Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in the previous general election, has criticized President Bola Tinubu for having a substantial number of delegates at the ongoing Climate Change Conference, COP28, in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Obi’s statement followed a report that Tinubu arrived in Dubai with 1,411 delegates, according to a list by the UN Climate Change, making him the leader in Africa with the highest entourage and the third largest representation among global countries attending the conference.
The action has also attracted a series of backlash against Tinubu’s administration, with many accusing the government of the inability to curb wasteful spending.
Reacting to the development via his X handle on Sunday, Obi lamented that the huge contingent was out at public expense at a time when most Nigerians could hardly afford food and basic needs as a result of economic hardship.
According to him, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 were either non-relevant civil servants or relations, friends and hangers-on of high government officials, claiming them hardly understand or have anything to do with climate change.
The former Anambra State governor questioned why Nigeria matched China in the total number of contingents when it has more people living in ‘Multi-Dimensional’ poverty than China.
He wrote, “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 1411, the same number as the Chinese contingents. 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 out at public expense 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 emphasising, we must stop waste as a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production 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. A New Nigeria is possible. We only need to do the reasonable and the necessary.”