A new political dispensation dawned on Nigeria as a fast rising presidential candidate on the Labour Party’s platform for the 2023 general elections emerged from almost from “nowhere”. A fast rising candidate that has literally changed the meaning of PVC— “Permanent Voters Card” to “Peter’s Vote Count” in Nigeria apparently.
Who is Peter?
Mr Peter Gregory Obi is the presidential flag bearer for Labour Party (LP)–a social democratic political party in Nigeria which was created in 2002 and was previously known as the Party for Social Democracy (PSD), before changing to its current name the following year.
Born in Anambra on 19 July 1961, Obi is a Nigerian businessman and politician who served as governor of Anambra from March to November 2006, February to May 2007, and from June 2007 to March 2014.
In May 2022, he became the LP’s candidate for president of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential election, after defecting from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
His defection from the party has aggrieved many strong politicians who felt his decamping is a threat to them.
Obi’s major competitors are Alh. Bola Ahmed Tinubu from the ruling party, All Progressives Congress (APC) and H.E Atiku Abubakar from PDP. These two opponents exist from parties that have ruled Nigeria in past years but hitherto, the populace were not satisfied with their administrations.
It is still surprising how Obi optically came as a third force during the electioneering campaign period. It was a rude shock to many elite Nigerians and a welcomed dispensation to many citizens.
What could have been the reason for the fast rise?
Bola Ahmed Tinubu who generally is regarded as the leading force in the presidential campaign, is so because he is the flagbearer of the ruling party. A “jagaban” of Lagos, political godfather to many, and the “bullion van” himself.
Born 29 March, 1952, Tinubu is a Nigerian accountant and politician who served as the Governor of Lagos State from 1999 to 2007 and Senator for Lagos West during the brief Third Republic. In June 2022, he was chosen as the All Progressives Congress nominee in the 2023 Nigerian presidential election.
Atiku Abubakar’s party on its part is regarded as the second force due to popularity of party and its antecedents. He has promised to unite Nigerians. On 25th May, 2022 he released a five-point agenda. He said his first agenda was to “Restore Nigeria’s unity through equity, social justice, and cooperation, establish a strong and effective government that guarantees the safety and security of life and property.
“Build a strong, resilient, and prosperous economy that creates jobs and lifts people out of poverty.
“Promote a true federal system which will provide strong Federal Government to guarantee national unity while allowing the federating units to set their own priorities.
“Spearhead education reform so it is driven by innovation, science, and technology.”
Beautiful agenda right? But can a lost trust be easily rebuilt again? Nigerians apparently have lost trust in the parties that have ruled them for decades. They are tired of the promise and fail tactics of their representatives. Therefore, they were quick to embrace a totally new person who they think has a clean past record which most are verifiable and one who is younger, agile and transparent enough to rule them.
Lots of controversies have these two forces mentioned above. From the age of Tinubu, to education, family, alleged drug conviction, health, to his inconsistency in speech etc. Long and controversial Tinubu’s career has been plagued by accusations of corruption and questions about the veracity of his personal history.
In April 2007, after the general elections, but before the governor-elect Babatunde Fashola had taken office, the Federal Government brought Tinubu before the Code of Conduct Bureau for trial over the alleged illegal operation of 16 separate foreign accounts.
In January 2009, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission cleared Tinubu and governors James Ibori of Delta State and Obong Victor Attah of Akwa Ibom State of charges of conspiracy, money laundering, abuse of office and official corruption in relation to a sale of V-mobile network shares in 2004.
Abubakar also has been charged with money laundering. He was a known businessman who served as the vice president of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007 during the presidency of Olusegun Obasanjo.
He has unsuccessfully contested five times for the Office of President of Nigeria in 1993, 2007, 2011, 2015 and 2019. In 1993, he contested the Social Democratic Party presidential primaries losing to Moshood Abiola and Baba Gana Kingibe.
Abubakar has been delivering speeches all over the country inspiring Nigerians on the need to restructure the country. He has been receiving massive endorsement for his stand on True Federalism.
Controversies that trailed him was that he was implicated in an international bribery scandal along with William Jefferson and one of Atiku’s wives, Jennifer Atiku Abubakar. Following rumours by pundits that Atiku was unable to visit the United States, in January 2017, the U.S. government released a statement saying it would need the consent of the politician before it can disclose the true state of his immigration status to the United States. Abubakar has publicly claimed that the true reason is that his visa is still being processed.
According to a report submitted to the US Senate by committee on February 10, 2010, the illegally transferred money made Atiku an “employer of labor” and a proud owner of American University of Nigeria (AUN), a school, whose tuition fees more than 99% of Nigerian students cannot afford.
All these unending controversies put together have Nigerians loose a great trust in electing or reelecting a candidate who has affiliation to bad records.
No wonder all these made for the warm embrace of Peter Obi. Nigerians are simply tired of recycling same set of group. Obi has distinguished himself in many ways from the record of his past records.
Anambra was regarded as the least indebted and most financially stable state in Nigeria by the Nigerian Debt Management Office (DMO) under Peter Obi. He won praise for avoiding taking out loans to finance his ventures. He also attracted many foreign investors during his time.
Obi’s business background and status as a major candidate not affiliated with either of Nigeria’s two main parties has drawn comparisons with Emmanuel Macron’s successful 2017 French presidential candidacy. Obi has expressed admiration for Macron and was among the officials who received Macron during his visit to Lagos.
He has garnered support from younger generations under 30 who proved to be some of the biggest Obi’s supporters, showing their support via social media and protests and street marches.
He is reportedly the reason behind the “biggest political movement in recent Nigerian history”.
Worthy of note is that before campaigns were officially kicked off, Obi’s supporters held a series of One Million Man Marches in several Nigerian cities including Makurdi, Calabar, Lafia, Port Harcourt, Afikpo, Owerri, Enugu, Auchi, Abuja, Kano, Ilorin, Abakaliki and Ibadan. The marches were not part of the official campaigns, as they were led by volunteer Obi supporters and not Obi’s inhouse team or political party. The marches experienced massive turnouts.
Why Does Peter’s Vote Really Count?
Obi apparently target the younger market. He has successfully positioned himself in the minds of the populace. Albeit, it seems other contestants are focused on the older group of people. The youths are the lifeblood of any nation.
According to a 2016 Bloomberg report, Nigerian youths represent more than half of her 182 million population. Therefore, the issues affecting Nigerian youths are hindrances to the growth of Africa’s most populous country. Unemployment, insecurity, bad governance and corruption, poverty and other forms of societal ills have bedeviled the country and possible way of coming out of the nemesis is what they hope for.
A report by the Economist once stated that “Mr Obi’s sudden ascent represents a rare chance for Nigeria. The country ought to be rich: it has huge reserves of oil, gas, and other minerals, plenty of fertile lands, and a young population of go-getters,” the UK publication added.
Political analysts and observers have predicted that the February 25 presidential election will be a tight race between Obi, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu of the APC. Peter’s vote counts because of so many factors. If Nigeria needs to make a choice, Obi is one of the finest candidates that we have in the country. In terms of education, in terms of character, in terms of performance, in terms of reaching out, in terms of being a pan-Nigerian, in terms of industrialisation, passion to ensure that our country is liberated from where we are; out of insecurity to security, and out of economic woes to economic vibrancy and out of lack to adequate social life, he has the capacity to make things work. All Obi’s antecedents can be verified! Lesser and mostly concocted controversy! Strong and agile!
A new political dispensation dawned on Nigeria as a fast rising presidential candidate on the Labour Party’s platform for the 2023 general elections emerged from almost from “nowhere”. A fast rising candidate that has literally changed the meaning of PVC— “Permanent Voters Card” to “Peter’s Vote Count” in Nigeria apparently. Who is Peter? Mr Peter […]
Political analysts and observers have predicted that the February 25 presidential election will be a tight race between Obi, ex-Vice President Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, and former Lagos State Governor, Bola Tinubu of the APC.
Why should your PVC not count today? Remember, Peter’s Vote Count (PVC).