Everybody is bemoaning Peter Obi’s loss at the polls last week, without taking time to evaluate the wins. No doubt, not just the Obidients and Labour Party members, many Nigerians are in pensive mood.
Using the term, ‘loss’ to qualify what happened on February 25, can only aggravate the already bad mood. Quite frankly, I had hard time deciding on the term, but, limited grasp of the English vocabulary, left me with no choice. I am not dull. For instance, in the mother tongue wherein my thoughts are first created, I could volunteer a hundred synonyms of the term without blinking an eye, but, just like the presidential election result shoved down our throats, I’m forced to communicate with my fellow countrymen in a foreign language – a language that isn’t ours.
Be that as it may, Obi was not declared winner, but, by all standards, he didn’t lose the election. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Tinubu, the candidate of the APC did not win. We must understand that in our clime, one could win the votes, but, still lose the election – based on technicalities. Here are two candidates that have won in the same election. The difference, is that, while one prepares to lead, the other prepares for the court. I may need explanation on the difference between technicality and illegality and which of them best explains what happened to the votes Nigerians cast on Saturday.
Enough of the rigmarole, the point here is that some things in Nigeria are and cannot be observed with clear eyes- including the just concluded election. However, it’s not totally bad for the Obidients, as the Labour Party (LP) supporters would love to be addressed. Indeed, they recorded an impressive outing like never seen in the history of Nigeria’s democracy. Like a hurricane they took Lagos, Abuja and many other cities in Nigeria. The most terrifying of them all is Enugu State where LP swept all the National Assembly positions except one, Nkanu East/Nkanu West constituency.
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The newly elected members of the house of representatives are Umeha Sunday (Ezeagu/Udi Constituency), Chimaobi Sam Atu (Enugu North/Enugu South), Okechukwu Tobias Tobi (Aninri/Awgu/Oji River), Nnamchi Paul Sunday (Enugu East/Isi-Uzo), Nwodo Stainless Chijioke (Igbo-Etiti/Uzo-Uwani), Dennis Agbo (Igbo-Eze North/Udenu), and Obetta Mark Chidi (Nsukka/Igbo-Eze South)
These are vibrant, and energetic young men ready to serve. The fact that these young men defeated the older and seasoned politicians speak volumes about the revolution that the Peter Obi factor has brought to the State and Nigeria. These were the initiators and front runners of the “we no dey give shishi”. This pidgin clause is used to describe Peter Obi’s aversion to money politics. In my estimation, these men, like their leader are rich not by primitive or roguish accumulation of wealth, but, by hard work. Yet, they believe that public office is a call to serve and therefore, isn’t such that should be gotten through bribery and financial inducements.
No doubt, the older politicians didn’t give them a chance. In actual sense, no one would give such group of politicians a thought in a society reeking of poverty, corruption and frustration. Unlike in Lagos, the politicians in Enugu State didn’t bother about them, because, they still believed that it would be business as usual. Why should they, when they possessed the money and the structure, coupled with the fact that Enugu had been a PDP State since the return to democracy in 1999. Not even, Denis Agbo and Tobi Okechukwu, who were seasoned legislators before joining LP could scare them. The reason is simple, before now, most elections were decided at the government house. Everybody waited for the governor to declare his support for a candidate and everybody queues behind the person. This time, the governor was the first casualty. He had his senatorial ambition dashed. But, for the murder of Oyibo Chukwu, Labour Party Senatorial candidate for Enugu East, Chimaroke Nnamani, the former governor of the State, would have had a tough fight on 25th February 2023.
Obi, the new boy on the bloc, deserves some accolades. I’m sure that those that taunted Obidients for campaigning for a leader that may not have Senators and Reps to work with it, are still in shock. This is just the beginning, I foresee a replication of what happened at the presidential poll, during the governorship election on March 11, 2023.
Surely, all the governors in the Southeast, are already jittery, because, they have taken the people for a ride for too long. At my grandmother’s burial yesterday, one of my relatives told me that his friends are voting for Edeoga, the Labour Party governorship candidate for Enugu. On further enquiry, I realized that among all the party candidates, he only knows the name of Peter Mbah of the PDP and Chijioke Edeoga of LP, but, knows nothing about their credentials or pedigree. He will simply vote for Edeoga, because, he belongs to Peter Obi’s party. Interesting!
That singular encounter with my distant relative motivated this article.
For the avoidance of doubt, I’m not affiliated to any political party, but, I support social courses, like the one Peter Obi represents. For this reason, I had been melancholic since the announcement of the presidential election results, but, our discussion made me to realize that Peter Obi didn’t lose, after all.
Dr Onyike is a Senior Lecturer at Dominican University, Ibadan.