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The Economist: Peter Obi only candidate who offers Nigerians hope of change

Author:
Wasilat Azeez
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The Economist says Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), is the best choice for Nigeria.

In a recent article titled ‘Nigeria desperately needs a new kind of leadership’, the London-based newspaper said Obi diagnoses the country’s failings more precisely than his rivals.

The newspaper, however, said Obi is not much better at explaining how he would fix the problems.

“Obi, a sprightly 61-year-old former state governor who is leading in the polls, offers an alternative,” the article read.

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“Most striking, he has urged people not to vote along ethnic or religious lines but to favour competence.

“Should they do so, it would mark a radical shift in Nigerian politics. He has also warned his supporters they should expect no money in return for their votes.

“Obi talks of supporting business, freer trade, and getting a grip on Nigeria’s mounting debts. He diagnoses the country’s failings more precisely than his rivals, though he is not much better at explaining how he would fix them. His promises to scrap the staggeringly wasteful petrol subsidy and rationalise the central bank’s many exchange rates are echoed by his opponents.

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“Obi is not entirely a new broom. He was Abubakar’s vice-presidential running-mate in 2019 before switching parties. He has faced questions over undeclared offshore assets. (He says he earned the money in question before he took office as governor.) Even if he wins, his Labour Party is very unlikely to gain a majority in the national assembly, so governing will be hard.

“But he is the only candidate to offer Nigerians much hope of change. In a country that has been badly and repeatedly failed by its leaders, he is easily the best choice.”

The Economist said Nigeria has been cursed with bad rulers but Obi, a third-party presidential candidate, offers a measure of hope.

“Africa’s most populous country is in desperate need of it (hope). The economy, the continent’s biggest, bursts with youthful potential — half the country is 18 years old or younger,” the newspaper said.

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“A flourishing Nigeria would boost the whole of Africa. Instead, it is dragging it down.

“Nigerians are poorer now than they were in 2015, when the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari, took over.

“At least 60m (and rising) survive on less than the equivalent of $2.15 per day. Buhari’s protectionist policies have made things worse.

“In addition, the country is beset by violence.”

The Economist described Bola Tinubu, presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), as “an old-school politician who, at 70 years old, is unlikely to shake things up”.

It also said Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) is no better than Tinubu, adding that the former vice-president has grandiose ideas for industrialisation and one million new police officers but no plan for how to pay for them.

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