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2023: Obi’s presidential race awakens mass movement for new order

In the past one month, the social media has been buffeted with the rising popularity of former Governor of Anambra State and presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), Mr Peter Obi, whose national and global sensitisation has elicited serious attention, writes CAJETAN MMUTA

When on May 24, 2022, the former Governor of Anambra state and ex-vice presidential candidate to Atiku Abubakar under the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the 2019 election, Mr Peter Obi, dumped the party amid high wire political intrigues, it was evident that something was gravely amiss.

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The Agulu-born soft-spoken economic czar had quickly exited the party just three days before the party’s presidential primary election. Obi, the party’s presidential contender had in a letter (dated May 24, 2022) with the title ‘Resignation from PDP and withdrawal from the presidential contest’ and addressed to the PDP National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, cited developments within the party as reason for pulling out of the fold.

In the letter, Obi pointed out that the challenges facing the country are enormous and deep-rooted. According to him, “Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it impossible for me to continue participating and making constructive contributions. Our national challenges are deep-rooted and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country.”

He maintained that his commitment to rescuing the nation remains unwavering even if the routes differ. Certainly, it was clear to Obi that with his political binoculars, the journey with the main opposition party, the PDP, would not lead him anywhere, not even the targeted destination.

The staccato of damning political overtures of money politics and intense scheme by the northern oligarchy to retain power and other sundry hidden agenda was manifest that it would be a hard nut to crack for Ndigbo in the Southeast to wrest power if the zone fails to stand up in unity, restrain itself from feeding on the crumbs that fall from the master’s table, at least, to make an irreversible and bold statement by seriously tackling the adder and sincerely fight to hit the bull’s eye.

The intense political horse-trading that reared its head was indeed ferocious as seen during the recently conducted presidential primaries of the PDP that threw up Alhaji Atiku Abubakar as the party’s flag bearer and that of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu as the APC standard-bearer. Both exercises took place in Abuja ahead of the 2023 elections.

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The political fanfare and voodoo by the two parties were instructive and revealing in all ramifications. For one, it left a bitter and soured taste in the mouth of a great many, particularly, the grieving losers.

Also, the exercises left one in utter despair about what the array of Igbo politicians in both the APC and PDP ever wanted when they participated in the charade called conventions of both parties. The ridiculous, self-deceit and betrayal of delegates from the Southeast region were quite anachronistic and another self-defeat.

Unfortunately, it was a sad reminder of still-born political theories and no action for Ndigbo in their endless quest to produce the next president of the country. Also, one needs no mirror to reflect, once again, from the political calculus that the zone has nothing to offer or gain, till 2031, now that the battle for the Vice Presidential slots for the two main parties of the PDP and APC, is over.

There is, no doubt, therefore that, Obi’s deft move to LP to launch his presidential ambition next year is heart-warming and timely, having seen the stumbling blocks on the way for Ndigbo and the entire country from untying the chains of leadership immobility, lack of sincere development and the need for a new order.

Today, the journey is not about Obi or what many may see as his political interest but a mass movement. It is evident that Mr. Peter Obi’s ambition, the Labour Party, and the ongoing crusade that greets his national and global campaign, are beyond him. What is in the air is a strenuous movement by those in deep pain, distraught and bothered about the uncertain future, to rid and steer the nation’s wobbling ship off the turbulent sea and away from heading to the rock.

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There is, no doubt, that the country is under dire stress and it’s calamitous if nothing urgent is done to salvage the ominous and grave situation. However, it leaves many in doubt about how far Obi can go as the political messiah as the man who saw tomorrow like Nostradamus and will his emergence heals the wounds of many years of millions of denied and deprived Nigerians.

One outstanding desire and expectation of millions of citizens of Nigerians is that the process should be violent free, peaceful, and fair. While it’s impossible to see a holistic free and fair contest given past tough and questionable electoral experiences and experiments, there is no gainsaying the obvious that history again beckons on the polity and the actors.

Presently, the two major political parties of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) are not allowing anything to chance with each side itching seriously, amid desperations and schemes, closer to the plum seat at the presidency.

For President Muhammadu Buhari-led APC government and his handlers, the major plot is to retain the plum seat come 2023. But, the opposition PDP is not unbent to wrest power from the ruling party over incalculable woes the country has been subjected to in recent times.

There is, no doubt, that the citizens are helpless and that they are now seriously yearning and demanding true change as a departure from the obvious deceit and falsehood by the leaders. This understanding, however, is the reason for the heightened awareness and concerns shown so far and expressed by the electorate, interest groups, individuals, and ethnic nationalities as well as other geo-political zones that are far from the national cake.

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For instance, the ongoing surge in the ongoing voter registration exercise in the southeast zone and other parts of the country is indicative of things to happen. There is heightened consciousness, awareness, and sensitization among the churches and other groups for a new order other than what is seen by many as not holistic and favourable to all citizens.

In reacting to the ongoing political development, the apex Igbo socio-cultural organization, Ohanaeze Ndigbo worldwide through its National Publicity Secretary, Chief Alex Ogbonnia said the body is impressed by the growing popularity of the LP presidential candidate, Peter Obi, but noted that there are other candidates of Igbo extraction from other political parties who are vying for the exalted seat come 2023 and therefore cannot support one person against others pending when the inner caucus of the body meet to decide on the candidates.

He said, “We have Peter and other candidates in Southeast; we have APGA, Labour Party, and others. Ohanaeze Ndigbo will hold a meeting with Igbo Leaders of Thought and then take a decision.”

On his part, Comrade Emeka Umeagbalasi, chairman of the board, International Society for Civil Liberties and Rule of Law (InterSociety), a non-governmental organization (NGO) said that Peter Obi’s rising popularity on the social media is expected given his nobility, integrity and stand on issues about Nigeria and Ndigbo as well as his achievements as former Governor of the Anambra state.

“He noted that the LP Presidential candidate is not alone in his quest for a better Nigeria, pointing out that all that’s happening now is a moment that is beyond him as a person.

“Obi’s popularity is expected because this country would have been a better place if the leaders have deemed it fit to prepare themselves for leadership roles. You know leadership is about nobility in the original sense of it, you can choose to do any other thing but when it comes to leadership it’s a different ball game.

“Somebody who’s unsaintly cannot lead people; anybody who wants to lead must be a product of nobility, must be prepared. And good a thing is that he (Obi) has had the opportunity of governing the Anambra state and he inherited the state when it was in a staccato and he was able to fix Anambra just like you see what’s happening now with the new governor.

“You find out that despite being the foremost Professor of Economics, he is struggling to find his feet in the governance of the state because Anambra is one of the most difficult states in Nigeria when it comes to governance.

“So, if Obi was able to put Anambra state together and left a mark and among other personal attributes he had garnered for himself and this is a time for the Presidency and you have also to look at the personalities and pedigree of others that have emerged especially the two major parties; Obi represents the Third Force.

“We are now talking of three leading parties because of Peter Obi’s personality. He’s now the symbol of the Labour Party which he entered.”

 

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