Few days to the beginning of electoral campaigns ahead of the 2023 general elections, a group of Nigerian professionals have floated a body called Professionals for Obi-Datti Presidency (PODP) which endorsed the presidential bid of Labour Party candidate, Mr. Peter Obi and his running mate, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
Justifying their decision, the group in a statement on Tuesday, remarked that the Obi-Datti presidential ticket represents competence, integrity, prudence, accountability, transparency and inclusiveness. They said these virtues are urgently needed in the country to reform the leadership ecosystem.
The group in a statement signed by its convener, Dr. Ben Chukwu, a Saudi Arabia-based medical expert, said the duo of Obi and Baba-Ahmed are different from the other presidential candidates and therefore their ticket offers a “a fresh breath into our staid politics of tribalism, nepotism and prebendalism that had hitherto wracked the nation’s leadership recruitment process, often leading to the ‘election’ of corrupt and incompetent people into positions of trust in Nigeria.”
“In these two, Nigerians have found good reasons to look forward to the future with hope and assurance of a better life. From their public and private lives, we are assured of the stellar services of two of Nigeria’s most accomplished public servants and businessmen – competent, honest, accountable and prudent. In them, we have two patriotic Nigerians with a mission to rebuild the country into a productive, wealth-creating nation boasting a huge, well-diversified economy that will no longer import everything it consumes and even consume more than it can afford.”
The body which comprises Nigerian professionals at home and in the Diaspora said their coming together is in response to what they see as a patriotic call to support the Obi-Datti ticket to win the 2023 presidential election, to rescue Nigeria from the clutches of poor leadership.
“As professionals living at home and in different countries of the world and plying our trades in environments conducive for our professions, we are supporting the Obi-Datti ticket because we believe that the incoming Labour Party government will make Nigeria better for us all and good enough for professionals to once again practise under conducive atmosphere and even for professionals who had left for greener pastures overseas to return.”
PODP appealed to all contending candidates to adopt issue-based approach in their campaigns address problems facing Nigeria and Nigerians and how they plan to solve tackle when elected into office rather than dissipating energy on empty political mudslinging.
“Nigerians want to know how the candidates plan to solve the country’s numerous socio- political and economic problems.
“Nigerians are no longer interested in where any candidate comes from; we are more interested in what the candidates have to offer, how they want to solve our problems,” Chukwu added.
The body however, warned that they would not fold their arms and watch any attempt by corrupt politicians and INEC officials, to compromise the election, advising those nursing such thought to perish it.
PODP also advised INEC to make all necessary arrangements and put all measures in place to ensure the conduct of free and fair election in 2023.
“While we commend INEC for the preparations so far, even amidst some of the observed hiccups, we, nevertheless, warn that INEC must do everything humanly possible to conduct free, fair and transparent elections next year. “The Commission must test-run its processes and equipment to ensure optimum performance of such processes and equipment ahead of the election. It must update the voters’ register to ensure that all who have registered to vote actually vote in the election.
“To the politicians, we have only this to say: perish the thought of rigging because we in the PODP, in concert with millions of other Nigerians, who are tired of your destructive tendencies will not fold our hands and watch you ruin our future and the future of our children and children’s children this time around.”
PODP interim secretary and Dallas, US-based Nurse Practitioner Lolo Kelechi Ogbuehi, stated that, Nigeria as a country endowed with oil and other natural resources, “should be leading in the world economy had we had good leadership.”
“It is, therefore, pertinent that we act together and save her by placing the right leader in power come 2023,” Ogbuehi added.
“His Excellency Peter Obi is the man that can do this job; he is proven and tested. Please, Nigerians, let us join hands wherever we are and make this happen. This is our last chance or we will have no Nigeria.”
Dr. Chukwu who thanked the members for their cooperations and commitment to the goal, noted “The good thing about PODP is that it comprises Nigerian professionals from different parts of the country.”
“We are all Obidients, which simply means that we are Nigerians who believe in Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed’s philosophy of unity in diversity, inclusiveness, prudence, transparency, accountability in governance, and economic development through production as the ingredients needed for the development and progress of Nigeria,” Dr. Chukwu declared in the statement.