“Obi’s latest political move contradicts his own gospel of being indispensable, and it hurts his credibility moving forward.”
Just a few days before his People’s Democratic Party (PDP) was due for its national convention, Nigerian presidential hopeful Peter Obi shocked his camp with an announcement. Mr. Obi announced his resignation from the party and also his withdrawal from the presidential race on his party’s slate. There were, however, rumors that he would join the Labour Party (LP) to continue his presidential ambition.
So, what are Mr. Obi’s excuses? Here is an excerpt from his resignation letter addressed to the party’s National Chairman Iyorchia Ayu:
“It has been a great honor to contribute to the nation-building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making constructive contributions…Our national challenges are deep-seated and require each of us to make profound sacrifices toward rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.”
The next question would be: Why would front running presidential candidate resign just a few days before the national convention, where his party would choose a presidential candidate to run in the election less than 10 months away?
It might suggest that this candidate is not ready for primetime; that he has no clue about his politics and cannot coordinate the complex reins that suffuse Nigeria’s political terrain. It contradicts his “holier than thou” electioneering gospel, leaving himself as the main enemy of his own philosophy. To make matters worse, his argument that disparities within the party would not deter his mission to rescue Nigeria further opens up his ideological anguish. He is simply professing that he could run in an election under any party, including the incumbent All Progressive Congress (APC)—a party he has spent months lampooning as a failed entity.
Days prior to his resignation, Obi arrived at the British Prime Minister’s residence at 10 Downing Street. He claimed that he was there to meet with officials but did not share the outcome of the meeting. Rather, he circulated photos of his visit on social media as campaign material.
He was recently busy in London doing a photoshoot with Prime Minister’s staff.
In my last article regarding this subject, I cited one of Obi’s flaws: he runs a weak campaign that lacks in strategies but feeds the audience with messages incompatible with situational reality. Where other contenders are focused on the politics of winning delegates, Obi is busy, trotting through states and cities promoting his self-proclaimed sainthood. He was recently busy in London doing a photoshoot with Prime Minister’s staff.
The delegate politics in any party primary election is crucial. In Nigeria, it’s hardball. According to Dr. Doyin Okupe, a senior special assistant for public affairs to former President Goodluck Jonathan, “Delegate elections are devoid of conscience, rational thinking, patriotism, or the principles of right or wrong.” (Guardian, May 23). Dr. Okupe also noted that 70–80% of delegates vote according to the dictates of their leaders. Most often, it has nothing to do with their personal convictions.
Indeed, Obi’s camp might still be waiting on him to open up in sincerity, that he resigned because he was convinced that he had lost the battle for winning delegates. He did not only lose the delegate battle but was completely subdued by the collaboration of Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers and Chief Chris Uba. This development was rightly echoed in a publication of ThisDay: “Uba is working for Wike. They want to influence the election of ad-hoc delegates, as this will help Uba himself, who is a senatorial aspirant…and [he will] also be able to influence the process enough to get delegates who will be loyal to his candidate, Wike, against Peter Obi.”
Delegate politics is simply an amoral process involving raw cash, influence, and egotism.
Obi is not new to Nigerian politics, nor about delegates and political parties. Definitely, it does not matter how many trips a candidate makes to 10 Downing Street. Delegate politics is simply an amoral process involving raw cash, influence, and egotism. Noted Dr. Okupe, “In the last PDP convention in Port Harcourt in 2019, most delegates went home with between $8,000 and $10,000. This year, the figures are bound to be higher. The big spenders are prepared to go as far as $10,000 per delegate.”
An average Nigerian politician is a dishonest soul with one mission—to defraud the system.
Please do not get me wrong. There is nothing right about an election process structured in bribery and corruption. Unfortunately, this has been the culture espoused by the Nigerian political sector. Also, there are no innocent politicians in Nigeria. An average Nigerian politician is a dishonest soul with one mission—to defraud the system. Consequently, an aspiring politician is a part of a potential scam risk waiting for an opportunity to do the same damage. Obi is not a saint. He is a Nigerian politician.
Analysts argue that his current position might earn him a position as a running mate for a major candidate. Others in his camp vow to support him irrespective of his decisions. Again, in Nigeria’s political arena, anything is possible. But Obi’s latest political move contradicts his own gospel of being indispensable, and it hurts his credibility moving forward.
♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015) and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: email@example.com
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