A coalition of private sector groups has declared support for Labour Party presidential flag-bearer, Peter Obi. The alliance, under the auspices of Good Governance Advocates (GOGA), South-East/South-South Professionals, United Nigeria Group and Square Peg Group, said it believes that Obi is the only aspirant keen on making private sector investment central to the national productivity agenda.
The coalition made its position at the Labour Party Agenda for the Private Sector Town Mall meeting in Lagos yesterday. The professionals, at the event, which brought together multi-sectoral groups and industry players from oil and gas, telecommunications, banking, engineering, technology, education, entertainment and others, stressed that the LP candidate stands the best chance to turn the country’s economy around through business-friendly policies, given his track record in managing successful businesses his prudent management of public resources while he was governor of Anambra State.
The occasion, graced by LP chieftains, including Professor of Political Economy, Pat Utomi and Lagos State gubernatorial candidate, Gbadebo Rhodes-Vivour, also attracted a list of top industry executives and former directors of banks, multinational institutions, top business executives and entrepreneurs, as well as a large number of supporters of the Labour Party and Obi/Datti Campaign.
They clarified that the alliance was not a partisan political movement, but driven by the need to rebuild Nigeria, while offering business leaders the opportunity to air their opinions and the chance to vote for Obi, who would formulate policies for businesses to survive and recover from the harsh economic environment.
Speaking, chairman of the occasion/Chairman of The Big-Tent Obi-Datti Independent Campaign Council (BCC), Emmanuel Ijewere, a foremost accountant and former President of Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN), said the Big Tent is a coalition of support groups queuing behind Peter Obi and Datti Campaign, stating that it is mass movement, not a political campaign.
He said nine different polls have so far confirmed Obi as the leading candidate for the presidency. Ijewere observed that the Obi/Datti campaign is driven by the desire for Nigerians to take their country back, adding that efforts are being made to secure the 176, 000 polling units across the federation.
He said the Obi/Datti campaign management council membership is over 60 per cent from the Diaspora and all of them are focused on taking Nigeria back. He called on all Nigerians, who would be voting to do so bearing in mind that they will be doing so in the interest and benefit of the Diaspora, children and others, who cannot vote.
His words: “The support for Peter Obi and Datti is not driven by what to gain, but by the desire to turn Nigeria around. It is our wish that the child of nobody will become somebody without knowing anybody. You don’t change by changing others but by changing yourself.”
Noting that the Labour Party does not believe in buying votes, however, it will ensure all the staff needed to manage the election are adequately catered for.
“No shishi doesn’t mean that the party will not support party agents and is determined to support young people,” he said, adding that the electorate needed to be educated on how to vote as there would be no picture of Obi and Datti-Ahmed on the ballot, but that of the party
Also speaking, Rhodes-Vivour, stated that the party was on course to making history, adding that Nigerians were in the mood to make real change and history.
“It’s about people choosing their leaders. This election is the only way we can get a new Nigeria. There is the hand of God in Peter Obi campaign,” he said. He encouraged the electorate not to be scared of coming out to vote, as security agencies are on top of their game to get rid of troublemakers in the state.
On his part, Utomi said he is optimistic Nigerians will succeed in electing a leader that would serve the people, stating that Obi and Datti-Ahmed are the two that will dedicate their lives to the public good.
He noted that politics should lead to economic growth, saying Obi understands businesses are an important requirement that his government will provide a good regulatory environment to thrive.
Other leaders and business executives from across the industry agreed on the need to have a change of leadership and to bring on board a business-friendly president like Obi, who would understand and address the plights of business people and corporations.