That Africa, despite its many drawbacks is very rich in culture and tradition, remains factual, even with the coming of civilisation.
Indeed, it is for these and many other reasons that books published by the likes of Chinua Achebe, Wole Soyinka, Ngugi wa Thiongo, and more attract readership across the globe, as they are uniquely different.
The depth of African culture and tradition cannot be divorced from her rich proverbs, which are an integral part of African languages.
Proverbs, in the African setting, are needed to illuminate or illustrate the message the communicator wishes to pass across to his audience in a straight and unambiguous manner. When therefore Yoruba of Western Nigeria use the proverb “when lies reign for twenty years, it is one day that truth catches up with it”, surely they are harping on the uncertain nature of deceit.
In other words, the message is that falsehood does not last and that the bubble would surely burst in the face of its purveyor in no distant future. It is against this background that we need to examine recent revelations about Mr. Peter Obi, Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate and former Governor of Anambra State.
No sooner had Obi left the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) than some spin doctors, mostly on social media began to manufacture some false narratives about him to deceive voters ahead of 2023.
This was a governor who left APGA in 2014 to join the PDP that ‘stole’ his mandate, decamping with the unusual funfair that goes with the movement of former governors, neither did APGA bigwigs go with him.
Though he brandishes his eight years as governor as his testimonial, many dismiss the so-called scorecard as far below a record required for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.
Obi mainly lays claim to the handover of mission schools, infrastructure development, free compulsory education, taking the state from a distant position to being among the leading states in WAEC and investment of $20m in a brewery project and leaving a large chunk of cash as part of his major achievements
He has also promised to take Nigeria from an import-dependent country to an exporter, remove subsidies, stop insecurity, promote agriculture, and more if elected as the next president in 2023.
But many observers have dismissed Obi’s record as Anambra helmsman, describing it as far from what they expect from whoever would like to succeed President Muhammadu Buhari in 2023.
Even his promise of making Nigeria an export-dependent is very suspicious as he cannot point to any such achievement during his tenure as governor of Anambra State.
Observers believe though the LP Presidential candidate might have done well in his estimation, his record is a far cry from what Nigeria needs at this very critical period of her history
Many queries his so-called achievements, especially when put side by side with the likes of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Atiku Abubakar.
Even his predecessor and Minister of Labour and Productivity, Senator Chris Ngige told the world on Channels Television that Obi abandoned infrastructural development in Anambra State.
He added that for four years, the LP presidential candidate failed to address the infrastructure needs of the state.
Even this writer in a couple of newspapers had pointedly declared that Obi’s scorecard was nothing to write home about.
This was based on the conviction that what Obi parades as achievements pales into insignificance when put side by side with a scorecard of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, who was Lagos state governor and laid the pathway to her massive growth and development.
Who remembers any legacy project that could be credited to Obi in his eight years compared to Tinubu who has more than enough to his credit?
His presidential campaign is led by the likes of Prof Pat Utomi, Tanko Yinusa, Doyin Okupe, Kenneth Okonkwo, and others, a quick check on this suggests that some of them are serial presidential candidates. Sadly, the inclusion of Tanko Yinusa, multiple presidential candidates, and former National Chairman of NCP who ran a once vibrant party out of existence as the mouthpiece of the LP candidate is indeed a slap on morality and decency.
Even Prof Charles Soludo has put paid to the many lies being peddled about Obi’s performance by letting the world know that it is nothing but a smokescreen of deceit.
Soludo, a former governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) said the investments credited to the LP presidential candidate were worth next to nothing.
Specifically, the Anambra state governor who dismissed Obi’s so-called investments, also said he was not aware of any investment by his predecessor.
Responding on Channels Television, Soludo said, “By the way the one (investment) that you are talking about, I don’t know anything about that. I think I read something about somebody speculating about whatever investment. With what I have seen today, the value of those investments is worth next to nothing, so let’s leave that aside”.
Curiously, the same Obi had claimed a $20m investment in a brewery project now worth $100m.
The investment was allegedly made in SABMiller Group on behalf of Anambra state by the LP presidential candidate while he was the state helmsman.
A Facebook user and Obi supporter had even credited Soludo as the source of information.
“Mr. Peter Obi’s N20m investment in Anambra worth N100m today – Charles Chukwuma Soludo” the Facebook user had claimed.
But Soludo on his verified Facebook page said “where did you read or hear me make such statements? This fake news has been roundly debunked by my media team.
“We can carry on campaigning for our preferred candidates without consciously misleading the reading public. The report is fake and never emanated from me. Thank you”
The beauty of it all is that the major task set before our presidential candidates are speaking to how they intend to address the nation’s challenges if elected, and not the spin we are seeing from the Obi camp.
All the leading candidates have had the opportunity of public office and Nigerians are determined to do a sword analysis of their scorecard.
Thus far, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and PDP’s Atiku Abubakar seem to hold the ace. thus far, going by their activities.
Both have done a very good job of selling their candidature to Nigerians, but Atiku’s albatross is his protracted crisis with some of the governors elected on the platform of his party.
This is unlike Tinubu who has visited five out of the six geo-political zones of the country and also released what is arguably the most pragmatic manifesto.
It is also to his eternal credit that he laid a solid foundation that has put Lagos among Africa’s leading economies courtesy of strategic planning.
This is at variance with the scenario in Anambra state whose governors have had nothing to do with the so-called development agenda of the Obi administration.
Little wonder why Tinubu has won every election as party leader in his base, even as Obi has not won a single election as PDP leader after vacating the office of governor.
This was replicated in the recent governorship poll in the state where Soludo of APGA cleared all local government areas in the state, including Obi’s base.
As you read this, the LP presidential candidate has refused to let go of the baggage of an ethnic champion, despite spirited efforts to shrug such off.
His pretence to fight insecurity is suspect, given the free reign of Bakassi boys during his tenure. His administration deported Nigerians, especially Northerners to their states under his watch.
His then Commissioner for Women’s Affairs, Dr Ego Cordella Uzoezie, had warned that beggars would be arrested and deported by law enforcement agents.
Worse still, Obi who claims to be “Mr. Clean” is yet to admit guilt despite his link with the Pandora papers.
Premium Times has, however, declared Mr Obi not entirely transparent in his affairs as he likes Nigerians to believe.
Mr. Obi admitted to the media outfit that he did not declare his companies and the funds and properties in his asset declaration form with the Code of Conduct Bureau.
He claimed that he was unaware that the law expected him to declare assets or companies he jointly owns with his family or anyone else.
For him to claim that he transformed Anambra State during his tenure into a paradise yet ignored his paradise and take comfort in Lagos State leaves one to be desired.
The import of all these is that we should all take a second look at our choices for 2023, and in doing so, emphasis should be placed on capacity, competence, and verifiable track record of achievements not to be hoodwinked with irrelevant issues of owning two pairs of shoes and a wristwatch neither should we be fooled by the noise of the market.
This is because the future lies in our hands and must therefore not be carried away by needless sentiments.
Umohinyang, a social commentator and political analyst wrote from Abuja.