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Now, Nigerians have a choice

By Etim Etim
21 July 2022   |   3:47 am
Sir: After reviewing Baba-Ahmed’s profile the other day, I was satisfied that he is capable of making up for Peter Obi’s lapses.

Photo: PIUS UTOMI EKPEI/Getty Images.

Sir: After reviewing Baba-Ahmed’s profile the other day, I was satisfied that he is capable of making up for Peter Obi’s lapses. His solid academic background in economics, experience in business and a stint in the National Assembly, coupled with a reputation as the founder of one of the nation’s thriving private universities, make Baba-Ahmed the best vice-presidential choice so far. Picking a VP candidate is the first duty of a presidential nominee. The choice usually gives an early insight into the mind of the man at the top of the ticket, his decision-making ability and sense of purpose.

With this selection, Obi has given a good indication that he is in tune with the mood of the nation and the yearnings of the people, especially the youths, who are earnestly crying for genuine change. At 46, Baba-Ahmed is relatively young. He should connect well with our youthful population and attract their support the way Barack Obama did in 2008. And Obama was that age when he was elected the 44th President!

Can Obi win this election? It’s a daunting task, even with all the ecstasy and excitement following him. The peculiarity of our electoral process is a major factor. It is heartening that INEC has over the years improved the system considerably and put in place anti-rigging safeguards but vote-buying has emerged as a new way to steal election. Does Obi have the billions to deploy in this manner? I doubt. Second, Labour Party does not have any elected or appointed officials in any state of the federation.

Loosely termed ‘‘structures’’ in our political lingo, these people who include commissioners, legislators, councilors and other appointees, are the main influencers of voters in our rural communities before and during elections. Since Obi and Baba-Ahmed have contested and won elections before, I’m sure that they are acutely aware of this. To make up for lack of elected and appointed officials, the Obi Campaign would have to resort to hiring campaign workers and recruitment of volunteers in each of the over 8,000 wards and 177,000 polling units across the country. Their duty would be to take Obi’s message into the hinterland.  For now, the next order of business is for the campaign to engage the services of effective political strategists and campaign spokespersons both at the headquarters and across the country.

The 2023 elections would be influenced by a few factors, notably religion. My sense therefore is that none of the candidates may score an outright win. A runoff presidential election seems likely next year.

Etim Etim.

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