The lengthy list of participants that travelled with Bola Tinubu to the ongoing 2023 UN Climate Change Conference (COP28) in Dubai, United Arab Emirates—making it the third largest in Africa—has drawn criticism from Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s (LP) presidential candidate in the general elections of 2023.
Reports from Parallel Facts COP28 is scheduled to conclude on Tuesday, December 12, having begun on Thursday, November 30. Governments utilise the 13-day event to decide on measures to restrict increases in global temperatures and prepare for the effects of climate change.
John Kerry, the Chinese Envoy on Climate Change, Sultan Ahmed al-Jabar, the President of COP28, and Tinubu joined the platform on Saturday.
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In response, Obi pointed out that Nigeria’s sizable contingent was travelling at taxpayer expense during a period when the majority of Nigerians were struggling financially and could barely afford food and necessities.
In order to reduce the expense of governance, he also recommended that the federal government invest in production rather than frivolities.
“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.
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“Most importantly, the vast majority of those in the Nigerian delegation to COP28 are either nonrelevant 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.
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“We need to de-emphasise 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,” he wrote.
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