Nigeria is in a critical time and phase. At present, Nigeria is racing to a crash. It is a consequential time. It is either to continue in the current road to perdition or turn around the country to better the life of all the people.
As it is lately, Nigeria has been bleeding and almost grinding to a halt. Today, Naira crashed, having the exchange rate against the dollar at N710 per dollar. The high exchange rate affects prices of goods and services which keep increasing almost on a daily to weekly basis.
Despite the obvious necessity to turn around the country, Nigerians, rather than seek out men and women who have the competence to drive the country from consumption to production and to a global or continental competitiveness, are still tied up to the primordial sentiments and the recycled politicians. These politicians wear new garbs during elections and end up in the status quo after winning. They hardly see where they have driven the country.
Having knowledge of wealth creation and its management, as a trader, Mr. Peter Obi, observed by many who are rooting for him including the opposition leaders, agreed that Peter has the capability and competence to bring the country on a par with other performing economies.
Despite this knowledge, a lot of political punditry and permutations are made indicating that Mr Peter Obi does not have a chance to Nigeria’s seat of power, he is running on a no-structure party and that voting for him is a waste of vote. His supporters are on social media only, he lacks an alliance across political divides, and many other assertions.
These pundits make these assertions based on the way Nigerians have been voting in the past elections, and considerations based on ethno-religious interests.
To this effect, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Mr. Atiku Abubakar stated that “it is difficult for a miracle to happen for Labour Party candidate Peter Obi to win the 2023 presidential election.”
While noting that his foray into politics has been characterised by miracle, Peter responded that, “what strengthens our faith is miracle. I am looking forward to the next miracle next year to complete my journey.”
Peter is leading a movement and a third force needed to dislodge the entrenched grip of the politicians, guided by the fury and hopelessness of Nigerians on the state of the nation largely caused by the two main political parties, their policies and the conduct of their career politicians. The people are eager to win the next election having Peter as the arrow head. While the narrative and momentum are with Peter, it seems these are on superficial basis where, as often guided by what trends, Peter is trending, Nigerian youths, while riding on the trends may not be fully into the politics of winning the elections.
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Not only are Peter’s supporters basically using the social media to galvanise support and mobilise supporters, Peter, seems to resonate more in the metropolitan areas than in the hinterland where other non-literate voters are. Riding on the popularity, efforts should be made to get out the votes of the rural people, those who are not swayed by the flowery rhetoric of statistics but are easily convinced with sachets of salt and other items.
Peter had said, “We are not just on social media. We have people outside social media that are listening to us and they believe in us. I am going into this election to win. I have everything it takes to win this election.”
Winning election is more than being hopeful but as an underdog who as a new entrant into the politics of Anambra state in 2003, with a little known, young party, Peter pursued his ambition and became the governor.
Anambra is a small state compared with the country. The same tactics may not work with the prevalent sentiments across the country but Peter can pull the miracle.
The current drive to register and get Permanent Voters Card (PVC) which other political candidates are riding on, is mostly for Peter but converting those new registrants and other existing voters is a task Mr. Peter and his team will work hard on.
While Peter should intensify his media approach, efforts should also be made adequately to capture the angry voters of the two main parties; PDP and APC. The two parties, combined, have led the country down the hill.
Nigerians are tired of these two parties and career politicians whose only known business is to dispense and benefit from political favours. While Peter is wished away as a non-starter in competition with the two formidable parties, Peter can pull a surprise.
But the work is not only in the hands of Peter, his vice president candidate Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, and the OBIdients – a name for the supporters, the Labour Party should also be in the forefront, making media appearances and selling their candidates to their numerous members and voters across the country.
The OBIdients should not only see this candidacy as a trend to cash in on, their work is cut out for them and as Obi said, his structure is most importantly God and the “100 million Nigerians living in poverty. 35 million people unemployed. Those people who are finding it difficult to live.”
Surely, Peter Obi the underdog can pull a surprise and a miracle with all hands on deck.