What is Peter Obi really up to?

I believe Peter Obi is qualified to be president but I cannot see how he can become president nor how he could possibly succeed in the role if such an astonishing political miracle were to occur. Obi simply does not know how to work with people and has never been able to assert himself as a political leader. How, for instance, is Obi supposed to be able to navigate the minefield of Nigerian politics when he failed so woefully in politically establishing himself in Anambra, just one of its thirty-six states? This is a man who could not command the loyalty of a handful of state legislators while presiding over a state with only 21 local government areas. Obi is arguably the most undermined governor in the entire history of this country! Not only was he pitiably impotent in effecting any meaningful degree of dominance over the political terrain of the state over which he was governor, Obi is perhaps the only governor that has been truly independently impeached by a state legislature since 1999!

The impeachments of others such as Diepreye Alamieyeseigha of Bayelsa, Joshua Dariye of Plateau, or, Ayo Fayose of Ekiti were instigated by President Olusegun Obasanjo and orchestrated by Nuhu Ribadu, then head of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC. In Obi’s case, he was removed by a legislature that had completely come to despise him, with the full backing of a political class that consistently had nothing but total contempt for him. I would be the very last person to insinuate that Obi did not do good things as governor of Anambra – that would be a lie from the pit of hell itself. But as a politician, he was a complete failure, indeed one so utterly woefully unable to build up any political goodwill, while being entirely incompetent in constructing any lasting political networks, as to leave office only to be rendered perhaps the most irrelevant former governor who handed over to a preferred successor! Obi is unfortunately a conceited man who thinks he knows it all and can do it all, a psycho-social disability that makes it difficult for him to cultivate lasting friendships or accumulate dependable political capital.

If Obi were, by some stupendous miracle to become president, he would probably have less than five percent of the National Assembly in his Labour Party, and even at that, probably half of them would still be persons who neither like nor respect him. It is certainly not a man who could not take charge of small Anambra that should be expected to be able to steer the ship of the entire Nigerian state with any degree of stability or assurance of reliability. Obi has no politician of note from his South-East region behind him, neither any political leader of any electoral value from any other geopolitical zone standing with him. Indeed, his rather quixotic foray into the current presidential race is entirely a social media sensation and personality cult phenomenon of what is really nothing but a one-man show. I cannot imagine what he is trying to achieve for being such an intelligent man, he surely must have done the math and seen he is going nowhere!

If he truly believes in making Nigeria better, he should align himself with the man who clearly bested him as governor of a state, quite apart from being a political leader per excellence. Obi cannot make it to Aso Rock but Bola Tinubu can. Whatever Obi can claim he did in Anambra that qualifies him to be president, Tinubu did much better in Lagos. While Obi failed spectacularly as a politician, Tinubu has emerged as arguably the most successful political operative in the entire history of this country. They should be able to work together for a better Nigeria. It is the turn of the South to produce the President of this country, a turn Atiku Abubarkar, the man who stabbed the Igbos in the back and frustrated Obi out of PDP, is trying to steal. Funny enough, Tinubu can go it alone. Unfortunately, there is simply no electoral path to victory for Obi and all he is about to achieve is to waste the votes of his fellow tribesmen from Igboland and the few people from elsewhere who have come to identify with what is little more than a smoke and mirrors campaign to be president of a country that does not take him seriously.

  • Onokpasa, a lawyer, writes from Warri.


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