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The Man Called Peter Obi

Uncle Needle

Feb 11, 2023

Upcoming Podcast Discussion

Peter Gregory Obi is a Nigerian politician and successful businessman who served as governor of Anambra state ( A state in the south eastern part of Nigeria)

He hails from Agulu, Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra state.

Obi is a Catholic Church Papal Knight of the Order of St. Sylvester.

Why are we discussing Peter Obi on our Podcast?

Peter Obi is one politician that has really set himself apart from the "usual Nigerian politician", by his conduct when he was in office between 14 June 2007 – 17 March 2014, although his time as governor saw him removed on two occasions ( because of his frugal management of the state's resources) he turned out to be a very succesful governor; improving health , education, HDI in his state. Obi left large amounts of money in the state's coffers at the end of his tenure; monies that were later used by his successor to build an airport. Peter Obi is one of the front runner in the upcoming Nigerian elections of 2023

In October 2020, young Nigerians took to the streets to protest against the Special Anti-Robbery Squad, a Nigeria Police Force unit notorious for illegal detention, torture, extortion and killings. 

They demanded an end to police brutality but found themselves on the receiving end of state violence, culminating in the reported killing of at least 12 protesters by soldiers at Alausa and Lekki Toll Gate in Lagos. 

The government may have quelled the protests but they had ignited a political consciousness. With 70% of the population under the age of 30, this can be a powerful force for any politician who can harness it.

Enter Obi. With his reputation for good governance and his disdain for the trappings of office, he represented a far more plausible candidate for change than either Tinubu or Atiku, both of whom are mired in corruption allegations. 

Over the past few weeks, Obidients have taken to the streets, flying the Labour Party flag over Lagos, funding billboards emblazoned with Obi’s face and donating offices across the country to be used for campaign planning and coordination. Logistical support too has come from the Nigerian diaspora, which is why events like the one in Los Angeles are so important to his campaign.

His main rivals remain better funded and organised. The APC and the PDP have national reach developed over years, and can call on many political heavyweights in support of their respective causes.

Obi is unfazed, he insisted in June when he received the Labour Party nomination to run for president. “The 100-million Nigerians who live in poverty will be the structure. The 35-million Nigerians who don’t know where their next meal will come from will be the structure.”

A verse in the Bible reads: “Obedience is better than sacrifice.” Obi’s supporters have tweaked it for their slogan: “Obidience is better than sacks of rice,” referring to a tactic used to buy votes.

This fervour has propelled Obi from fringe candidate into the mainstream, but it has also masked potential weaknesses. Last year, the online newspaper Premium Times reported on a web of shell companies in tax havens controlled by Obi. He admitted he had not declared these assets.

Nor is there much clarity on how he plans to turn Nigeria around. 

A few months ago, such policy vagueness didn’t matter, because no one thought that Obi had any chance of taking power. But a Bloomberg poll this week found that of voters who had decided how to vote, some 72% were voting for Obi. The poll was conducted through an app, however, which excludes nearly two-thirds of the population who don’t have smartphones.

But it does prove that Obi and his followers have forced the country to take him and the youthful constituency he represents seriously.

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