By Wole Olujobi
I had thought that like any other politician, Peter Obi of the Labour Party was only seeking power to lead Nigerians in the exercise of leadership grace for growth and development of the country. Sadly, his real motive for power seemed to have manifested after the results of the presidential election emerged, as the Labour Party candidate, who was placed in third position in that election, started to exhibit the traits of a self-obsessed leader, desperate to exercise power at all costs after falling short of the highest votes score and other constitutional requirements he must meet to enable him ascend the presidential throne to achieve a life ambition to serve a narrow group interest.
Even though reasonable Nigerians acknowledged Obi’s feat in the results he posted in spite of the dangerous politicking he introduced by igniting a patently destabilising tribal and religious politics, his post-election posturing has given him away as a man obsessed with power grab at all costs. As it turned out, Obi won only in his East homeland and among fellow Christians.
It is generally agreed that an obsession for power is dangerous to both the power chaser and the society at large. Adolf Hitler is my very constant witness. Indeed, desperate leaders can become dangerous if their desperation becomes an obsession. Here we also refer to David in the Bible with his obsession for warrior Uriah’s wife, Bathsheba.
Dazed by the disarming allowance of good looks in Bathsheba’s outward endowments, and buffeted by manic desperation to lay the poor woman on his idle bed for a night’s labour in the treacherous business of lechery, David went obsessed, desperate for a red light excess that will claim the woman’s honour and send her husband to the edge of sword in the battlefront in order to remain safe in the enjoyment of his lurid obsession.
Great if a leader is desperate for a better cause among his people, but at the same time he must also possess the intellectual verve to know and understand the difference between desperation and obsession. But narcissism, a careless romancing of self-importance, seems to have overtaken Obi’s sense of moderation so much so that he is obsessed with power and is ready to deploy all tactics, no matter how base and dangerous, to seize the nation’s presidential sceptre.
To gain power in a democracy for societal good is a legitimate enterprise. And that leads us to a question: did Obi even prepare adequately to acquire that power by following the rules of political and constitutional engagements to achieve his mission’s goal?
Obi’s conduct prior to the election showed clearly that he was only interested in a power chase anchored on subterfuge and outright lies to sway support at polls to clinch the Presidency on the platters of religion and ethnicity even without the slightest courtesy to market his manifesto as the basis of his thirst for power. For Obi, acquiring political power without responsibility to the people is more auspicious than running for an office anchored on programme appeal.
Instead of manifesto, Obi’s selling points included appeal to religious and ethnic emotions. His programme appeals revolved around the primacy of the Igbo place in the context of national development. Separately in his pro-Igbo mindset at some occasions, Obi, whose political mission and vision are built around tribal nationalism or ethnicisation of national project, including composition of his legal team in his election tribunal petition, was quoted in the media as saying: “Igbos don’t need APGA in Aso Rock for them to achieve their aims. (No wonder he swears his resolve to identify with IPOB and its agenda to allegedly divide Nigeria).
“APGA is the identity and the reflection of Igboman.
“Anambarians should not vote for PDP. PDP is a party alien to the Igbo.”
“I will not only remain in APGA, I will also die for APGA.
“The day I quit APGA is the day I will quit politics. PDP is synonymous with destruction.”
That was when Obi was in APGA but later betrayed the same APGA to dine with the same PDP he once described as synonymous with destruction.
This is apart from the sacking of the non-Igbo traders from Anambra State during the Onitsha crisis in 2006 when over 100 Northerners were killed and markets belonging to them were burnt down.
Then Obi’s religious mainstreaming. During campaigns, the Labour Party’s candidate chose to consult only the clergy, the layreaders and their shepherds instead of seeking the votes of all Nigerians in a national solidarity for power. Of course, Cardinal Peter Obi got the ecclesiastical results with deadly blows in a pastoral dashboard that shut him out of St Peter’s chair in the nation’s presidential conclave.
Again, produce me a man that relies on lies to achieve a life ambition, and here Obi seizes the cake! At his Chatham House appearance in London, Obi lied, lied and lied against himself and his fatherland by reeling out fraudulent and false statistical data on Nigeria’s development and growth index to impress his audience, believing that lies told abroad would translate to ballot victory at home.
Closely related to this were the fraudulent opinion polls by his rented gamblers in information and data analysis business who assailed Nigerians and indeed the world with wild projections that Obi, based on the Internet intransigence, would win the presidential election. As it turned out, the voters that lived within the borders of Nigeria on election day shamed the Internet polls speculators and social media voters of no fixed addresses by voting for the President-elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu and Vice President-elect, Kashim Shettima.
What is more, reports suggested that cyber stalking was allegedly masterminded for voodoo results that would have allegedly proved the results of Obi’s fraudulent poll trackings right. But INEC proved a hard nut to crack, as the alleged cyber attack plots could not pack enough punches to shatter Tinubu/Shettima’s box-office results that emerged after millions of Nigerians spoke with their thumbs, and that is the first offence committed by INEC Chairman, Prof Mamood Yakubu, that Obi and his supporters must harvest Yakubu’s head.
Pronto, noise over failure to upload election results on the INEC’s servers drowned the tears of defeat even though results were collated and announced at polling units, ward, local and state’s collation centres to ensure transparent conduct of the voting exercise. Instead of plaudits for INEC, blackmail seized the space, among other desperate devices to seize power at all costs in breach of the constitution.
These also include storming the streets of Abuja by a rented crowds of supporters to demand for Obi’s declaration as the winner in the election that he lost or else the Igbo would secede from Nigeria as a consequence.
In his petition at the Presidential Election Tribunal, obsession for power also led Obi to demand to be declared as President of the Christians and Igbo people whom he loves so much without reservation in spite of other Nigerians.
In his latest push, his agents assembled scores of paid young demonstrators of the Igbo origin under the aegis of National Youth League for Defence of Democracy on Thursday last week in Abuja and called for the immediate arrest and prosecution of the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, “over the manner he conducted the 2023 general elections”.
The protesters also urged President Muhammadu Buhari to put in place an interim government before leaving office on May 29.
Convener of the group, one Dr. Moses Paul, an Igbo man, described the polls as “one of the worst in the annals of Nigeria’s electoral practice”.
Paul called on the President to annul the elections, set up an interim government and appoint a new INEC chairman to conduct fresh polls, to complete Obi’s bellicose political business.
Another Igbo group based in New York, United States, tagged Nigerian American Coalition for Justice & Democracy (NACJD) that calls itself a non-partisan activist group, in a flyer on social media by one Franklin Ekechukwu, said it was planning a “World Press Conference and a Protest” in Washington DC about the outcome of the presidential election.
Of late, Ekechukwu had been circulating a false statement about the February 25th presidential election on social media, which another US-based pro-Tinubu group described as “misleading the unsuspecting members of the public by Obi’s ethnic jingoists allegedly sent to the White House and the US Congress, to discredit the election”, even though there was no evidence that such letters were ever written, delivered and acknowledged by the White House and the US Congress, more so that the United States and many other countries had separately congratulated the President-Elect, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and Vice President-elect, Senator Kashim Shettima, on their victory at the polls.
The so-called press conference and the protest said nothing about the results of the National Assembly elections that were conducted on the same day that returned Labour Party’s parliamentary candidates as winners, all in another attempt by Obi and his errant and belligerent followers to discredit the outcome of the presidential election and the person of Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
All these melodramatic stunts fuelled by obsession for power would never be allowed to turn Nigeria to another lust for Bathsheba, for we all recall what became the fate of the fruit of that audacious lechery motivated by David’s maniacal obsession for the pleasure of the body.
Nigeria is never a roadside, everyday mistress for the taste of every doorman with dark intentions. Tinubu and Shettima fit the bill to take Nigeria to greater heights of development and economic prosperity.
* Olujobi, former Deputy Director of Media and Publicity, Ekiti State APC Presidential Election Committee, writes from Ado-Ekiti