Explaining Peter Obi’s victory

Ogunsakin Mustapha
10 Min Read
Dr Promise Adiele

By Promise Adiele

This is not a critical dissection of the recently concluded presidential election in Nigeria, an exercise globally acclaimed as a collective assault on the humanity of Nigerians and their civic beings. That political obscenity, through coordinated acts of criminality, raped the intelligence of Nigerians, summarily calling to question those who populate our public service and security apparatuses. The reactions following the elections have been seething and hysterical, especially for those who believed INEC chairman Prof Yakubu Mahmoud that the results would be transmitted directly from the polling units to the commission’s portal. 

Alas, the BVAS was deliberately incapacitated. It was a beguiling gimmick unleashed on Nigerians through well-lubricated machinery of composite deception. Regrettably, the announced results have momentarily conferred a spurious legitimacy on the ruling APC as they glory in their capture and seizure of vengeful power. The humiliation continues to assail the length and breadth of the country as Nigerians are rudely encouraged to accept the vulgar manifestation of power desperadoes in the country. The temptation to discuss issues arising from the election is compelling but I must remain focused and faithful to the title of this essay 

There is nothing to say about the election that people have not said. No new development except that INEC has started to upload the results on their portal, but the figures differ from the results initially announced by the electoral body. The election, generally described as a flimflam charade across the world has come and gone. INEC and its chairman are already assured a place in Nigeria’s disreputable hall of infamy and ignominy having disingenuously orchestrated the worst electoral heist in the history of the country. It is noteworthy that the aggrieved parties are seeking redress through established legal channels. 

The world waits to see if the Nigerian judiciary will redeem itself after the last famous legal skullduggery that saw Hope Uzodinma of Imo State installed as an APC governor. Everything about the 2023 presidential election, from conception to execution, traffics in dubiety, chicanery, dupery, sundry sharp practices and a level of underhandedness which deserves a medal in purgatory. If the judiciary does not redeem itself, it will become a certified reference example for incompetence and double-standard. That is a matter for another day. 

Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate in the just concluded election, is winning in many ways. He may have come third in the just concluded election but while the world waits for the legal proceedings and subsequent pronouncements, Obi continues to win across Nigeria and indeed, Africa. His candidacy personifies a wildfire which burns with unrestrained intensity and fury. It has never happened in Nigeria’s political history for a candidate to embody such a passion and disseminate love among millions of young people. Today, due to Obi’s emergence, the hitherto unknown Labour Party has become an issue in Nigeria’s political engineering. 

Today, Obi is winning across the world. He has redefined Nigeria’s political ideology, especially among millions of youths. People easily identify his photograph with traits such as honesty, service, character, and competence. With him, young people win elections without spending a kobo. His name has become a key to electoral success across Nigeria and millions of Nigerians are taking advantage of this reality. He has freed the enslaved public psyche from such distorted abstractions that people can only win elections with a massive financial outlay. That is a victory for him. 

Peter Obi is a winner. His name has given birth to Obicracy propagated by millions of people who call themselves Obidients. Today in Nigeria, Obidient is seen as a socio-political ideology propagated and enunciated by millions of Nigerians interested in the birth of a new country. The Obidients are committed to the inevitable dethronement of an avaricious political class who consistently castrated Nigeria’s flourishing economic potential. The Obidient movement has become a tsunami sweeping across Nigeria in no certain terms. 

When Obi emerged, many people didn’t believe in him. They thought him to be a rabble-rouser who would not win even a polling unit outside the South East, his political stronghold. In fact, a disoriented fellow on social media swore that Obi will lose his polling unit in Anambra state, how ridiculous. Gradually, Peter Obi moved around the country and convinced people of his honesty, commitment, and dedication to a new Nigeria. Riding on the mantra of austerity and shunning all forms of ostentatious behaviour, millions of Nigerians bought into his ideas and saw through his honesty and selflessness. His name became a household item all over the country. Expectedly, his traducers introduced religion and ethnicity to divide the millions of his youthful followers, but it did not work. Obidients cut across ethnicity, religion and other divisive considerations that Nigeria’s political demagogues have used to keep the youths permanently divided. Peter Obi has united Nigeria like no one in history. On that score, he is winning. 

Today across Nigeria, his photograph with Labour Party is a signature of electoral victory. Some Labour Party candidates who have won elections barely campaigned and were largely unknown. When the Nigerian electorate gets to the polling unit, without any knowledge of any candidate, they just vote for Labour Party. They are convinced that if Peter Obi is involved, then it works. Such maniac political dedication and followership have never been seen in any part of the world. Peter Obi is winning. Nigeria will never be the same again. He suffered derision for not having structures. He only needed to speak and the people went into a frenzy. He told them that they are the structure. That statement intoxicated millions of youths across the country as they created various jingles to promote his aspirations. Youths contributed money, organized rallies, and demystified the existence of political structures as a political armament for electoral victory. 

In Lagos, Nigeria’s economic, commercial, and industrial capital, Peter Obi took the state by storm dislodging an existing APC political hegemony, winning in a landslide and leaving people with the question “how did it happen”? In Abuja, Nigeria’s current political capital, he won convincingly trouncing the two other established political parties with all their sterile structures. What a feat. As I write this piece, there are reports that the Labour Party has won 36 seats in the House of Representatives and six seats in the Senate. Yet the party does not have any structure. Ordinary people are winning elections without bribing anybody. Okada riders and taxi drivers are winning elections. The mindset in Nigeria now is that once anybody prints a poster with Peter Obi by the side, victory is assured. Obidients have become a formidable army across the country. From four people twitting in a room, it has become a strong political movement bigger than a political party. Today, PDP politicians are begging Obidients. APC politicians are begging Obidients. Current governors of other parties are begging Obidients. “Please save my political career, vote for me”. Peter Obi, you are an enigma.  

Political Science scholars and students of Sociology have a responsibility to study the person of Peter Obi to understand the secret behind his success. What did he do differently or what is he doing differently? Why do millions of people, especially youths across religious and ethnic lines love him? Why do they believe in him and embrace anybody who identifies with him? The answer to the question is simple – he personifies honesty, transparency and genuine dedication to the plight of the common man. At no time did Nigerians believe and trust a politician the way they believe and trust Peter Obi. Even his political detractors acknowledge that something has changed in Nigeria’s politics with Peter Obi’s emergence on the national scene. INEC may have clandestinely, like a thief in the night, while people slept, announced APC as the winner of the last presidential election, but Nigerians have their hearts somewhere. They are convinced Peter Obi of the Labour Party won the election. Election aside, Peter Obi is winning. Let the victory continue.

Promise Adiele PhD teaches at Mountain Top University He could be reached Promee01@yahoo.com, Twitter: @Drpee4  


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