The New Year Day Letter to Nigerians by former President Olusegun Obasanjo expressing support for the Presidential ambition of Mr Peter Obi does seem to ruffle many feathers in most political camps. Essentially, the endorsement of any Presidential candidate has always redefined a tipping point of where Former Nigerian leaders stand.
Who former retired Generals and officers of the rank and file want signposts the candidate that the elders of Nigeria want the international community to adopt as Nigeria’s next President.
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It is obviously an attempt to revisit, review and revamp the post-civil war rhetoric of “No victor, No vanquished”
By endorsing Peter Obi as his preferred Presidential candidate, Obasanjo deployed an eclectic euphemism in saying that his choice is “a needle with a thread between North and South.”
Inferentially, Obasanjo’s endorsement is aimed at: Mending Nigeria back to form; sowing Nigeria back to original shape; tacking up disaggregated national policies and visions (2000, 2010, 2020) that have remained unachievable till date; parching up a nation in distresses, disunity, divisions and disillusion by consistent misgovernment since 1970.
Obasanjo’s endorsement is based on an acronym he tagged, “T.V.C.P” which stands for Track record, Vision, Competence and Physical/Mental strength.
Ex-President Obasanjo as former war veteran, national leader, elder statesman and international figure, is not just a custodian of several voting blocs but a great influencer of major opinions within Nigeria’s power circles.
Former President Obasanjo influenced and transferred power to Alhaji Shehu Shagari in 1979. He helped legitimise the military presidency of General Ibrahim Babagida by his constant criticisms and open Letters. He supported and positioned his acolyte General Shehu Musa Yar Adua in 1993 transition programme before IBB botched the process.
Obasanjo was returned to power in 1999 based on personal recognition, experience, status and pacifism.
Former President Obasanjo single-handedly installed Governor Umoru Yar Adua and Goodluck Jonathan as President in 2007 and 2010.
He was also privy to the emergence of Buhari Presidency through subtle support for the APC and disavowal of Ex-President Jonathan’s second term bid.
Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi for President toes the path of justice, equity, fairness and inclusion in national political equations to create a balance in national acceptability and nation building.
The choice of Peter Obi goes beyond supporting a President of Igbo extraction to assuage the misgivings of Igbo about national leadership inclusion, but more to the fact of qualification, competence, integrity, capacity, sincerity, and track record exhibited by the credentials, pedigree and profile of Peter Obi.
Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi’s Presidential candidature goes beyond mere celebrity endorsement but an authentic rebooting of national consensus of power loci and geopolitical integration of national leadership by informed stakeholders in the Nigerian project.
Finally, there is no doubt that Obasanjo’s endorsement of Peter Obi points to an eventual electoral victory that will lead to oath taking and swearing in ceremony of a tortuous journey set before Nigerians in 2023.