by the same economy.”
Giving statistics on world’s working economies, the former Anambra State governor noted that in a country like Indonesia, almost over 90 per cent of the businesses are in this sector in terms of employment, stressing that they are creating over 70 per cent of the employment.
“In China, over 60 per cent, a similar situation in Vietnam, these are countries that are doing very well today and a very productive and export-geared.
“I believe that you need to study and listen to this session because they will propel what we went to achieve. For me, the commitment to pull people out of poverty is immeasurable.
“What governments in Nigeria have not done in the past is to look at where they are coming and where they are standing.
“For example, in 2012, unemployment was about 10 to 12 per cent but today, it has risen to about 33 per cent.
“Our monetary poverty was 55 million. 33 per cent today is about 95 million, and of course, multi-dimensional poverty has increased to 133 million.
“These are things that need to be addressed by a new government,” he said.
He added that it is the physical support of the government that makes it possible for these small businesses mentioned to be able to have faith again.
“We will ensure first that we deal with the issue of security of life and property by securing the country.
“That way, we will be able to let our farmers return to farming and increase agricultural production,” he said.
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