New Presidential Jet: Special Adviser to the President, Onanuga, Accuses Peter Obi of Wanting the President Dead

Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, criticized the Federal Government’s plan to purchase new aircraft for the presidential fleet on Monday. He deemed the decision insensitive, especially as Nigerians face economic hardship due to government policies.

In response, the Presidency swiftly labeled Obi’s remarks as insensitive, questioning whether he preferred risking the President’s life with unreliable aircraft.

Speaking on Monday, the Special Adviser to President Bola Tinubu on Information and Strategy, Bayo Onanuga, said, “Does Peter Obi want the President dead? Is that his wish? Does he want him to continue moving around in a rickety plane and die like the VP of Malawi and Iran President? Let him tell us. This is a basic thing any sane government will do. You can’t toy with your President’s welfare.

“The plane he used now, I learnt, was bought during (former President) Obasanjo’s era. That was over 20 years ago and I learnt it was a very small plane. The plane developed a problem the last time he travelled to Saudi Arabia. The President had to go from there to the UK on a commercial airline. Even those managing them said the aircraft needed to be replaced.

“Why will any right-thinking person still want the President to move around in it? In any way, it is the National Assembly that officially recommended that new ones should be bought. Sometimes, Peter Obi opened his mouth to make unnecessary statements.”

The House of Representatives Committee on National Security and Intelligence had recently called on the FG to buy new aircraft for President Bola Tinubu and Vice-President Kashim Shettima.

The committee’s recommendation was contained in a report released after it investigated the status of the aircraft in the presidential air fleet.

The recommendation comes a few months after three planes from the Presidential Air Fleet were pencilled down for sale.

But Obi described the move as unacceptable and a clear show of insensitivity to the suffering of the Nigerian people.

Reacting on his X handle on Monday, the former Anambra governor said it was rather unfortunate that at a time when the country was making headlines over the economic crisis, occasioned by hyperinflation, a falling currency and widespread poverty, the FG was contemplating securing new presidential jets.

He said, “This demonstrates extreme insensitivity to citizens’ struggles. With rising insecurity, poverty, hunger, and homelessness, this decision highlights the disconnect that is apparent between the government and the people. It is unacceptable as the situation in the country today more than ever demands a more compassionate use of resources, prioritising citizens’ welfare.

“It is on record that our presidential jets have an average age of 12 years, purchased when most Nigerians could afford necessities. Now, as our country faces significant challenges, including a high debt profile, our citizens are in even greater need. Instead of adding to our luxuries, we should be focused on alleviating their suffering and finding solutions to their problems.

“While we had earlier refurbished the old VP residence with $2m, the over 100-year-old US Vice President’s house has only undergone wide-scale renovations twice, funded by taxpayers’ money; in 1993 and 2021. Every new US VP is free to finance any minor refurbishing from his funds.

“It is, therefore, time to stop this impunity, insensitivity, and shamelessness and refocus on the needs of our people. We must prioritise education, healthcare, and lifting our citizens out of poverty. Let us work together to build a nation that truly serves its people, not just the interests of a few.”

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Written by Joe

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