For every serious country, there comes a time when citizens yearn for change; for a revolution. Nigeria has reached that stage. Since 1960, when the country gained independence from Britain, it has been swimming from one river of crisis to another. Today, it has almost reached a dead end. The future looks very bleak and scary. But, amid these fears and uncertainties, many Nigerians have come to the realization that there is one little hope – the 2023 general election.
That hope is hinged on one man: Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate. I consider him the number one hero in the battle to rescue Nigeria from drowning. His wise decision to join the Labour Party, when it became obvious that the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was plotting to hand over its presidential ticket to the highest bidder, rekindled the hope of many Nigerians.
The warm reception Obi receives in many parts of the country attests to the fact that he has become a Nigerian project. This is not because he has more money than other major candidates. It is not because he is a saint. It is because, among the other candidates, he is the one Nigerians can trust. He has the character and competence. And his stewardship when he was the governor of Anambra State stands him out among his peers. For instance, never in the history of this country has it happened that a governor, after eight years in office, and after giant strides in providing dividends of democracy, still left over N75 billion savings for his successor. He has not even collected a dime as pension when many of his peers collect humongous life pensions annually. Obi is a study in humility, prudence, transparency, good governance and philanthropy.
Little wonder many Nigerian youths don’t joke with him. Most of these youths have suffered all sorts of deprivations in the hands of our rulers, past and present. Those in public universities have had to contend with incessant strikes by university unions. When they finally graduate from school, there is hardly any job for them. This is why most of these youths have decided to take back their country through Obi. They call themselves Obi-dients and they brook no nonsense from anybody. For their tenacity; for holding self-sponsored rallies for Obi and his deputy, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed; and for tagging along with Obi-Datti despite intimidation and financial inducement from the major parties, these youths deserve a place in our 2023 hall of fame.
Also deserving of profuse praise is Chief Ayo Adebanjo, the leader of the Yoruba socio-political group, Afenifere. This noble man and his group stood against all odds to endorse Obi, an Igbo man, for the 2023 election. Ordinarily, Afenifere, being a Yoruba group, will support a Yoruba man. In the forthcoming election, a Yoruba man, Bola Tinubu, is the candidate of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC). This notwithstanding, Pa Adebanjo and his group have remained steadfast on the side of equity, truth, fairness and principle. They say for the sake of equity, the 2023 presidency should go to the South-East which has not produced a president since the return of democracy in 1999. Most of those who oppose Adebanjo are imprisoned by their selfish interests. My prayer is that the man should continue to enjoy sound health so he could see the Nigeria of his dreams!
The Secretary General of Afenifere, Sola Ebiseni, deserves some praises here as well. This man would have been swayed by the antics of some regional warriors if he doesn’t have strength of character. As he put it in a recent interview with Arise TV, “If the presidential candidate of the PDP wins, you will have created an impression in this country that, notwithstanding your feelings, a person of northern extraction can be president of Nigeria no matter what anybody says. If the presidential candidate of the APC wins, you will now have a trajectory of rotation between the Yoruba and the Fulani. Peter Obi’s candidacy is a revolution to change Nigeria.”
The President and General Overseer of Evangelical Bible Outreach Ministries International (EBOMI), Prophet Isa El-Buba, agrees with this position. Unlike many of our latter-day prophets who only sow where they hope to reap bountifully, El-Buba pitched his tent with Obi even when his tribesman, Kashim Shettima, is the running mate to the APC candidate. Recently, the prophet unequivocally declared that “anybody who said Obi does not have support from the North is deceiving himself; we will shock them during the election.” If all prophets and pastors are as resolute and principled as this man, the race to heaven will be easier for many people. I doff my hat for him.
I also salute the social rights activist, Aisha Yesufu. Here is a woman who has dropped every primordial sentiment to give her full support for Obi. If it’s for pecuniary gains, she surely would have supported a fellow Muslim with huge war chest for the forthcoming election. But, her support is for equity, accountability, prudent management of resources and good governance. According to her, 2023 election is an election for survival. “We are not only voting for ourselves, we are voting for our children and our grand children, and the generation yet to come. We want Peter Obi in office, I will hold him accountable. We will ensure he works for the people.” For consistently fighting for a just cause and standing on the side of truth, Aisha deserves a place in our hall of fame.
Our next hero is President Muhammadu Buhari. Yes, Buhari! Despite his failings as President, Buhari has made one major promise to Nigerians: free and credible election in 2023. He has used any opportunity he has to drum it into our ears that he would not interfere in the electoral process. Good enough, he is not contesting. So, he has nothing to lose. If he succeeds in leaving that legacy for Nigeria in 2023, we may forgive all his sins while in power. From the successful conduct of the latest off-season elections, it is becoming increasingly obvious that Mr. President is serious with his promise. Security agencies should take a cue and do the needful during and after the elections.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Professor Mahmood Yakubu, should also do the needful. Though the election is yet to take place, he deserves encouragement for what he has done so far and to make him to remain resolute in doing the right things. His latest moves appear to have unsettled election riggers who were reported to be plotting his removal. The man says the use of Bimodal Voter Accreditation System (BVAS) has come to stay and no weapon fashioned against it by election manipulators will prosper. Ride on, Prof. Yakubu.
There are many other individuals and groups that have vowed to take back Nigeria from the vicious grip of vampire bats and bullion van politicians. Most Nigerians in the Diaspora and many Peter Obi Support Groups are among them. These groups, even without any financial support from the Labour Party or Obi, have put in their time and resources to ensure that Nigeria survives in 2023 and beyond. They deserve our salute. In the fullness of time, history will recognize all those who, today, are playing prominent roles in the enthronement of an egalitarian society in Nigeria. Hope you will be among them.
Re: NACS: Fighting corruption with bare hands
Brazil serves as an admirable example of where the Laws are truly supreme and no respecter of anyone, including its former presidents: and, remarkably, where an ex-president is returned to office via an overwhelming voice of the people, even after serving a jail term. Even as the conviction of the Brazilian ex-president-now president-elect-was said to be tainted with malice, the two-pronged lesson put forward by the Brazilian experience is not lost at all. One; If we have a Brazilian system where its Laws have no eyes to recognize, adore and or shy away from making a former president accountable for his direct and indirect acts of sleaze, then the Brazilian breaking news would be a regular occurrence in Nigeria. Two: The outcome of the Brazilian presidential election is a clear proof of the overriding force of the voice of the people in a truly democratic setting. Jailing a former president for corruption in Nigeria remains a ‘mission impossible’ so long as we are tribally-inclined and governed by ‘Two sets of Laws’-one for the rich, powerful and untouchable, and the other for the little and underprivileged Nigerians.
-Edet Essien Esq@Cal.South, +234 810 809 5633
Dear Casmir, it’s woeful that corruption has been treated with lips service since Independence. According to a platform message; in Japan corrupt people kill themselves; in China they are executed but in Nigeria they simply present themselves for leadership.
– Cletus Frenchman Enugu, +234 909 538 5215
Dear Casy, the re-election of Luiz as President of Brazil is informed by the fact that, in the minds of the Brazilians, the man must have been purified by the prison ordeal and, so, would serve them better this time round, unlike here in Nigeria where the prison term, if at all it would take place, would rather harden the former President such that he would become unabashed. In those climes, present in their fight against corruption are, to wit: (1) Sincerity: there is sincerity both on the part of leaders and the led. (2) Discipline: the citizens and their leaders are disciplined as both are subjected to same ethical standards and same sanctions in the event of any breach. No selectivity or witch-hunting. The two points above further lead to objectivity, honesty, transparency, and integrity. Absent in the fight against corruption in those ideal climes are: nepotism, favouritism, clannishness, selectivity, witch-hunting. In our beleaguered nation, what we have in the so-called fight against corruption is akin to someone setting exams for himself. Therefore, a thousand and one NACs would make no impact because the whole fight is bugged by insincerity, witch-hunting, selectivity and needless red tape.
-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731.
Casmir, whether NACS and other government anti-corruption agencies will be potent or not in their fight against corruption, is subject to the body language of the head of government at any point in time; that is the president in the case of Nigeria. If, wherever and whenever the body language of Mr. President is right, corruption gets a bloody nose. But, if not, corruption would walk tall and continue to ‘do yanga’ with Nigeria inside the ring as we say in local parlance. For corruption not to thrive, PMB and our future presidents must have zero tolerance for corruption. But, unfortunately two candidates in the forthcoming elections don’t inspire confidence and leaves much to be desired! They love ‘filthy lucre’. One of the leading candidates is a beneficiary of ‘highly compromised delegates’. They love ‘vain glory’ forgetting that ‘all is vanity upon vanity’!
-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572
Dear Casy, your thought firmly synchronizes with mine that the news of your current piece is not the return of Lula as president. The news is the jailing of a former Brazilian president for corruption. But in Nigeria there seems to be an Unwritten Law that gives members of the exclusive club of Nigeria’s past presidents a life immunity. Besides, the EFCC and ICPC are not independent, and Nigerians have no say in who heads these anti-corruption agencies. The anti-corruption agencies are the enduring structures of the former presidents which are occasionally used for the wrong reason of harassing their political enemies. The so-called anti-corruption and political structures are what Peter Obi calls Structures of Corruption. So, how will our former presidents be held accountable by the very structures that they installed?
-Ediye James, +234 805 661 5168
- Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, November 21, 2022