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One Obi-dient too mean

By Nsikak Ekanem
07 October 2022   |   3:54 am
Peter Obi is one Nigerian leader that is more popular and endearing to the people even more than he was while in public office.

Peter Obi is one Nigerian leader that is more popular and endearing to the people even more than he was while in public office.

In his governorship days, there was no fantastic facelift of Anambra’s physical environment. He was not without some shortcomings commonly seen among Nigerian governors.

For instance, he failed to conduct local government elections in the state when due, thereby falling short of the provision of the Nigerian Constitution as provided in Section 1(2).

Although Anambra could not be said to have attained El Dorado under his watch, Obi was exceptional in many ways compared to other Nigerian governors of the previous and present days. He frowned at flamboyancy, financial recklessness and peremptory plying and promptings of Africans in power.

In his private and public outings, he clothed himself with rare simplicity and humility. He incurred no debt for his successors as his administration borrowed no kobo but saved and invested huge millions of naira for the future of the state.

In the course of his public speaking, and for ease of verification, he keeps modelling his doings while serving as Anambra governor. Even as he personally blows his trumpet, he has been able to wade off the temptation of arrogance and haughty contempt. With admirable lace of authoritativeness, Obi models himself with solemnity, submissiveness and piety of the Catholic that he is.

Since the return to democracy in 1999, Obi is the first presidential candidate from a fledgling political party that is not just considered a top contestant but gives the two main political parties a run for their money. Going by the coinage name of OBI-dients, many Nigerians in search of ideal leadership have voluntarily joined the march for a better Nigeria.

The major issue raised by cynics is that the Obi-dient movement is a social media creation with no concrete structure on the ground to match its competitors and march Obi to the coveted presidential seat in Aso Rock. Though social media, which is rivalling broadcasting media in the business of media propaganda, may sometimes fall short of presenting situations of things as they really are, since the population plying the platforms are that of humans and not inanimate beings, it is mistaken to totally dismiss the goings-on in the social media as artificial with no natural effects.

Be that as it may, in a party-based political competition like ours, the strength of a political party counts a great deal. In the Nigerian locality, the needed strength predominantly entails organised spread of party faithful and followers across all nooks and crannies, a strong financial base and the presence of men and women in the mould of what Ozumba Mbadiwe called “timber and calibres, juggernaut and caterpillar”. That is where the Labour party is grossly lacking.

Again, whereas Nigeria has close to 1500 elective stations of political jobs at the state and federal levels out of which 1491 places will be slugged out for in the 2023 general election, the OBI-dient movement is all about Obi. With that narrowing of concentration to one position amidst over a thousand in a general election, it will take some sort of a miracle for the Labour party, which is unlikely to make impressive outings in other contests, to win the presidency. Granted, it springs wonders to the world by winning the presidency, it would be confronted with daunting challenges of driving the envisaged good governance in that a tree, as our proverb says, does not form a forest.

Obi is undoubtedly a good product. But the platform through which the product is being sold to the public is not strong enough, hence the doubts as to the viability of the product withstanding, let alone, beating its competitors, in a fiercely competitive marketplace dominated by hegemonic PDP and APC. Simply put, the One OBI-dient is too mean to march one to the office of Nigeria’s president, just as it would be to face the country’s intractable challenges and restore Nigeria to Nigerians.

With the realities of the moment, except for those beclouded by wishful thinking, misled by the mirage of social media propaganda, misguided by narrow-based opinion polls and hoodwinked by the hysteria of a seeming mass movement, it is easy and safe to predict that impactful as the Obi-diet would make during the electioneering, it would take something close to the feeding of over 5000 people with five loaves and two fishes for Obi to win the 2023 presidential election.

However, whichever way the pendulum will swing to in the 2023 presidential election, contrary to Omatseye’s submission in one of his recent columns in The Nation that the Labour party candidate would meet his political obituary at the election, the election could be a rebirth of Obi’s presidential ambition and reinvigoration of renaissance of a powerful third force that could dislodge the political hegemonies in no distant years.
Ekanem sent this article through