Obi Faults Number Of “Irrelevant” Nigeria’s Delegates At COP28 As Waste Of Resources

The 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Peter Obi, says the number of Nigeria’s delegates at the ongoing COP28 in Dubai, United Arab Emirates (UAE), is a waste of scarce resources.

Obi expressed his dissatisfaction about the number of delegates representing Nigeria at the climate change conference via X on Sunday.

According to a list published by the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), out of 81,027 delegates registered to attend the summit in person, Nigeria has 1,411 participants at the conference, the third-highest number, alongside China.

The participants’ list showed that Nigeria also has the highest number of registered delegates from Africa.

While congratulating Nigeria for matching China’s number of contingents, Obi described the situation as a “twist of sad irony” owing to China’s unmatched financial advantage over Nigeria.

“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 totalled 1,411, 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,” he posted.

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Obi also pointed out that “Nigeria has more people living in ‘multi-dimensional’ poverty than China, despite China having seven times our population.”

“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,” he added.

The former Anambra State Governor said the huge number of delegates banking on public expense comes at a time when citizens 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 tradition of our government and nation. We urgently need to cut the cost of governance and invest in production.

“We need to de-emphasize 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 added.

Apart from government officials, staff of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and celebrities are among those who registered to attend the annual climate change conference.