The Peter Obi Miracle || Caleb Onyeabor

Newsie Events:–

For the Nigerian people, every four years used to be a time where they choose between the devil and the deep blue sea or between the lake of fire and the bottomless pit. Presidential Elections in Nigeria in the past do not bring much excitement as majority of the people think of the choices between them as “the same” – the options are usually between the devil you know and the devil someone else knows.

But there has been a change.

Suddenly, youths particularly in urban areas of the country are fired up. The enthusiasm to participate in the 2023 elections is unprecedented in the history of the country. This was demonstrated in the rush for voters card that saw the total registrations of voters in the country increase by over 10 million. New voters who have never participated in the elections suddenly and passionately sought to collect voters card. Old voters who had lost interest in the voting process in the country are dusting their voters card.

For the first time in the history of Africa’s most populous nation, an organic movement for a presidential candidate sprang out from the nowhere. There is a deviation from the norm in a heavily monetized political system where politicians of the old order deploy stolen wealth to buy and mobilize massive public support as ordinary people began to mobilize themselves and their resources to begin campaign for a man who they now believed can pull the country out of the pit it finds itself. Ordinary people for the first time are rallying without being paid and showing genuine voluntary interest in the struggle for good governance, with passion that has never been seen in the history of the country. All because of one man.

Peter Obi is that man who in few months rose from being an underdog to representing a realistic third force that majority of the citizens have been yearning for years to dislodge the grip of the establishment politicians. Not only has he edged his way into being a major candidate in the election, he has become the hope of a larger part of Nigerians who have been frustrated by the shackles of bad governance and stranglehold of a set of anachronistic, extravagant, clueless and retrogressive class of politicians.

A frugal administrator whose mouth wavering tales of cutting down the cost of governance during his eight year tenure as governor of Anambra endeared him into the hearts of many. Since the people are only used to leaders who rather waste public funds than make heaven, the story of Peter Obi as governor became a diamond in a river of charcoal. For the first time, Nigerians got to hear of a governor who gave proper account of his stewardship and even invited the anti-graft agencies to audit his administration’s finances before leaving. In a country where stealing and mismanagement of public finance has become a gene, hearing about this man sparked tingles in the ears and heads of Nigerians. That Peter Obi refused to accept the ridiculous pensions and gratuities given to former public executive office holders because he believes the funds can be channeled to other areas of people needs presented him like the Angel in a country politics dominated by devils that the people know.

Peter Obi furthered cemented the boom in his public profile with an account of how he cleared the debt of the state he governed and saved money for his successor to kickstart the new government. In a country where politicians will rather die than leave the treasury intact, for most people, such a man stood out.

His outing in 2019 where he participated in the vice Presidential debate as vice president of the candidate of the main opposition party got many more wondering why he wasn’t contesting for the office of the President given his outstanding understanding of the issues and problems coupled with his track record as governor. In 2022, he bowed to public pressure to resist settling for the vice Presidential candidate position to contest for the top office. His ordeals as an aspirant in the country’s main opposition party where he was being frustrated by systemic politicians for refusing to participate in the age long practice of sharing money to win delegates vote, his withdrawal from the party into a small and largely unknown political party has made him become the symbol for defeating the old practice. Here is a man who has proven time and again to stick to his principles than compromise with the ways of the vultures for power sake.

When the support for Peter Obi began, it was dismissed by the establishment and their agents as social media noise but to the surprise of these naysayers, the movement have grown into a force to be reckoned with and is now being featured in permutations of possible victory outcomes for parties.

Nigeria is perhaps, one of the world biggest paradox of poverty in the midst of plenty. The country is currently vying for the position of world’s headquarters of poverty despite its enormous human and natural resources. Plagued by security challenges in the northern and southern parts of the country, an unemployment rate of 33%, inflation rate of over 20 person, debts of over 40 trillion naira, highest out of school children in the world and dwindling standards of living, the candidacy of Peter Obi is representing that ray of hope that Nigerians need.

His campaigns has been built around the economic policy of transforming Nigeria from a consumption laden economy to a productive one. His usual frugal approach to finance is featuring in his aggressive plan to cut down the cost of governance and replicate Government waste of public funds with the use of these funds to rejig the economic and social systems of the country has resonated well with the audience. His mastery of the problem, analysis of the numbers and focus on the message of saving the country from scavengers have contributed to making his candidacy the rave of the moment.

For many Nigerians, Peter Obi is not just the man who can salvage the dying country but the man whose victory in the polls will represent the victory of the masses over the group of disastrous politicians who over the years have destroyed lives by their actions and inactions. For many persons, this is the best chance to retire kleptocrats and bourgeoisies who have sat upon the fortunes of over 200 million persons.

Up against a visibly frail, entitled and unconvincing candidate of the ruling party as well as a relatively old candidate of the main opposition party with a long history of dubious involvements and questionable character, the choice of Peter Obi for many, was easy to make.

The expectation of the presidential leadership of Peter Obi is one of complete disruption and end of systemic and endemic practices of bad governance. His previous experience as governor even makes this possibility appear more certain.

Nigeria as a country has been through a lot. Nigerians as a people have been through even much worse. In the hands of bad leaders, lives have been wasted, dreams shattered, hopes battered, futures disappeared and people broken for life. It is often said that one day, the people will rise, all the signs are showing that the people of Nigeria are trying to rise through this man.

Even with growing popularity, establishment politicians and their agents still consider the possibility of Peter Obi’s victory at the polls a miracle – it is a miracle that most Nigerians are desperately in need of.

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