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The pothole we fail to see

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Any keen watcher of Nigerian Twitter political space will notice an increasing number of attacks from PDP members and supporters against Peter Obi, the Presidential candidate of the Labour Party. It is not far-fetched to surmise that the attacks are coordinated and orchestrated.

Considering that the presidential election has ended, and results declared, what could be responsible for the new – found vigor of the PDP and its Twitter horde?

This question is pertinent considering that nothing they say will have any effect on the proceedings at the Presidential Election Petition Court (PEPC).

So, what do they want?

To get at this, one must also consider the statement attributed to a Labour Party gubernatorial candidate in Oyo state to the effect that Bola Tinubu of the APC convicted Pat Utomi to give up the LP Presidential ticket to Obi. According to the report, Tinubu knew that Obi had a better chance of damaging Atiku Abubakar’s Presidential bid than Utomi.

So, what is their objective?

The answer to this question is where many OBIdients miss it.

I must commend the PDP for the game they are playing at this time. For the first time in this election cycle, they are being proactive and strategic.

Having carefully studied the proceedings at the PEPC, they have come to two conclusions:

  1. Tinubu is not likely to escape all the grounds for disqualification as contained in the LP Petition.
  2. While LP may easily prove substantial non – compliance by INEC, it may not so easily prove that it won.

So, they see a run-off election between Obi and Atiku. That’s the battle for which they’ve commenced preparation.

So, where’s the pothole?

Why did so many Nigerians flock to Obi, to the extent of rejecting monetary inducement from other candidates?

The answer is hope and belief.

Obi gave them hope that Nigeria can be mended. And they bought it without reservation.

They believe that Obi won the presidential election. They believe that he can prove it. And the only fair judgment they are expecting at the tribunal is an outright declaration of Obi as the winner.

That is also the narrative many of those they follow and listen to on Twitter have been selling to them. In my opinion, it’s a flawed strategy and an act of self-immolation.

What happens if the PEPC disqualifies Tinubu and others in a run-off election between Obi and Atiku?

There will be huge disappointment across the nation. Hope will be lost. Trust will be eroded. They that hitherto believed that Nigeria still has a chance may give up.

The consequence is that if offered money in the run-off election, they may happily accept because they believe that it doesn’t matter since the country is lost.

Every serious OBIdient knows that Atiku and Tinubu represent two sides of the same coin.

The question the confused OBIdient will ask over and over again is this: If they so blatantly rigged the first election, what will stop them from rigging this one? Are we to head back to the PEPC after the run-off?

What I call activism fatigue will set in, and Atiku may win.

So, what should be done?

Understand the game of the PDP, and guard against over-confidence and the consequent complacency.

Change the narrative and inform followers of the possibilities. Get them mentally ready to stand fast if there is a run-off election.

It will be a colossal mistake to hang all hopes on an outright victory. It may happen, but …

Even in Port Harcourt, LP did not have enough agents on the ground during the last presidential election. The only witnesses acceptable at the Tribunal are INEC officials, the Police and party agents. Voters served as unofficial agents for LP. But they cannot testify in the Tribunal.

If INEC refuses to provide the BVAS data, the outcome may be nullification. But Obi cannot be declared the victor unless it is proven that he scored the highest number of votes and met the required spread.

The ‘not less than 25% in the FCT’ provision is already an assurance of nullification.

While hoping for a victory, we need to start preparing for a run-off election.

PDP is already at work. Having seen this pothole from afar, it will be a shock if it damages our vehicle.

We are in a marathon; not a sprint.

(CONTRIBUTED)

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