In a sharp rebuke, Peter Obi, the 2023 presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), has criticized the extensive size of Nigeria’s delegation at the COP28 Climate Summit in Dubai, raising concerns about the rationale behind sending over 1,000 individuals to the international event.
Obi, who expressed his dismay on Sunday, December 3, 2023, questioned the wisdom of such a substantial delegation, labeling it a wasteful expenditure of the nation’s scarce resources. President Bola Tinubu, who departed from Abuja on November 29 for the summit, has come under scrutiny from Obi for the scale of the delegation.
In a Twitter post, Obi highlighted the irony of Nigeria’s large contingent in Dubai, funded at public expense, amidst the economic challenges faced by a significant number of Nigerians who are struggling to afford basic necessities like food.
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
— Peter Obi (@PeterObi) December 3, 2023
Obi underscored the disparity in economic conditions between Nigeria and China, stating that despite Nigeria’s budget being approximately $33 billion compared to China’s $4 trillion, the average per head budget for China was significantly higher. He pointed out that Nigeria, with a population seven times smaller than China, has more people living in ‘Multi-Dimensional’ poverty.
The former governor of Anambra State criticized the composition of the Nigerian delegation, alleging that a majority are non-relevant civil servants or relatives of high-ranking government officials. He urged a shift away from unnecessary ceremonies and showmanship in government behavior, emphasizing the need for prudent and necessary actions to redirect resources towards production.
In response to the criticism, a presidential aide, Temitope Ajayi, defended the delegation, asserting that “President Tinubu and other officials on the Federal government delegation are in Dubai for serious business, not a jamboree.” Obi, however, remains firm in his call for fiscal responsibility and a reevaluation of government spending priorities.