MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
The trending merger talk between the Labour Party (LP) and the New Nigerian People’s Party (NNPP) with the aim of forming a more formidable Third Force towards upstaging the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the 2023 election is fast throwing up some contentious issues, whether real or imagined in the public space.
While some sections of the social media give the impression that the Labour Party’s presidential candidate; Mr. Peter Obi is taking the lead in the merger arrangement as the presidential flag bearer with Alhaji Musa Kwankwaso as running mate, other sections are quoting the NNPP presidential candidate Kwankwaso as contending that he is older than Obi and should therefore take the first position.
The former Governor of Kano State was quoted as emphasising that from historical times, any merger arrangement between parties from the north and south of the country has always conceded the first position to the North. Invariably, what that means is that it is the right of the North to always take the lead and he (Kwankwaso) would want the current discussion to go that way.
Much as one would not want to strongly believe such social media story, there is still room to suspect that the Northerners being who they are, may want to canvass such line of thought and sustaining it through prebendal approach, using greedy Igbo elements to water down Peter Obi’s already increasing national acceptability.
The likes of former Deputy Senate President Ike Ekweremadu and one time Governor of old Anambra State; Chief Jim Nwobodo are already in town to play the spoiler game that has often made many of us to ask whether the Igbos as a people are cursed as far as Nigeria’s leadership is concerned. Both Ekweremadu and Nwobodo in their warped assertions seemed to think that winning a presidential election is a rocket science.
Yes, agreed that presidential election is not a tea party as Nwobodo would want to argue, at the same time neither is it unachievable once a credible and corrupt-less nationalist like Peter Obi is available for the job with God fearing Nigerians ready to do the right thing by not selling their conscience to those who can buy them with thousands of dollars. The likes of Ekweremadu and Nwobodo who believe in money politics would never see anything good in Peter Obi who is not ready to corruptly enrich them because he is seeking for power. Obi is not desperate to rule Nigeria at all cost like the PDP and APC presidential candidates.
With less than three weeks of Peter Obi’s emergence as Labour Party presidential candidate after exiting the corruption ravaged PDP, a strong wind of change has been blowing across Nigeria’s political landscape. Whether we choose to accept it or not, Peter Obi’s antecedent as two-term Governor of Anambra State has suddenly become the benchmark for measuring those; Nigerians with good conscience want to pilot the affairs of the country as from 2023.
Peter Obi is fast becoming a house hold name in various parts of Nigeria and the youths and other well meaning Nigerians are unprecedentedly gearing up to enthrone him as the next president of Nigeria. The number of those registering to secure their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) is increasing by the day all because of Peter Obi.
The Peter Obi phenomenon is catching up everywhere and even if he decides not to run for the presidency again, he stands the risk of incurring the wrath of millions of Nigerians who see him as the most credible among the presidential contenders for the 2023 election. Therefore he must not disappoint Nigerians.
Many Nigerians who have suffered immeasurably under the leadership of PDP and APC over the years would not want to put their lives at stake again, hence Labour Party’s Peter Obi remains the most popular choice.
It is therefore instructive that as the merger talks go on in the days to come, Peter Obi must never contemplate relinquishing his presidential position to NNPP’s Kwankwaso for the following reasons.
The first reason is because he, Peter Obi has more intimidating credentials and more credible records of achievements both as a former Governor while in office and as private citizen.
Secondly, Peter Obi has more evidence of being frugal in a country where ostentatious life style largely permeates the governance space. His evidential tendency towards running a less expensive government that would ultimately save Nigeria from many years of debt repayment is not contestable.
Moreso, for equity sake, Peter Obi coming from South East which ought to have been conceded the presidential slot by either PDP and APC stands to win block vote of the geo-political zones than Kwankwaso.
It would therefore be suicidal for Peter Obi to accept a running mate position with Kwankwaso. Obi’s supporters across the federation would see him contest as a presidential candidate and lose gallantly than offering himself as running mate for the sake of winning and being in government.
If the merger talk cannot give Peter Obi the chance of contesting as the presidential candidate in the 2023 election, it would be better for the two political parties to go their separate ways with their different presidential candidates.
This is the time to deliver the suffering Nigerian masses from the hands of satanic primitive accumulators in our society who are determined to further mortgage the future of Nigerian youths. We must say no to money bag politicians who do not mean well for us and our children. Peter Obi remains the credible choice.