The Oasis Reporters
February 20, 2023
By Greg Abolo
Ever since Peter Gregory Obi finally got into Government House, Awka in Anambra State and left with an applause so thunderous, the ovation so rousing, such that even his now present strident critics all joined him with wide open arms, thanking him for making a difference in prudential governance, the din of voices from the north to the south have all said something in common.
“We need Peter Obi at the national level”.
But how ?
The transactional politicians who are adept at trading in politics like stock exchange deals had colossally occupied the stage with legs astride.
Many Nigerians still earnestly yearned for him, but were still weighing the options on whether he would agree to be drafted. Running for the presidency required that one needed a full tank. And if you were from the outside of the circle of transactors in the deal, add a reserve tank as well.
But how would a fairly honest, sincere and determined new leader face the gargantuan problems and cynicism that has bedevilled all Nigerian governments since independence over the daunting issues like power supply, continuously expanded inequalities, multidimensional poverty, terrorism, tribalism, banditry present himself to the people, and convince them that it was now time for the new deal ?
So Peter Obi decided to face the people by being calm and clear in his interactions.
He also knew something else that the Nigerian political discourse had lacked.
The dignity required in the conduct of the players.
When the front players are not even talking, their draught players on the sidelines are usually very pretty, and very toxic. They are usually engaged in the rhetoric of abuse, no matter their level of education or background.
That higher level of discourse Obi engaged in, insisting on issue based debates, not insults, abuse, propaganda and lies helped him a lot.
“You can go and verify”, wowed him into the hearts and minds of people, and taking charge of the narrative to rescue Nigeria became so compelling. It helped millions of more people to identify with him, turning him into becoming the leading brand. And a refreshingly new one for that matter. People were seeing a very honest attempt towards tackling endemic issues, and this time, they would go with it.
To round this brief essay up, let us look at two events that swirled around the Labour Party halo of a visit to Nigeria’s commercial capital city of Lagos.
Lagos has an ancient and well revered stool.
Akin Osuntokun, the Director General of the Labour Party Campaign Organization clarified to the media about what transpired between the Labour Party and the Oba’s Palace in Lagos.He said:
“We informed the Oba of Lagos that Peter Obi wants to come and pay homage to him before our rally in Lagos but the Oba said that we should not come.
“As a Yoruba man, I tried to ask for the reason underlining the refusal but I was told that Oba is not interested in seeing any other presidential candidate except Bola Tinubu, the APC presidential candidate.
I was not happy because even in the North where they have two presidential candidates, their Emirs welcomed us to their various palaces.
We Southerners should understand that politics is not a war.”
From Osuntokun’s response, it’s easy to see the exasperation in his tone.
Well, I listened to Peter Obi’s response on this same issue. I’m not quoting him verbatim. I only listened to him on TV without taking notes. But here’s a summary. You can go and verify the rest on YouTube.
” The Labour Party Campaign team has toured the entire 36 states of the Federal Republic of Nigeria including Abuja. And whenever we arrive at each town, our first task is to request to go and pay homage to the traditional ruler of the town before we commence our campaigns. The rulers are our fathers and that is usually the first thing to do.
” In the case of Lagos, we did want to pay homage to him as our royal father but we learned that he was not immediately available to see us. So we have to reschedule our visit to pay homage to him at a much more convenient date”.
Now, compare the sheer masterclass in Peter Obi’s response.
Where is the toxicity?
Where is the anger?
Where is the resentment?
That is Peter Obi for you. It can now be seen why his reputation is soaring from the sides to the mainstream and it seems, unto victory on February 25, 2023.