First salvo: Just after he dumped the Peoples Democratic party over “recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions”, the sweet-speaking former governor of Anambra State jumped ship to the Labour Party , declared his interest in contesting the presidency, and got the ticket on a platter.
Only for a while.
Barely had the celebratory hurrah began than the realities of intra-party haggling for power began to dawn on him and his associates.
Just as he celebrated and announced the birth of what was going to be a new Nigeria under his new party, another faction of the Labour Party had taken over the media space with the announcement of a former Anambra state chairman of the party, Jude Ezenwafor as the authentic presidential candidate of the party.
It took some intense legal manoeuvering, coupled with INEC pronouncement to lend eligibility to Peter Obi’s candidacy.
It remains to be seen if this would still be contested in court.
For the Obidients, it must be increasingly obvious that the messianic hurrah of their charismatic candidate is not enough to cure the intense political horsetrading that comes with political aspirations in the country.
For a political party that boasts of zero governors, zero members of house of reps and the Senate and no high-ranking political gladiator, one would have thought that the entry of the sensational Peter Obi would bring an end to all forms of infighting and automatically sanitize the party.
For the Peter Obi train, it must consider how, for all of his Social Media hurrah and bluster, no major political office holder has defected to the party to achieve his or her political aspiration.
For example, the New Nigeria People’s party which has been instantly taken over by the sweeping Kwankwasiyya movement led by a former Governor of Kano State, Dr. Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, has been able to poach a former governor, Ibrahim Shekarau, former and incumbent Senators and House of Representative members, including a former gubernatorial candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party , Engineer Abba Kabir Yusuf.
At present, in Kano and some states of the North West, the feelers is that The New Nigerian People’s Party has effectively supplanted the People’s Democratic Party as the major opposition force in the region.
Take a look at this: Peter Obi’s historical sojourn in Nigeria’s politics, however promising his antecedents have looked, does not in any way suggest that of a political gladiator with the capability to upturn the old order.
For a two term governor that has traversed the All Progressives Grand Alliance, the Peoples Democratic Party and now the Labour Party, Peter’s Obi’s footprints surely suggest that of a politician still in search of a place to call home.
Second salvo: Just as the Obidients touted his unifying abilities and cosmopolitan Nigerianness, Peter Obi, just on Friday, announced Doyin Okupe as his Vice Presidential Candidate.
For a nation indeed tottering on the brink of existential crisis occasioned by a North-South divisiveness, one would have thought the millennial messiah, Obi, would consider this disparity and balance his ticket with a Northern candidate.
If any of the defence of his nominee, Doyin Okupe and his social media army is anything to go by, Doyin, a yesterday’s man and serial political appointee in the PDP years is only a placeholder, a new vocabulary introduced into the increasing collection of our national political lexicon.
Okupe, it must be emphasized, cannot boast of delivering the Remo/Sagamu axis of Ogun where he hails from to the Labour Party
The fact that Peter Obi, as a presidential nominee, has been unable to , weeks after his presidential nomination, put up an acceptable, intellectually sound Northerner to join his ticket shows that he is not in any way prepared for governance.
Afterall, the task of nominating a vice presidential candidate is one known to every potential presidential aspirant long ago.
Claims of placing a placeholder while Obi continues his elusive search reeks of indecisiveness, a trait that the social media train of Obidients have long criticized in political leaders of the major parties.
From Twitter to Facebook, the most nauseating reality to Peter Obi’s adherents appears to be the word ‘Structure’.
They rain and curse, swear and threaten to tear into pundits who try to point their attention to the necessity of well-funded, oiled political machinery across the rural communities in across the country.
The latest anthem is that the millions of Nigerians, from the streets to the churches, from the offices to the hospitals would constitute the ‘structure’ on which Peter Obi would attain the presidency, the same one a well-known Political gladiator and his acknowledged political leader, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has sought for over three decades, across mainstream and fringe parties.
But it isn’t that simple.
The Labour Party might have gained traction on Social Media. However, this is no America.
It is very common for Peter Obi’s believers to situate the upcoming 2023 presidential electioneering context to that of the highly successful Barrack Obama ‘Change we can believe in’ campaign.
That campaign, despite all odds, utilized the Social Media to sell the candidacy of a young, charismatic Obama in a highly diverse country.
However, it needs reminding that the Obama presidential campaign only worked in a nation where Social Media accessibility was pervasive, even down to the rural counties and communities.
Nigeria is a nation of the rural, where major industrial economic activities occur in the urban areas but political and civic participation is mostly effective in the rural areas.
The rural communities have a huge chunk of their voters as the elderly ones, who see voting rights as a ritual that must not be missed. Historically, these seemingly inaccessible and unreachable elderly ones attend ward meetings of the mainstream parties, swear allegiances and mobilize their immediate and extended households on voting day.
For the Obidients train, if the elections were only going to be conducted in the highbrow areas of Lagos, Abuja, Asaba, Port Harcourt and of course Social Media, Obi would be declared president before 12 noon.
However, fortunately for us all and unfortunately for them, democracy is all encompassing, and projects only the winning voice of the majority, without respect to location, education or Social Media saviness.
It is a bitter pill to swallow.
But however you see it, the Peter Obi’s Kite cannot fly. Not just yet.