He cocktail of unimaginative charges and spiel from the motley crew of entrenched The interests, united in greed, envy and parochialism, against Peter Obi’s candidacy for the presidency this year continue to mutate in a very interesting way. That’s understandable.
Obi’s star has remained remarkably bright since he embraced the Labor Party and emerged as its presidential candidate for the 2023 election. While his rise in popular recognition was initially met with scorn, his campaign’s resilience, bolstered by a unwavering popular acceptance across the country, it has become a pill that some entrenched political interests cannot swallow without political choking.
For a good number of the old foxes on the Nigerian political farm, the forceful emergence of Peter Obi as a presidential candidate was initially greeted as a puff of refreshing aroma that would evaporate before long. He was expected to make his rounds and leave the arena to those at home with the rackets of Nigerian politics. These are people who thrive in murky waters. Obi dug in.
After two eventful terms as governor, Obi can hardly be a political novice in Nigeria. However, he’s managed to remain an outsider, even when he has a good idea of what’s going on inside. The former governor of Anambra State has always created a classic image of someone always ready to commit class suicide. This is the attractive power of him. Unfortunately, it is also one of the main reasons why many in the political class are uncomfortable with the prospect of him becoming president. The main concern about a possible Obi presidency is the fear that his government will take the bottle away from those who suck Nigeria to exhaustion.
Undoubtedly, Obi, on the platform of the Labor Party, constitutes a serious challenge to the Ancien Regime on a level not seen in Nigerian politics in recent memory. With a substantially unblemished personal profile, an impeccable record as governor, and a rather uncommon restraint in primitive accumulation—characteristics none of his main competitors can display, even under influence—Obi presents a challenge on many dimensions to the class. politics. Certainly he is not a saint. However, in relation to his main co-contestants on the podium, he almost looks like one.
The challenge his opponents have to identify a viable angle from which to take him down makes his line of attack always mutable. This difficulty obviously explains the attacks against him that come in bursts and spurts. When, therefore, someone gratuitously jumped in to declare that the investments Obi made over a decade ago as governor were worthless today, it was easy to read the frustration.
The fragility of the cases brought by Obi’s opponents, since the start of his presidential bid on the Labor Party platform, has been so interesting that they often amount to submission with no case against him. First, popular acceptance of him was dismissed as an Internet crush, a youth crush that was bound to wane before long. For good measure, it was also said with glee that statistics have shown that young people hardly even register to vote, let alone go out to vote. A political castle built on the shoulders of youth was as good as one built on quicksand, so Obi’s support was expected to collapse before long.
In due course, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) began nationwide voter registration. What happened? Such young people came out in unprecedented numbers across the country. Despite INEC’s operational delays and registration schedule ultimately realizing that numerous young people failed to register as they wished, the number that did register remains remarkable. Obviously, the youngsters have a new determination.
There was also an effort to play the ethnicity game. Obi was first said to be nothing more than an Igbo candidate. When the campaigns began, it turned out that he had as much drawing power across the country as he did in the Southeast. Why Peter Obi would be an Igbo candidate but Bola Tinubu would not essentially be a Yoruba candidate or Atiku Abubakar a Fulani candidate remains one of those pathetic displays of idiot mentality in the Nigerian public space.
Then came the issue of ‘structure’. It was said that the Labor Party had no governor or legislator of any kind. Therefore, Obi’s LP was presented as having no ‘structure’ to win elections. In this context, ‘structure’ is simply a euphemism for the machinery to rig elections.
Unknown to those who were grabbing this drop of ‘structure’ and its effectiveness in elections, INEC has dealt a heavy blow to ‘structure’ through its implementation of robust technology in elections. Recent elections provide evidence. In any case, widespread famine and deprivation across the country have erected a new structure that may be even more devastating against the scheming old structure. So far, by all indications, the Peter Obi-Datti Baba Ahmed candidacy has continued to be driven by the new structure. Little by little, the problem of Obi not having a structure was discarded.
The last flimsy pitch line from the opponents of the Obi-Datti ticket is perhaps the most ridiculous. The tone is anchored in a notion that, on the one hand, recognizes a reality but equally seeks to counter that reality. As this new argument says, yes, Obi can win the presidential election, but there is no point in supporting him to win because if he wins, the National Assembly will be dominated by the opposition All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party. (PPD). A President Peter Obi, therefore, will not be able to carry out the reform policies that he promises, since he will face a hostile National Assembly.
This puerile line of argument was reported to have even reared its stunted head at recent meetings of the Group of 5 PDP governors who want to walk away. If indeed the report is correct, then the governors are confused. If they can’t choose whether to be counted as part of an old decaying order or among the promise of a new order, then they have a problem.
The argument that Obi could win but should be prevented from winning because he will have a hostile National Assembly at hand is an attempt to mask dishonesty as goodwill. The pitch is a false attempt to use a hypothetical perspective in the future as the basis for making a present decision. This is worse than necromancy. It must be discounted by its doubtful.
If Peter Obi wins the 2023 presidential election, it will be because most Nigerians see in him decency, the absence of an insatiable greed for material acquisition, and the promise of a better future for Nigeria. It won’t be because it’s part of an APC/PDP arrangement. On the contrary, it will be because his money is not part of the old looting order. Let Peter Obi and his unrestrained compatible vice, Datti Baba Ahmed, win first. Tomorrow will take care of itself. This argument as to why Obi should not be voted out once again lacks depth and sincerity.