By Bola Bolawole
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You cross the line with the Obidients, as the supporters of Peter Obi, the Labour Party candidate in the February 25th presidential election call themselves, if you query the credentials of their Al Capone or disagree with their narrative of the presidential election, especially its outcome.
If you say Obi did not win or disagree with the riotous way they have since comported themselves, they will abuse the daylight out of you. They lack finesse. They lack civility. Be they educated, be they stark illiterate; their tactic is the same. Age and accomplishments do not in any way temper their rage. I have had my fair share of their effusive gibberish and it is a fearful lesson on how rapidly and unwholesomely people can degenerate once they suffer the seizure of vile propaganda, the type that Adolf Hitler, his propaganda chief Josef Goebbels, and the Nazis unleashed on the world during their Nazi rule in Germany, leading to the horrific termination of the lives of six million Jews in the most horrible circumstances that triggered the Second World War of 1939 – 1945 that cost a staggering 56 million lives.
It is certain the Obidients, the way they have comported themselves, will not mind throwing Nigeria into another civil war – but for the matured way other Nigerians have responded to their acts of provocation. Little wonder, they are now called the Obi-Idiots or Obidiots because the best of their arguments even by the best of their brains make no sense at all. And the reason is quite simple: Any edifice constructed with spittle will be brought down by dews!
The latest victim of the rage of the Obi-Idiots is Nobel Laureate, Prof. Wole Soyinka, the same man who spent two years in detention during the Nigerian civil war because he took the side of the Igbo against the Federal Government of Nigeria.
Soyinka recounted his loss during the detention thus: “I lost time; so many things (got) damaged. So many creative possibilities (were) retarded”. For speaking out against the excesses of the Obi-Idiots, they have, in the past few days, ceaselessly and mercilessly subjected WS, as Soyinka is fondly called, to withering attacks. This is a classical case of a Pharaoh that knew not Joseph! If we can excuse the army of uncouth Igbo traders, IPOB rag-rags, and the ill-educated and misdirected elites, what of the older generations of Igbo who ought to still remember the heroics of Soyinka on the side of the Igbo during the civil war? Someone said Soyinka crossed the line with the Igbo that day in 1986 when he, and not the Igbo’s own literary icon, Chinua Achebe, made history as the first Black man to win the Nobel prize in Literature! The Igbo will never forget and they will never forgive that “effrontery” as someone described it. Can this be true? The likes of Pa Ayo Adebanjo and his errant faction of Afenifere should watch it. The whip used to scourge the first wife lies in wait for the second! Bishop David Oyedepo of the Winners Chapel is, at the moment, paying his own price for allowing Obi to seemingly rope him in into an embarrassing telephone conversation controversy. Who is next?
Two analyses that clearly affirmed the widely accepted belief that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the said election and that Peter Obi did not, and could not have won it have been made by two other eminent personalities, one a foreigner and the other a Nigerian but both of them knowledgeable and illustrious. Hear them: “Professor of Law, Itse Sagay, SAN, has said that Bola Ahmed Tinubu won the presidential election due to three factors. Sagay on Sunday during a Channels Television interview monitored by DAILY POST said youths criticising the polls are ill-experienced in Nigeria’s elections. According to him, the February 25 presidential election is credible. Sagay also declared that those claiming electoral manipulations do not have evidence to show. ‘Most people who commented on the election are probably the youths who have not witnessed many elections in the history of Nigeria. This is the best election we have ever had, particularly those conducted by politicians. I believe this election was controlled by ethnicity, religion and capacity to organise. If you look at the results carefully, the man who performed credibly across board is Bola Ahmed Tinubu. There is no evidence of manipulation as claimed. Can you imagine Tinubu losing in Lagos State? That shows you the extent of credibility of the polls’”, he said.
Sagay has been an active pro-democracy crusader who, even as chairman of the ruling APC’s Presidential Advisory Committee against Corruption, was vocal in his criticism of the Buhari administration. The next personality is an American; hear him as he was reported by Premium Times: “How Tinubu won presidential election – American Observer. Johnnie Carson says Bola Tinubu has three things that his opponents did not have going to the presidential election. An American diplomat, and a foreign observer in the 2023 general elections, Johnnie Carson, says three factors were responsible for the victory of the President-elect, Bola Tinubu. Mr. Carson, an Executive Officer of the United States Institute of Peace (USIP), spoke in Washington DC when the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed, paid an official visit to the institute to engage on the concluded elections. The diplomat said he co-led the National Democratic Institute (NDI) and International Republican Institute (IRI), International Election Observation Mission to Nigeria during the elections. According to him, Mr. Tinubu, the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate, undoubtedly won the polls and will be sworn-in come May 29, except something happens dramatically with the court. ‘Do you know why he won? He got the money, he had the best national organisation that worked for him and the ground game’, he said.
Mr. Carson emphasised that for a candidate to win an election in Nigeria, like a lot of democracy in the globe, the three things, including substantial and significant financial resources, were needed. Others, according to him, are a national working organisation and a grassroots acceptance. He said while Mr. Tinubu had all the three criteria in his kitty during the polls, the other major contenders did not have all. Speaking specifically on the Labour Party presidential candidate, Mr. Carson said, ‘On the part of Mr. Peter Obi, he did not have the ground game and a national organisation. Obi is, however, very popular, particularly among the young, educated, urban and sophisticated’, he said. Mr. Carson said the presidential election was one of the most competitive polls in Nigeria and in Africa. He, however, observed that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) needed to up its game. ‘Nigeria deserves the very best electoral process. To me, the problem is not with Tinubu and the other candidates’”, he said.
I agree with the above assessments of the election; it was not perfect because there are no perfect elections anywhere but it was a fair reflection of the will of the electorate. It was also a marked improvement on previous elections here. I was particularly impressed with the emergence of what seemed like the long-awaited Third Force in Nigerian politics but from the starting line, I had my reservations about its leadership. And my worst fears eventually came to pass with the kind of selfish and I-alone leadership provided by Peter Obi. Like the Ghanaian novelist, Ayi Kwei Armah, lamented in “The Beautyful Ones are not yet born” the dream of a movement died a premature death in the hands of Peter Obi and his Obi-Idiots. The hopes of a rainbow coalition were dashed with an ethnic group appropriating what was meant to be a national effort. They acted selfish! They counted their chicks before they were hatched. And they lost everything! Was I surprised? Obi’s antecedents showed he could not give what he did not have but frustration with the status quo was what drove millions of Nigerians to cling to the straw that Obi offered as hope for the teeming millions of our youths to escape the rudderless leadership that has been the bane of this country. But to the discernible, Obi was not the answer. Yes, we have a problem but Obi, clearly, is not the solution. Nothing in his private and public life suggests that he is the Messiah that this country needs, to quote the very words of his backer, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, which he used during the June 12, 1993 saga to describe the winner of the presidential election of that year, Chief MKO Abiola.
Choosing Obi last February would have been tantamount to jumping from a frying pan right into the fire. Take, for example, the composition of his defence team to the tribunal where he is challenging the result of the presidential election. The first list he released was virtually all Igbo. With an outcry that this man’s nepotism will be worse than Buhari’s, he was forced to amend the list! Certainly, replacing Buhari with someone worse than Buhari will tip this country over the edge!
*Former Editor of PUNCH newspapers, Chairman of its Editorial Board and Deputy Editor-in-chief, BOLAWOLE was also the Managing Director/ Editor-in-chief of THE WESTERNER newsmagazine. He writes the ON THE LORD’S DAY column in the Sunday Tribune and TREASURES column in New Telegraph newspaper on Wednesdays. He is also a public affairs analyst on radio and television.
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