2023 presidency: Peter Obi and wind of change




 

Nigerians are eager and ready to decide the fate, the future of their country and their next generations through constitutional process in the 2023 general elections. It is inarguable that the inability of Nigerians to unite irrespective of tribes and religion to pave the way for the emergence of credible leadership in Nigeria has been identified as one of the major reasons insecurity, unemployment, collapsed education and health care systems and infrastructure deficit are holding us to ransom. 

The argument currently is which of the regions between the North and South should produce the next president of Nigeria. The ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, has zoned its presidential candidate to the South as President Muhammadu Buhari rounds off his second term. Former Governor of Lagos state Asiwaju Bola Ahmad Tinubu (Jagaban of Borgu) won the APC ticket while former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has ticket of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party, PDP. It is now clear that the Southeast has lost the battle to produce the President of Nigeria from these two leading parties. 

However, since the birth of the fourth republic in 1999, Southeast, Northcentral and Northeast are three out of the six geopolitical zones that have not produce an elected president. Southwest has produced former President Olusegun Obasanjo 1999-2007. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’adua from the Northwest 2007-2010, former President Goodluck Jonathan from Southsouth was sworn in and completed their joint ticket and was elected president in 2011. If our democracy is based on power rotation then it should be an exclusive rights for either the Northcentral or Southeast to produce the next president for equity and justice.

The Southeast agitations to have the next president of Nigeria is presently hanging on the on the neck of the Labour Party, LP, and its presidential candidate Peter Obi after their inability to win tickets from APC and PDP. Obi was governor of Anambra state and a vice presidential candidate to Atiku Abubakar in 2019. Until the emergence of Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso as the presidential candidate of NNPP and Obi of LP, it was narrowed as a two horse race between Tinubu and Atiku. Meanwhile, Obi urgently needs to build political structures in other parts of the country to give his movement a national outlook.

An independent poll by Nextier, a multi-competency advisory firm, and Data-Tier

results in the six geopolitical zones has revealed that Obi is the most popular candidate as his name now like a wind of change spreading like wild fire across the country. He is becoming a force to reckon with due to his understanding of economy and Nigerians seeming to agree with his transcontinental policies. He has the hearts of Nigerians, especially those who feel marginalized, that he is indeed the kind of change Nigeria needs at the moment to move into a paradigm that would switch the nation from consumption to production economy to create jobs as means of ending the current security challenges and return power to the people if elected president. 

Peter Obi has been trending on social media as well as making lead stories in newspapers but with little or no presence on ground like popular runfa mai shayi (tea join). I have for long drawn the battle line in my conversations and comments via social media on the urgent need for Obi camp to move its campaign to the grassroots as hundreds of voters there are yet to perceive his message of change. Equally, is my suggestion for him to join forces with Kwankwaso up North to downsize the overwhelming support of Atiku and Tinubu as an emerging third force that will oust APC and PDP from power in 2023.

Elections are not won on social media, they are won at polling units. The current vice president Professor Yemi Osinbanjo has one of the best, if not the best media presence, but lost his primary election. The media sensation hyping Peter Obi is good. if the election is to take place tomorrow he is likely to pull a big surprise, but as it is, the elections are months away, and in politics, one day is a long time for things to spin out of control. Presently, what is happening is a grand elite conspiracy and coronation of corruption using regionalism, religion and ethnicity as a platform to ascend to power.

The 2023 general elections will be an opportunity for Nigerians to change the ugly political narratives of rescuing Nigeria that has been plunged into the perceptions of voting candidates along primordial considerations. The growing distrust among Nigerian citizenry is alarming as the country continues to pay for its failure to give credibility and competency to deliver a preferential taste. No doubt, Obi is now a subject of media conversations. His silence and refusal to denounce the agitations by IPOB led by Nnamdi Kanu, condemn the killings of some northerners by IPOB and the destruction of state owned facilities, especially INEC offices, has generated great concerns and perceived by northern pundits as someone that cannot be trusted. 

Nigerian politics can only surprise the new born. It has long been emotional by those who are banging on religion and ethnicity as advantages for victory. Tinubu’s choice of a vice president from the North is still hanging though strong indication is that Muslim Muslim ticket is likely to be unveiled when he returns from France. Atiku, on the other hand, is passing through the hurdles of picking Ifeanyi Okowa as running mate as against the anticipated Nyeson Wike.

The wind of change is making Obi as reminiscent of the coming of Emmanuel Macron of France to power in all the media platforms. Just like Kwankwaso declared on Channels TV, Obi must extend his network to the North, especially in his choice of running mate. This will ensure that all the narratives of exclusion against his person are won. This will pronounce him more as riding a ticket like that of Atiku that is of region and religious balancing.

Get your permanent voters card and ensure you vote in the upcoming election to effect a change. 

Danaudi, National President, Arewa Youths Advocate for Peace and Unity Initiative, writes from Bauchi via [email protected].

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