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Obi’s victory would be a victory for equity, justice and inclusion — By Moses Ochonu


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As a Peter Obi supporter, the biggest error you can commit is to deify or beatify Peter Obi.

Someone on my timeline said Peter Obi is a man of impeccable character and unparalleled competence who will rescue Nigeria from this Buhari/APC mess.

Wow, really? After our experience with Buhari and his well-packaged but fraudulent political sainthood? Have we not learned anything from that debacle?

Peter Obi has several faults. He exaggerates. He sometimes lies. He was the best governor among his cohort, but he also made some common, forgivable mistakes of governance. He has opportunistically criss-crossed Nigeria’s political party spectrum in search of power.

This makes Peter Obi more a typical politician than an outside agent of political disruption.

But there is no doubt that, of the three viable candidates presented to Nigerians for next year’s election, he is by far the best, all things considered. It’s not even close.

Unfortunately, better rarely wins in politics. If that were not the case, my friend Omoyele Sowore would probably already be president of Nigeria and would be campaigning for a second term.

Obi should be judged in comparison to his fellow major candidates and not by some abstract or fantastical standard. As I tell my students who complain about their grades, I am grading your paper not only on its merits but also in relation to other papers in the assignment pool.

Peter Obi’s candidacy is an overall plus for Nigeria at this time. It takes away the deceptive excuses of those who used to say the Igbo should advance a good candidate if they want the presidency.

Should he win, an Obi presidency would be the biggest reconciliatory and integrative development since the civil war, a war whose aftermath circumscribed the Igbo people in a second class political citizenship and made them the subjects of political mistrust, suspicion, and blatant marginalization.

Obi’s victory would also be a victory for equity, justice, inclusion, and nation-building as it would bring the Igbo into Nigeria’s political mainstream, reassure them of their place in Nigeria, and pull the rug from under the Biafra separatists.

An Obi presidency would of course be stymied by Nigeria’s unitary structure and the elite consensus that promotes equal opportunity corruption and waste, but if there’s anyone in the political mainstream and in the realm of viable presidential candidacy who has the antecedent and capacity to set the right tone of leadership from the top, which could then filter down, it is Peter Obi.

Other similarly capable people with little to no ethical baggage are unfortunately outside the mainstream and are not viable presidential candidates.

Plus, there’s an argument to be made that we have tried the PDP and APC, and both failed Nigeria, the latter even more spectacularly than the former, so it makes sense to move in a different party trajectory and hopefully with a new, more youthful, energetic, and driven crop of leaders, hungry to make a difference.

An Obi presidency would therefore kill three or four birds with one stone for Nigeria.

But he is neither a messiah nor a man without flaws and deficits. Nor would his good intention and good rhetoric be enough to dig Nigeria out of the abyss into which Buhari/APC plunged her.

Given this reality, it is prudent to simply say Peter is better and leave it at that. There is no need to go overboard and constitute another annoying group of worshipful supporters. We had that with the Buharists/BMC and we’re still recovering from that menace.

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