Following a statement by its President Ayuba Wadda in Abuja that the Nigerian Labour Congress, NLC is throwing its weight behind the Labour Party, it is no doubt the best of times for the camp of Peter Obi who recently decamped to the party following his fall-out with the Peoples Democratic Party over what he termed monetization of the party’s primaries and unnecessary bickering and backstabbing within the party.
With the emergence of Peter Obi as its flagbearer, Ayuba said Labour relished the new sense of hope provided by the renewed Labour Party.
The NLC went on to commend the party and its leadership headed by Comrade Julius Abure who is a former Trade Union leader for his efforts at working with the NLC to reposition the Labour Party.
In this times of high-level internal party politicking when national discourse around the nation centres on the activities and processes of different political parties towards (s)electing flagbearers who by virtue of their emergence become the candidates of their respective parties, Nigerians continue to watch with bated breath who the top contenders will be especially from the 2 major political parties the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
However, in a well calculated move that have changed the dynamics of the political terrain as we have always known it and one which observers have described as the biggest upset in the nation’s political landscape since the fourth republic, one man is not just challenging the status quo but also changing the narrative and sending shivers down the spines of otherwise political heavyweights, ruffling their feathers and unsettling their camps.
Peter Gregory Obi, astute businessman, Philantropist, former governor of Anambra state and Vice Presidential candidate of the PDP in the 2019 presidential election bestrides the political space like a colossus. Rising from obscurity in national politics, Peter Obi has metamorphosed into a force to reckon with going into the 2023 polls.
In clear support of its party’s candidate, Peter Obi, the NLC urged delegates to be wary of aspirants who only mouth their progressive credentials asking that weighty consideration be given to the likes of Obi whose track records speak of panache, restraint, integrity and fiscal discipline.
In a deft political move, Obi who until his defection from the opposition PDP was not only under-rated but also regarded as a featherweight and regional politician, one with neither the charisma nor clout to challenge the top guys in a presidential contest has continued to prove bookmakers wrong. Self-aware that he doesn’t stand a chance against the likes of Alhaji Atiku Abubakar a veteran in presidential elections and Nyesom Wike the enfant terrible moneybag of the PDP, Obi in a last minute move ditched the party and discontinued his Presidential pursuit on its platform barely 3 days to the primaries fully aware that participating in a highly-monetized primaries where he stands no chance, and losing would have automatically disqualified him from contesting for the top job even on the platform of another party.
Upon defecting, Obi consulted widely and in his usual mannerism left many guessing what his next move will be. While some political commentators argued that leaving the PDP was a miscalculation that will haunt his political career, insisting he should have stayed back and contest in the main election as running mate to Atiku who was projected to win the primaries instead. A different school of thought were of the opinion that going into an alliance with R.M Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) will give the party the elixir needed to form the third force that will eventually upstage the 2 dominant parties since the past 23 years, the ruling APC and the PDP.
At the point of his exit from the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) upon completion of his second term in office as Governor of Anambra state, in all fairness to him, Obi left no one in doubt as he expressed in clear terms his desire to join a party with national appeal as he stated clearly that his involvement in politics going forward would be to offer his service at a higher level on a scale the APGA might not be able to contest.
When after his nationwide consultations, therefore, Obi announced the Labour Party as his preferred party to pursue his Presidential ambition, while few viewed him as a traitor whose action smirks of ingratitude to a party that offered him the platform to attain political relevance, many others querried the rationale behind his decision considering that just like the APGA, the Labour Party also lacks national spread.
In the days to come, however, naysayers started seeing what the attractions are for the man known as Okwute. Chief amongst his attractions is the fact that unlike the APGA, the Labour party is not perceived as a regional party. Peter Obi’s handlers aware of the dangers portraying him as an ethnic candidate portends to his ambition jettisoned the idea of his return to the APGA and presenting him as a candidate knowing fully well it would have indirectly justified Nasir El’Rufai’s assertion of him as a tribal bigot. A position that would have presented him as one who was in the race to challenge the northern dominance of the government at the center thereby making his candidacy a hard sell in the north where a good number of votes reside.
Since his emergence as the candidate of the Labour Party for the 2023 Presidential elections, a new milestone appears to have been achieved, shock waves are felt nationwide and a tornado appear to be sweeping across the length and breadth of the country. The man who hitherto was written off as inconsequential and one who should be paid no mind has gone from being an institution to being a movement! People from different walks of life continue to be wilfully OBIdient as they heed the clarion call for the enthronement of a people-approved leader for the resuscitation of the country from imminent collapse. His popularity continues to grow with every passing day as his name becomes the most mentioned as regards the 2023 elections. For the first time since our history as a nation, even without financial inducements people are taking it upon themselves to educate others in their circle of the need to participate in the on-going CVR and to ensure they obtain their PVC.
People are willy-nilly offering not just their time but also their talent and treasure in ensuring that the 2023 is not business as usual but instead business unusual!
The adoption of his candidacy by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress has further given bite to his already unquenchable growing profile as not just the man of the moment but also the man of the masses. Without giving anybody shiishi Peter Obi has emerged as the poster boy of the suffering Nigerian masses going into the 2023 elections!
The NLC in responding to claims that the Labour Party lacked structures enjoin Nigerian youths to continue to identify with the Labour Party stressing that what Peter Obi lacks in party structure he effortlessly make up for in people structure.
Obi’s unyielding resolve to not monetize the process of the campaign that will enthrone him is a clear deviation from the norm and his major selling point that continues to endear him to his numerous followers. It won’t be out of place to say that his endorsement by the leadership of the Nigerian Labour Congress has further given his ambition a cult status providing the much touted structure!
The message of the ‘OBIdient’ movement that is spreading like a wildfire in the harmattan is no doubt gaining traction as first-time voters and others who have previously exhibited voter apathy in past elections have left no one in doubt regarding their willingness to participate fully in a process they are hopeful will inject the much-needed sanity into the politics of Nigeria.
However, in a move that’s long anticipated by political pundits, splinter groups and factions are suddenly beginning to emerge from the ranks of the once moribund Labour Party. Dissent groups are suddenly laying claims to the authentic leadership of the party. Knowing what extent politicians in this parts go to unsettle an opponent’s camp, this shenanigans didn’t come as a surprise to political juggernauts.
Even with the support of the leadership of the NLC, it will be foolhardy and may eventually prove very costly for Peter Obi and his handlers to attempt to ignore any faction that has an axe to grind with the present leadership, all opinions should be entertained and all grouses not just addressed but promptly reconciled.
Even as the ruling APC prepares for its primaries, no matter who emerges one thing that remains sacrosanct is the fact that come 2023, Peter Obi of the Labour Party remains the man to beat. He has a soldier of youths and uncompromising adults from across the country who are fed up and want a break-away from the norm, people who will give their all to ensure that their votes count!
If INEC makes good its promise of Electronic Transmission of votes, it remains to be seen how the votes cast for Peter Obi won’t count as is being peddled to discourage his legion of supporters.
To avoid overheating the polity and setting the country on the path of destruction, it will in the best interest of INEC to do the right thing and ensure the will of the people prevails!
Peter is Better!