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Things Peter Obi's presidential bid teach Things Peter Obi's presidential bid teach
by Ovi Magazine Guest
2023-09-18 06:13:20
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Things Peter Obi's presidential bid teach
By Tunde Akande

Peter Obi may not have won the last presidential election but he's the revelation of that cycle. He blazed a trail in Nigeria's politics. My first contact with him was through Facebook about six years ago when I stumbled on an Igbo pastor who prophesied that he should not go to the centre because his going would have consequences which the pastor didn't define. I took that seriously. When Obi appeared before a group of PDP elders who had gathered by the Party's duplicitous scheme to be examined if he was capable among other candidates to fly its flag, six years after that prophecy, I took particular notice. But Obi stood before men who were tired and worn out, who had been gathered not for fairness but to play the script of Atiku Abubakar, a serial contender for the presidency in Nigeria. The men sat bored and uninterested as Obi reeled out statistics about development in the country you would think he was a statistician. It's a long time since the nation has witnessed such in its politics. I was enraptured but the tired old men were not interested, however, Obi reeled out figures.

I wondered what Obi was going to do to impress this old Party, which is more interested in the status quo than change which Obi seems to represent. I can't see anyway. First Obi came from a section of the nation, the Southeast which these men and the PDP had always schemed out. The reason for that will be for another day. Obi won't go far, I surmised, thinking perhaps that was the consequence that the prophet warned of. Contrary to my thinking, Obi was not stuck, Obi's dexterity with statistics had won an army of young men who began to root for him. They got him out of the PDP and into the Labour Party where the Party's presidential candidate, Professor Pat Utomi stepped down and Obi became the candidate. First hurdle crossed, Obi had a platform but he had been pushed out of a large Party by the Atiku machine and the uninterested old men in PDP. Some are saying it was Bola Tinubu's juju that caught Atiku, PDP and Obi. With Obi out of the PDP, the Party was eternally divided and a roadblock for Atiku in the Southeast which had always been the stronghold of the conservative north had been created.

You may doubt the efficacy of juju since you are modern but the Isese people (traditional worshippers) who are gaining recognition now with fervency in the Southwest will tell you that they threw a spanner into the works of PDP and Obi by their juju. INEC glitches, the illogical and senseless disagreement in PDP, the judgement of the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal, PEPT, testify to the prowess of whatever juju was used; Obi lost, Atiku lost, Tinubu won. I bet you there will be no change at the Supreme Court. Tinubu will never tell you who did the juju for him, if ever, but these juju men and women are boasting. Lesson; in Nigeria's politics, if you are an intending politician get set for juju and mass your prayer warriors too. That is another Obi lesson to Nigeria.

Obi's crowd gathered by his statistics became his albatross; another lesson. They contributed money, they occupied the social media space, and they numbered among the professionals at home and abroad but their intention was different and they tried as much to hide it. The majority of them are Ndigbo and they are very hungry for Igbo control of power at the centre. The money that was used to fund IPOB was diverted to Obi's campaign including the "All eyes are on the judiciary campaign," a design made to intimidate the judges which eventually backfired. If you tell them this, they will immediately take you to the cleaners but it is true. Before Obi knew it, they were dictating things and were advancing on their own. Labour Party had no hold on them. Obi's another lesson: you need a party with a structure and the party must be at the steering wheel. Without structure, the election was lost before it took place. Did you not hear the judges of PEPT say Obi should have had agents at all polling booths who should have gathered evidence for him? Obi said poor and deprived Nigerians are his structure and he has them all over the nation, Hausa,Yoruba, Igbo, Kanuri and that is his reason for saying he won the election. The Tribunal denied his figures because they were not proven by evidence. If truly Obi had new, fresh and young Nigerians rooting for him all over the nation, he wouldn't have problems with getting agents in all polling booths. Since they want him so badly, they will represent him even if they are not paid one kobo. But Obi was taken on a wild goose chase as a judge said. He had nobody, his list of polling agents got to INEC late, his hope had no foundation, and he lost, giving a most crucial lesson.

Nigeria needs a president who is not Yoruba, not Igbo, not Hausa, not Fulani, not Kanuri, not Berom, not Ijaw, not Efik but simply a Nigerian in a party that is well-organised in all parts of the nation. Nigerians will recognize him or her when they see him or her. That's the great teaching from Obi.


Tunde Akande is both a journalist and pastor. He earned a Masters degree in Mass Communication from the University of Lagos.

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