In a colourful quest to be Nigeria’s next president, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, is adding a scene to an election that is already a thriller.
He is not just a participant in the process, but someone hoping to become an unlikely hero.
Through novel approaches to campaigning, the former governor not only adds style and innovation to organising and mobilising, he is running in defiance of accepted political logic with the expectation that enough Nigerians would be swayed to vote a third party to federal power.
Obi is enriching democracy in Nigeria by appealing to mostly educated and young people who are otherwise numb and inactive.
It is a different matter to inquire if he will get them in sufficient quantities to make a dent.
For those who have subscribed to his movement, now popularly called the “Obidient,” the former Anambra Governor is the obvious, if not the only, choice.
Burning with passion, his followers urge everyone to fall in line by being “Obidient.”
If we ignore the fact that the idea of obedience is a paradox to politics, the truth is that Obi is winning hearts and minds and forming an active band, who will do anything to provide him the support that he needs to challenge the behemoths.
Messrs. Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Bola Tinubu of the APC, who Obi is contesting against, are so rich and connected nationally that for him to succeed, he needs a large and devoted support base.
Some people that I respect in my social media circle have already fallen in love with Obi, and they are pumping all kinds of content through the social pipeline, where the candidate thrives the most.
They suggest repeatedly that the messiah is not only here, his opponents are the devil.
Their cadence is that of the convicted.
Although I desperately wish the two major political parties would be upstaged in 2023, I happen to see Obi as part of the problem, rather than the solution
Once circumcised, the adherents see only one way to save Nigeria and only one man as its archangel.
One of the subtle call-to-action strategies of Obi’s followers is that failing to be “obidient” is tantamount to ethinic bias or lack of commitment to good governance.
Sorry to say, I neither share their kind of enthusiasm nor conclusion: Obi is not the messiah.
This has nothing to do with the politics of tribe, religion and class that has been used to great effect to under-develop Nigeria.
Although I desperately wish the two major political parties would be upstaged in 2023, I happen to see Obi as part of the problem, rather than the solution.
The suggestion that if you have a strong inclination towards good governance, are against corruption and strive for a free society, you cannot be against Obi’s candidacy amounts to blackmail.
To be put in a position where you have to be defensive about is crude and undemocratic.
And to have to be told that if you are not for Obi, then you are for Tinubu or Atiku is faulty.
The strength of Obi’s appeal should be his ideology and vision for Nigeria.
Adding any shade to these requirements discolor his campaign.
Peter Obi does not cut it for me because he is a product of the same system that his supporters think he is against.
That is why, as I will conclude later, he was already disfigured before coming out in the PDP with his ambition.
One month ago, Peter Obi was in the PDP where he was set to leverage his capital by becoming its flagbearer.
He just didn’t happen to be rich enough to buy as many delegates as his opponents.
It was obvious he would be crushed.
Had he more money than Atiku, he would have remained in the PDP and adopted every rule of the putrid party he had been a member of since 2014 in a bid to become president.
Just because he saw his weakness and transferred the same corruption that he helped to nurture in the PDP when he was Atiku’s running mate in 2019 into the Labour Party does not suddenly translate Obi into a Kantian politician.
Peter Obi’s candidacy in the Labor Party, a party that he joined just days before his ascendancy as their candidate, has not made him a saint.
There has been no major transformation.
The governor’s emergence as the presidential candidate of the Labour Party – all within a weekend – not only ridicules democratic ethics, but presented evidence that he bought people out.
If anyone thought Obi is less corrupt than Atiku and Tinubu, they may be right.
But being less corrupt is not what Nigeria needs.
What we need is being completely free of corruption.
The manner in which his opponents stepped down only happens in Nigeria when money has changed hands.
Anyone naïve enough to believe that Obi did not buy the candidacy in the Labour Party needs to come to me for an investment idea to buy the London Bridge.
And I am not siding with any candidate just because he or she is less corrupt, less influenced or less likely to do wrong.
The same reason I am not gravitating towards Bola Tinubu of the APC and Abubakar Atiku of the PDP is why I am not in love with Peter Obi of the Labour Party – they are all products of a repulsive political habitat.
I have no problem with Obi riding the discontent among the young and the educated.
His populism is alright. What is repugnant is the attempt turn him into a saint.
Nigeria does not need a one-eye blind in the land of the blind.
What we need is a thoroughly clean politician who will act upon his convictions to drive real change.
Absolute trust in Obi to rid Nigeria of its most serious virus – corruption – cannot be confirmed when there are records that sow doubt about his values and motives
Nigerians should not settle for any politician who is contextual and situational, but look for someone who acts the same way regardless of time, circumstance or challenge.
Peter Obi was ready and willing to dine with evil spirits until he saw satan.
Obi’s records do not put him on the platform on which he is trying to preach.
His supporters’ tracts about rightness and morality are disgusting.
He has yet to give a convincing response to allegations of secret and illegal offshore activities revealed in the Pandora Papers.
The Pandora Papers, a project of 600 international journalists, alleged that Obi set up shell companies overseas in violation of the Code of Conduct Bureau laws in Nigeria while operating a foreign account as a governor.
Obi could only reply he acted on legal advice on his investments while confirming he actually stashed money abroad.
That is not good enough for someone trying to mount a high moral ground.
There are other questions.
His exaggerated claims of investment sagacity on the purchase of the stock of
International Breweries Plc with state funds have been found to be just that – an exaggeration.
The investment shrank over time.
I am not really certain that there is any evidence to suggest that Peter Obi will be better than the other rotten ones as a president.
He’s a roll of the dice.
Just talking the talk is insufficient to assume he will walk the walk.
Absolute trust in Obi to rid Nigeria of its most serious virus – corruption – cannot be confirmed when there are records that sow doubt about his values and motives.
That is why, for any Nigerian who is skeptical, who wants more and who demands the best, it should be perfectly okay to be “disObidient.”
I am still searching for the real deal.