Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party in 2023 general elections has become some sort of a phenomenon in recent times, particularly in the social media space. He appears to be popular with the youths — including some that are not Igbos. They see him as a radical departure from the past.
Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party in 2023 general elections has become some sort of a phenomenon in recent times, particularly in the social media space. He appears to be popular with the youths — including some that are not Igbos. They see him as a radical departure from the past. The former governor of Anambra State has continued to make waves as many people now see him as the messiah that will take the country to the promise land.
IS PETER OBI THE NEXT MESSIAH?
Peter Obi is the Igbo answer to a way to the presidency … nothing more, nothing less. Since the end of the Nigerian Civil War in 1970, no Igbo has assumed the highest office in the land — the Head of State and Commander-in-Chief of the Armed Forces of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Earlier, in 1966, General Aguiyi Ironsi, an Igbo man became the Head of the military government that came to power in the first coup in the country’s political history. He is the only Igbo man to have had this “rare” privilege. The two Igbo men that came close to the nation’s most exalted position are Dr. Alex Ekwueme and Commodore Ebitu Ukiwe that served as Vice-President under Alhaji Shehu Shagari and General Ibrahim Babangida respectively.
Since inception of the fourth republic, the Igbos have failed to come together as a people and speak with one voice in the polity. In fact, they have failed to display a nous for politics, especially at the center. They have failed to build their bridge across the ethnic divide. They have failed to make significant in-roads to the heart of political elites and electorates from the other ethnic groups, most especially the North.
The other ethnic groups in the country still view the Igbos with suspicion, mistrust and deep-seated animosity. This is a fall-out from the Nigerian Civil War. Many years after the Civil War, the sentiments towards the Igbos have not really changed. The Igbos themselves are not helping matters. The way and manner they are going about the agitation for the actualization of the Republic of Biafra, leaves much to be desired. While some other ethnic groups are clamoring for secession as well, their modus operandi is quite different from that of the Igbos.
Incidentally, the Igbos are speaking with both sides of the mouth. They are aggrieved that they are marginalized and denied the country’s Presidency. Yet, they wave a war to secede from Nigeria. What does the Igbos really want? Is it Biafra or the Presidency of Nigeria? The Igbos need to remember that you can’t eat your cake and have it. It is high time the Igbos chart a single, common, united and purposeful agenda for themselves. Their republican and divisive attitude will not allow them to achieve anything worthwhile.
If the Igbos really want the Presidency of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, they need to work for it. Nobody will give it to them on a platter of gold. They must put their act together. They need to scout and” shortlist” suitable, credible and qualified Igbos both home and abroad. Then, they must devise the right strategies to employ to achieve an Igbo Presidency. Above all, they must play the right politics to warm their way to the hearts of the electorates and political establishment in the other regions of the country — especially the North.
The Obi hysteria is coming upon, they (the Igbos) realizing they do not hold a strong position to the presidency through the main political parties. They thus decided to rally round and build a cult following around the person of Peter Obi as a last-ditch attempt to grab central power. And while going about this, particularly vilify the person of Bola Ahmed Tinubu and stylishly seek the cooperation of other Yoruba “omo ale” to further do damage to the Yoruba hope to the presidency in favour of their own son. Hence the deifying of the man Obi and the blackmailing and guilting of others (especially the Yorubas) to follow the so called “OBEDIENT” movement. The Igbos need to think deeply and do the right things — seek meaningful alliances.
WHO INDEED IS PETER OBI? WHY IS HE BEING TOUTED BY THE IGBOS AS THE MESSIAH?
The touted and celebrated so-called achievements of Peter Obi as the governor of Anambra are mere exaggerations. Anambrans, especially those residing in the state know the actual truth. The facts are there for all to check.
One, he failed the people living with disabilities in the state. During his impeachment ordeal, about 1,500 persons living with disabilities mobilized and held a peaceful protest to criticize the impeachment move. When Peter Obi reclaimed his mandate through the court, towards the end of his tenure, he did nothing significant in terms of policy formulation and implementation to alleviate the plight of the disabled in the state.
Peter Obi is not a saint, as many people view him. When he was governor of Anambra State, he was fond of bribing the members of the State House of Assembly to get their consideration and approval of executive bills. Peter Obi spent millions bribing the lawmakers to have his way. It is not surprising that he said boastfully in 2011 that, “I have known the rules of impeachment. Nobody can impeach me again. If they try it again, I will scatter them”.
People claimed that Peter Obi chased away looters and corrupt politicians out of the state, while he himself became the master of corruption in Anambra State. He awarded contracts to his friends and cronies without following due process and open bidding. He appointed commissioners that were mere puppet who could not execute any projects without his absolute approval.
Peter Obi is widely acclaimed to be the embodiment of probity, accountability and transparency. However, this may not be true. It had been alleged in some quarters that he failed to declare to the Code of Conduct Bureau some of his assets and companies. It is believed that he hid these assets and companies in secret havens. Do you remember when Saint Peter Obi was mentioned in the Pandora Papers?
Many see Peter Obi as a model of good governance and a crusader of democratic principles. But, for seven years of his administration as governor of Anambra State, he failed to organize Local Government elections. Instead, he appointed caretaker committee to run the local councils in the state.
WHY PETER OBI IS NOT OUR MESSIAH?
The idolization of Peter Obi as Nigeria’s messiah is just a hype on the social media space, especially among the young Nigerians who are disillusioned with the two mainstream political parties in the country — One of which Peter Obi used to belong. Can you really blame them? Twenty-three years of return to democratic civil rule has failed to produce the much-expected dividends.
However, there are other alternatives to Peter Obi. Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the Director-General of the World Trade Organization (WTO), who served twice as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006 is equally, if not more qualified and capable to lead the country to the promised land.
She was at the forefront of the negotiations with the Paris Club that led to the wiping out of US$30 billion of Nigeria’s debt as well as the outright cancellation of US$18 billion during the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. Her extensive experience in multilateral organizations and policy making and implementation place her in good stead for this role. There are few Nigerians, both at home and abroad that have an impressive curriculum vitae like she has. She seems to understand Nigeria very well. Both from the outside and the inside.
Another credible, suitable and qualified Nigerian that can lead the country out of the present quagmire is Dr.Akinwunmi Adeshina, the President of the African Development Bank. Previously, he served as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development. He graduated with a Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the prestigious University of Ife (now Obafemi Awolowo University) in 1981 where he was the first student to achieve this feat at the university. He obtained his PhD in 1988 from Purdue University in Indiana where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work. His achievements and legacies as a Federal Minister in Nigeria speaks volume of his ability to deliver.
Some other notable Nigerians that have what it takes to rescue the country from its current state include Professor. Bartholomew Nnaji, Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo. There are other capable and well-qualified Nigerians, both at home and abroad that can equally make a good President. Most of the names mentioned are Igbos. This means the Igbos have enough men and women that can be put forward as a candidate for the countries’ top job. But, they must first, put their house in order.
Ironically, a hypothetical Peter Obi presidency will hit a brick wall from the first day of such an administration. Nigeria is too complicated and complex and the forces against good governance will still come to play to prevent this. After all, Buhari was presented in a more glorious light.
And let us not forget that Peter Obi is a politician and part of the establishment after all … and same as those the Igbos now label as old breed. Peter Obi cannot divorce himself from the political status quo. He is part and parcel of the present political establishment, irrespective of his current political affiliations. He was a two-term governor in Anambra state under the umbrella of the Alliance Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA). After serving as governor, he defected to the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), where he served as the running mate of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar in the 2019 Presidential Elections. He remained in PDP until recently when he left the party days before it’s presidential primaries. He was one of the leading presidential aspirant of the party before he pulled out of the race and subsequently crossed to and emerged the presidential flagbearer of the Labour Party (LP).
WHY THE YORUBAS SHOULD NOT ABANDON THEIR SON TO SUPPORT NDI IGBO!
Nigeria has fallen into the trap of ethnic politics. Buhari has cemented that. So, “To Your Tents, O Israel”! The Yorubas should ignore any supposed ills that Asiwaju present. He will protect our interest as best possible if he wins the presidency. We have not been so divided as a country in our entire political history.
More than ever before, ethnic politics has gained currency in the land. Every ethnic group in the country wants their own to be the President, even when it is obvious they are not suitable, capable, credible and qualified. Even the unwritten principle and the gentlemen agreement of power rotation among the regions seems to have been jettisoned.
In view of the foregoing, it is expedient for the Yorubas to support and vote for their own — Asiwaju Bola Tinubu — irrespective of his real and perceived flaws. They should remember the Yoruba proverbs that says: “No matter the size of the buttocks of one’s child, you cannot wear the beads on the waist of someone else’s child”. Whatever the case maybe, your own is your own. The Yorubas should not vote for a candidate from another ethnic group at the expense of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu. The voters associated with the other gladiators will never make such a mistake. If the Yorubas fail in this regard, it is equal to committing a political suicide. Marginalization in the Nigerian political space is real. Remember how Goodluck Johathan who the Yorubas practically fought to put in power marginalized the Yorubas!
So therefore, Omo Karo Ojire, it is Asiwaju Bola Tinubu all the way!
In conclusion, Peter Obi as much as he is touted by the Igbos as a gentleman and a creator of wealth is no better than the next man. There are a million and one others who will fit the bill. His success as the governor of Anambra State cannot be compared to Tinubu’s Lagos, where incidentally, the Igbos come to live and strive. The clamour for Obi is nothing more than an Igbo agenda. And they do rightly deserve to promote their son as such. Nigeria is now divided more than ever along ethnic lines.
To ignore this varied factors by those ill-informed and emotional Yorubas at a time when we are being encircled by killer herdsmen is moronic in the least. After all, the Fulanis/ Hausas will support Atiku, the Igbos will support Obi, and you a Yoruba man will rubbish your Tinubu.
A future scenario when one of the other presidential aspirants win the prize, and you find yourself on the receiving end of that aboki okada rider’s dagger; or the next door Igbo man bullishly covets your property, just remember that time you colluded with outsiders and called Tinubu unfit for power. After all, no man is holy. Cast ye then the first stone, sons and daughters of Oduduwa.