Peter Obi’s Presidential Ambition and Our Collective Amnesia
By Taiwo Adeleye
Most often , some leaders have deluded themselves into thinking that Nigerians are assailed by collective amnesia . They loiter at ethical crossroads instead of staying away from toxic relationship that can compromise their sainthood, if any . In so doing , they still want a primordial defence of their actions and expect the followers to overlook the contradictions in their characters .
The possibility for Peter Obi to achieve his presidential ambition in PDP morphed into a mirage in the wake of his withdrawal from the party’s presidential primary election just conducted over the last weekend. The former governor cited unethical heavy financial inducements of the delegates by the aspirants ; doctored and compromised delegates’ list , skewed towards a particular direction to achieve a desired result , among other nauseating and disgusting conducts . He maintained that he could not be part of the shenanigans that took place in the PDP where conscience was sold , integrity tainted and garment of honour stained . He wondered why presidential aspirants should pay as much as $20,000 to a delegate before they could secure his vote at the party’s primary, hence his immediate withdrawal from the presidential race .
This action has generated a riotous debate among a mote of political analysts as to whether or not it was a well thought out rational conduct . Obi wanted to be an oasis of renaissance in a desert ( party) of unbridled corruption because he felt he was the only candidate with the national bank of trust and credibility. What a grandiose delusion !
While I could not persuade Obi to be in amity or be conjuctive with criminality , however , to me , the credibility of the credentials he is flaunting has a question mark on its face value because one cannot understand why he did not pull out as Atiku’s running mate in 2019 presidential contest when Atiku was doling out ($10,000) bales of dollars to each delegate to win the PDP ticket . Or was it only Atiku who understood the language of monetary inducement then that paid all the bills without him contributing a dime to the collective pull used to buy the delegates while he looked the other way ?
Better still , could it be there was no brouhaha or shouting protest from the entertaining juvenile voice of the former governor from the roof top in 2019 because he was a beneficiary of the rotten process ? In actual fact , could Obi have even withdrawn if PDP had zoned its 2023 presidential slot to the South East when other presidential aspirants from the region were buying their votes with such humongous amount of money , especially if he was convinced that clinching the party ticket was almost certain for him ?
I don’t know if Obi can tell us that he wore a garment of moral sanctimony and got APGA approval on a platter of gold as two-term governor of Anambra State without paying a dime to defeat other aspirants ; or whether in his moral conscientization , all his budget proposals were approved throughout his tenure as governor without lining the pockets of the watchdogs – the ravens in the assembly who once showed him the suffocating effects of their gripping claws and piercing teeth through impeachment.
It is amusing that the former governor was fermenting a fundamental change through a narrow precinct of his thoughts and feelings and adopted a revolutionary approach replet with inflammatory rhetoric to win a big prize in his party without thinking of a possible kick in the teeth. He wanted to be a sanitized oasis in a vast desert of corruption and in a party full of inverted values , not knowing there is no shortage of thieves among those in position of honour. He believed he was forged on the anvils of principles , hence , he could not be swayed by the mere lure of power or lucre , unlike those who are confused and fumbling in the darkness of their blind ambitions . He realized too late that if the selpulchre is white and there is rottenness within , that it is not a holy temple . I think Obi should have agreed that he could probably not match the dollar rain of the ‘later rain’ political merchants , who called themselves messiahs , promising to change the present political narratives in a jiffy , if given the opportunity again , which they squandered and misused for 16 years in their first attempt . I don’t know the party of saints in Nigeria today that will accommodate Obi , where he will operate as a free agent without contending with the influence of the entrenched political hawks , either as power brokers , political contractors or rival political gladiators . A life time ablutions does not clean a man of his sins and impurities !
From all indications , Peter Obi was a reluctant and unprepared presidential contestant from the beginning . Not only did he join the race late , he did not bother to go beyond his South East enclave to solicit for votes from other regions . He relied on the region’s simplistic jingoistic sentiment in which the PDP presidential ticket was requested to be zoned to them for easy grab , from where he felt he could position himself to benefit . No doubt , the former governor is just crossing the corridor of political adulthood in his search for national relevance and prominence , and he has been thought that a man should only play the game he can win if he would not be made a pawn in his own chess game . Now that those who feel more entitled to our common patrimony are no longer capable of hearing alternative views other than those counseled by their ego and dictated by their self serving interests , which they have promoted over all other considerations including that of collective bargaining and common decency , should we not then sympathize with Obi as he sojourns in the sanctuary of the Labour Party which has always been a place of temporary political asylum and refuge for the wounded politicians for their psychological recuperation and mental invigoration for the duration of their political interregnum .
Presently there is no difference between PDP and APC , just like there is no difference between rogues , thieves and robbers . It is just a matter of semantics as they do graduate from the lower level to a higher echelon of roguery and robbery . Just as you cannot find the living among the dead , there is no saint among them. It is unfortunate , however , that we’re in a quagmire in our quest towards enduring political Eldorado . As PDP is now playing opposition , you can see them pontificating their dogmatic beliefs with supercilious pomposity, pretending to wear garland of distinction in their deceptive disposition in order to curry public sympathy , whereas , when they got hold of the country in the jugular , with a firmer grasp and a steadier insight into its confounding intricacies and profound unsettling dynamics , they forgot the fetching symbol of national rejuvenation which they promised during campaigns . And it is lamentable they were untouched by the pains of our afflictions .
As we cry out from this type of democracy that is providing occupational refuge for social miscreants and pretenders at the
corridors of power , may God answer our prayers from the mix feelings of agonizing inadequacy and perpetual abandonment so that we can affright the imperious lions gyrating in our political landscape for the speedy liberation and emancipation of the oppressed.
Taiwo Adeleye writes from Lagos !