Denying the truth doesn’t change the facts: A people who elect corrupt politicians are not victims but accomplices – George Orwell
When Peter Obi declared his interest to run for the seat of president of Nigeria under the platform of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), so many Nigerians never took him seriously not until he began visiting different states, consulting with different political stakeholders, religious leaders, and numerous forums. And when he got wind of what was going to transpire in the PDP presidential primaries, and how some leading aspirants have stocked dollars to be used in buying the consciences of the party delegates, he quietly withdrew from the race under the party and resigned his membership as to continue his presidential quest under a political party in tandem with his political principles and philosophy.
He joined the Labour Party (LP) and contested for the presidential ticket of the party which he eventually won. But some political pundits described his move to the Labour Party as a grave political miscalculation and mistake. One of the presidential aspirants of the PDP (his former party), Dele Momodu argued that the Labour Party does not have the kind of structure through which a presidential candidate can win an election in Nigeria. Even Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State, also a presidential aspirant of the PDP (before the emergence of Atiku Abubakar as the presidential flag-bearer of the party), had described Peter Obi’s move out of the party a few days to the presidential primaries as a show of lack of character and integrity. But it appears that Peter Obi understands the Nigerian political chess game more than he was rated, and has continued to show resilience and tenacity every other day.
Peter Obi understands that there was no way he was going to win the presidential ticket of the PDP base on his superior developmental ideas. He understood that joining in the dollarization contest with other presidential aspirants of the party was going to go against his principle, and the highest bidder contest that was witnessed in the last PDP presidential primaries has further justified his move to leave the party and withdraw his interest of trying to actualize his presidential aspiration through the platform – PDP.
What transpired in the PDP presidential primaries is akin to the experience of the revered professor of Law in Kenya, Patrick Lumumba when he contested for the parliamentary seat of his constituency. According to him, “I held 250 town hall meetings. I articulated solutions to our problems in my constituency. My opponent did not campaign at all. He gathered money and showed up one day for the election. He distributed money. He won. Africans are not moved by ideas. Their stomach leads them”. And this is in line with the view of Prof. Wole Soyinka, who argued, “Only in Africa (Nigeria) will thieves be regrouping to loot again and the youths whose future is being stolen will be celebrating”.
Nigeria has remained backwards because of the view posited by Peterburns Munyasya, “We are stuck where we are now because we live in a materialistic world where all attention is only given to men with deep pockets while we ignore men with deep thoughts”. Since the return of civilian rule in Nigeria in 1999, the country has developed more in retrogression than in progression. Indicators of underdevelopment have remained on the increase in the country’s political system. Political leaders and elites in the country have come together to institutionalize corruption and bad leadership, and the masses have remained on the receiving end, with abject poverty, economic deprivation, infrastructural deficit, rising inflation, the alarming rate of insecurity, dwindling consumption-driven economy, among other negative indicators in the country.
But it seems that since Peter Obi mounted the podium and began speaking to the consciences of Nigerians, especially the youths and other patriotic Nigerians, who are now tired of the recycled failed politicians in the country, the tide of things have begun to change; political awareness and crave for a new and better Nigeria have begun to gain momentum every passing day. The political awareness of the need for all Nigerians who have attained voting age to register and obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) has become so high, more than ever before, and the queue of the support base of Peter Obi has risen beyond the expectation of many political pundits, and this has in turn rubbed-off on the Labour Party that has now witnessed an exponential and astronomical increase in membership and support. This was made possible courtesy of Peter Obi’s new political tsunami that has seized the political space of the country for weeks now.
While trying to debunk the position of Dele Momodu about Peter Obi and the lack of formidable structure of the Labour Party, as being a major factor that will work against his possible emergence as the next president of the country, a Nigerian on social media pointed out that, “PDP was founded in 1998, 9months to the 1999 election, yet it won the presidential stool. APC was founded in 2013, two years after the 2015 election, yet it defeated the incumbent to win the presidential stool. Labour Party was founded in 2002, 10 years later and someone is telling you that the party cannot win the presidential election”.
To further support the position held above, another writer noted, “The current President of Zambia won his election under the unpopular party. Zambian youths decided not to vote for the top political party candidates in 2021”. The driving force of Peter Obi’s presidential project is mainly the youth who constitute more than 70% of the electorates, and if the present tempo and support base of Peter Obi is sustained until election day, there are bright chances that he will defeat other candidates to win the presidential stool come 2023 presidential election, and the doubting Thomases and political party structure theorists will be made to eat the humble pie.
I wish to herein replicate some of the views of the supporters of Peter Obi’s presidential project and why Nigerians who are still in doubt of his possible emergence as the next president of the country should be wary about it. According to Shehu Gazali Sadiq, “Many thought we would get frustrated and tired because Peter Obi left PDP. They thought this fire will quench. But the fire is burning even hotter daily. Peter Obi’s fire is not an ordinary fire. It’s a fire of patriotism fueled by holy anger against the evil system”.
Another supporter of the course took to his Twitter handle to write, “Today, a hotel in Benin City donated their facility for all Peter Obi’s meetings. We told you that this is a tsunami. We are still labouring for a new Nigeria (Igwe Jose, 2022). And yet another supporter of the course of Peter Obi wrote that “This is not the time to choose the best of two evils. You don’t have to choose between party flag bearers selected by delegates bribed with our stolen money. You can be your own delegate and choose Peter Obi based on merit”.
One amazing thing about Peter Obi’s presidential project is that he has never been said to have given anyone of his supporters any money to support him. Most of those supporting him and projecting his presidential quest have been doing this on their own in the spirit of patriotism, and some have even pledged to financially support his campaign, all in the bid to bring about a new political dawn in the country.
While speaking on the tremendous support he has received so far since joining the Labour Party and being declared as the presidential flag bearer of the party, Peter Obi noted that “I thank Nigerians, especially the youths who have joined me in the mission of taking back and reuniting Nigeria. This initiative is for the future of your children and it belongs to you. I am only a facilitator”.
“Since I resigned from the PDP because of issues that are at variance with my persona and principles, I have consulted widely with various parties and personalities to ensure we do not complicate the route to our desired destiny. For me, the process of achieving our goal is just as important as what comes next. Therefore, I have chosen a path that I consider to be in line with our aspirations and my mantra of taking the country from consumption to production; and that Labour Party which is synonymous with the people, workers, development, production, securing and uniting Nigerians as one family”.
Peter Obi’s impact factor has as a political tsunami swept through the political space of Nigeria, and many political heavyweights have since left the APC and PDP to join the Labour Party to actualize their political ambitions. But I won’t be surprised if some of these new political entrants from the two major political parties to the Labour Party become a clog in the progressive wheel of the party – LP, in their bid to fester their selfish political nests. If Nigerians, especially the youths fail to get it right this time around in the forthcoming general elections, then Nigeria will be doomed to another round of stunted growth and retrogressive backwardness of the system. Indeed, there was a country!
The opinions and views expressed in this write-up are entirely that of the Writer(s). They do not reflect the opinions and views of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or any of its employees. The designations employed in this publication and the presentation of materials herein do not imply the expression of any opinion whatsoever of the Publisher (Nze Ikay’s Blog) or its employees concerning the legal status of any country, its authority, area or territory or concerning the delimitation of its frontiers. Equally, the sketches, images, pictures and videos are obtained from the public domain.