By Nnamani Adanna

The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate, Peter Obi, has described the country as an Internally Displaced Persons (IDP) camp. 

He stated this in Abuja, yesterday, at the unveiling of the party’s new Presidential Campaign Council (PCC), Director General, Balogun Akin Osuntokun.  

Osuntokun, former Political Adviser to President Olusegun Obasanjo, replaced Dr. Doyin Okupe, who resigned following a judgment on money laundering case involving him.

Osuntokun  until now, was the party’s Zonal Coordinator (South).  He is a political scientist, strategist, researcher, administrator, journalist and writer with experience in media advocacy, policy research and implementation and political analysis.

A former Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria,  Osuntokun served as Political Adviser to former President Olusegun Obasanjo, and as Director of the Presidential campaign of the People’s Democratic Party in 2011.

Speaking at his unveiling,  Obi, who is former Anambra State Governor said: “I have been traveling to various states, meeting people in difficulties, visiting the IDPs. Like I would always say, if Nigerians are in the IDP camps, if they are made to leave their homes and stay in IDP camps, then Nigeria itself is an IDP camp, because those are Nigerians that should be among us.”

He said the essence of  government is to care for its citizens and that the first line of the care of citizens were the less privileged.

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“My commitment is that every Nigerian wakes up and feels proud to be a Nigerian. Nigerians want opportunities to work. Nigerian youths are energetic, they are productive and can compete with youths globally, but as long as Nigerians are suffering, every Nigerian is suffering. You can’t be a rich man in a poor environment. It’s is not de-marketing the country.”

The Labour Party flag-bearer said as long as there was insecurity in the North East and South East, there was insecurity in Nigeria.

He lamented that the  highest number of unemployed people and out of school children were in the north.

“So, Nigeria has the highest number of out of school children and unemployed. It doesn’t matter where they reside in the country and the job of the government is to provide. I would never de-market Nigeria,” he said.

 While announcing the new DG, the party’s National President, Julius Abure regretted Okupe’s resignation, but assured that Osuntokun was selected given his vast knowledge and competence to drive the party to victory.

“The resignation of the former DG, Doyin Okupe,  is regretted because we will be losing his wealth of experience. But as a result of the circumstances surrounding his resignation, we didn’t have any choice but to accept it. The Obidient movement is centred around integrity, humility and transparency, and therefore, in as much as we regret his resignation we are pleased to announce one of our comrades, also from the same geopolitical zone  because we must employ federal character as enshrined in the constitution,and having put all of these into consideration, and having consulted widely, we have come to the inevitable conclusion to replace the DG with Akin Osuntokun.We believe that he has the capacity, he has the competence to join us in this campaign and be able to drive it to success.”

Abure, however, bemoaned attacks on party members saying members have been campaigning through several challenges.

“There is no gain saying the party has been under serious attacks at various levels, our vehicles are being pulled down, we are being denied venues to do our rallies and all of that. We also have situations where some of our party members have been killed; in Kaduna we lost our women leader and two other people, we have lost two House of Assembly members in Imo state. We also lost the National vice chairman.”