In what seemed like a grassroots push to contest for the office of the president of Nigeria, Mr. Peter Obi, after playing with words and setting conditions for his reluctant entry into the race, declared interest to run for the office.
The people of Nigeria, fuelled by the youths, have been pushing and hoping that a Peter Obi presidency will finally come through. These people have developed a grassroots campaign support and likewise, grassroots campaign funding for the actualisation of Peter’s presidency. Among the aspirants, Peter Obi enjoys overwhelming support.
Last Saturday, the supporters rallied a million march across the country in solidarity for his aspiration, making it a thing of interest for the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) – now his former party, to lose or win if it did not make Peter the flag bearer.
The gesture though may have nothing to do with Peter as it is an organic event and support.
In politics, politicians do what they must within the law to win elections. The million march was a welcome event to show the solidarity and the momentum often needed to make an aspirant push to the frontline. In fact, some pay huge amounts of money to have such public support and would desire such momentum.
The supporters of Peter, especially those from the South-east seem to have made his aspiration a cult-like support. Peter is not the only aspirant from the region whose turn justifiably is to produce the next president but the support given to him has made other aspirants from the zone gasping for recognition. There are other aspirants that should be pushed to the frontline who are in the ruling party and other parties. It is now made to seem; if it is not Peter, then no one else. This kind of cult-like support pales the need to ensure that all the political parties field candidates from the South-east zone.
To the shock of many pundits, a few days after a meeting with the UK Prime Minister, Peter Obi on Wednesday, resigned from the PDP and its presidential race. He wrote in his letter of resignation, “It has been a great honour to contribute to nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions. Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.”
As people have made known their intention to intensify the need to elect Peter based on his previous performance as a governor and his ideas on frugality, wealth creation, fighting insecurity, which he has long been propagating, a Peter Obi administration, as people wish, will lift Nigeria from the abyss of collapse. As a result of this, they are willing to join Peter to any route of his desire.
Obi said, “My mission is to create wealth, change Nigeria from consumption to production and from wealth sharing to wealth creation.” To achieve this, he would, “tackle education, security, power generation and manufacturing to reposition the country’s economy.”
To be sure this dream comes true, the support groups must ensure that millions of the supporters have their voter’s cards and are ready to vote and stand by their vote.
While the voter’s card is very important, the river yet to cross is the primary elections.
The weight of the Nigerian progress lies on the shoulders of the party delegates who instead of being patriotic would rather be more interested in filling their pockets, as usual, from the higher bidder or coerced by the states’ party leadership. Obi had urged the delegates, “to vote with their children in mind.”
As Doyin Okupe stated on Twitter, “Delegate elections are devoid of conscience, rational thinking, patriotism or the principle of right or wrong. From my many years of experience, 70 to 80% of delegates vote along with the dictates of their leaders. It has nothing to do most often with their personal convictions.” He continued,
“But without money or with an offer considerably much lower than the leading contender financially, the poorer aspirant irrespective of pedigree, competence or suitability, may have no chance of winning at all…In the last PDP convention in Port Harcourt in 2019, most delegates went home with between $8000 & $10,000. This year, the figures are bound to be higher. The big spenders are prepared to go as far as $10,000 per delegate.”
By what Okupe wrote, it is obvious that the delegates are part of the problem with Nigeria coming from the pattern of their voting to select who flies their party flag. Nigerians and the future of the country depend on their insatiable desire to trade with the aspirations of the people. They can save the country by voting for those with workable vision.
The resignation of Peter Obi from the PDP over ‘developments within our party’ probably due to money politics in their primaries, having previously said that he is not ready to pay any delegate, may have pitted him against the party delegates and ultimately led to his decision to pull out of the party.
The next move of Peter is awaited as he tests his resolve to avoid money politics in fight against corruption and his popularity in whichever route he may desire. He should be cautioned not to toy with the people who are working to see him become the president or his political future will crumble.
If the PDP is eager for the growth and development of the country, and fighting corruption, they should start the fight with their own delegates.