COP28: Obi, Presidency Trade Words Over 1,411 Nigerian Delegates In Dubai
Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) in this year’s elections, Mr Peter Obi, and the presidency have trade words over the 1,411 Nigerian delegation at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates.
Many Nigerians have criticised the high number of Nigerian delegates, the third highest at COP28, amidst the economic suffering of millions of citizens due to government policies, including the rising cost fuel and food.
Obi on Sunday in a post on his X handle sarcastically congratulate Nigeria for having the same number of delegations like China’s.
“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 $33bn, 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,” Obi said.
He noted that Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times Nigeria’s population.
He said, “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 emphasizing, we must stop waste as a a tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.”
The former Anambra State governor said Nigeria need to de-emphasize unnecessary ceremony and showmanship as a mode of government behaviour and to tie spending to necessity and national Priority.
However, the Senior Special Assistant (SSA) to the President on Media and Publicity, Mr Temitope Ajayi, said that Nigeria’s 1,411 delegates at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai were not all government-funded.
In a statement on Sunday, the presidential aide, said that the Nigeria delegation include civil society actors, business persons and others who have different roles to play at the conference.
Ajayi said the Nigerian delegation include business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists.
He, however, did not state the exact number of delegates being funded by the government amidst speculations that over 600 were government-funded.
“In Nigeria like so many other countries, interested parties comprising government officials from both the Federal and sub-national governments, business leaders, environmentalists, climate activists and journalists are present in Dubai. Also participating are agencies of government such as the NNPC and its subsidiaries, Ministry of Niger Delta Affairs, NIMASA, NDDC.
“Many youth organisations from Nigeria especially from the Northern and Niger-Delta regions whose lives and livelihoods are most impacted by desert encroachment and hydrocarbon activities are also represented.
“The President of Ijaw Youth Council, Jonathan Lokpobiri, leads a pan-Ijaw delegation of more than 15 people who registered as parties from Nigeria. Among delegates from Nigeria are also over 20 journalists from various media houses,” Ajayi said.(daily trust)