Obi faults plan to purchase presidential aircraft for Tinubu, Shettima


…Says plan unacceptable, shows disconnect with people’s plight

…Flays construction of N21bn official residence for VP amid economic hardship

The Presidential candidate Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election, Mr. Peter Obi, has faulted the proposal to purchase new presidential aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

Last week, the House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence asked the Federal Government to purchase new aircraft for Tinubu and Shettima.

The committee’s recommendation followed its investigation into the status of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

The move followed reports of faulty aircraft in the presidential air fleet, forcing the President to use a chartered plane from the Netherlands to Saudi Arabia during his recent trips abroad.

Reacting to the development, Obi, in a statement published on Monday on X, said the proposal for a new aircraft “highlights the disconnect between the government and the people”.

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Obi said at a time when the “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,” Obi wrote.

The former governor of Anambra State also faulted the construction of a N21 billion official residence for Shettima amid economic hardship.

“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 wide scale 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.”.

Obi said it is time for the political class to stop “recklessness” and focus on the needs of the people.

“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,” the former Anambra governor added.

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