2023: Peter Obi’s Option of Labour Party is an Attack on Nigeria
By Ebuka Onyekwelu
Peter Obi’s decision on Labour Party-LP, might be one of the most serious political confrontations Nigeria is facing in recent memory.
Although Obi’s presidential bid in LP faces one major challenge which is time, yet, it is clearly antagonistic to the known Nigerian system. There is also the challenge that bothers on if Obi’s move was born out of conviction or convenience. Therefore, a few comments against Peter Obi’s option of Labour Party as an act of political expediency, have expression in reason, but not weighty enough to wither the formidability of Obi’s move. If we, more critically subject Peter Obi’s governance style to question, there are bound to be holes. But, such high standard are often kept for the best among the pack. There are no saints in Nigerian politics. But there are people who can put the fundamentals in proper place, so other things can follow. Nigerians must work with the best they can afford per time because progress is incremental, not magical. On the other hand, nobody cares to hold Alhaji Tinubu or Atiku, to the same standard with Peter Obi. The reason is that no one bothers with a lost case. As of now, there are two Presidential Candidates who have an unequal, but fair national recognition; Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for PDP, and Peter Obi for LP. Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso is yet to emerge as NNPP’s candidate. Amongst these persons under
these parties, most people will freely bet on Peter Obi as a better option that signifies renaissance in Nigeria’s political life. If the APC resolves on Tinubu, or Chibuike Amaechi or Ahmed Lawan, Obi still, most people will argue, is far better.
However, while it is hardly in contest if Peter Obi is better amongst the pack, getting Labour Party into mainstream politics as a party with structure that can win a presidential election is daunting. At the moment, Labour Party does not have the membership that can comfortably deliver on that mandate. This therefore demands some sort of social engineering to build the enabling structure. With only about eight months to the Presidential Election, there are glimpses of hope, notwithstanding how slim and this rattles the establishments. The LP must be aided by Peter Obi’s supporters to build the required roots across all the local governments and wards in all parts of Nigeria. If building foothold in all wards and local governments prove an impossible task, then a careful strategic approach in which potential strongholds are strengthened to secure every single vote that can be secured and also create a new voting demographic in millions, may suffice. The new voting demographic is already a work in progress with the way people are rushing to register and get their PVCs. But win or lose, within the context of clamour for Nigeria’s president of Igbo extraction, it is pertinent that the traditional Nigerian political establishments are challenged. For this task, no other Igbo politician has enough national goodwill and relevance, including the burdensome finance it may require in funding, more than Peter Obi. This challenge is long overdo, it is a task that must be championed in a deliberate effort to change the country’s political equation.
In truth, the abusive political establishments should not go into the 2023 general election unchallenged. Southeast Igbos and lovers of equity and fair play, must be given an opportunity to express their reservations about the choice of candidates and processes of emergence in the two dominant political parties which have become careless and unyielding to the demands and aspirations of the people. And so, there is just no way the impunity should be allowed to continue. What Obi will do with Labour Party will leave a lasting legacy, even if he fails to secure the Presidency. It can form the basis for a serious disruption of political arrangements in various states which will displace agents of tyranny masquerading as political parties in Nigeria’s democracy. Most importantly, the people will be given
a viable alternative, so that their choices are not limited by the dominance of the old political order.
In 2023, Peter Obi’s Labour Party will begin the surgical procedure of shifting guess from PDP and APC dichotomy, to a third option which APGA has been unwilling to provide for over sixteen years. Once the LP is able to source and field credible candidates for various elective positions, even if it falls short of winning the presidency, the party will make gains that will serve as a foothold for displacing Nigeria’s prevailing political order which has hijacked its democracy and has left the country directionless.
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