Opinion: The Peter Obi Movement Vs Nigeria’s Bullion Van Democracy – By Tony Okoroji

A few weeks back, I had written in this column about one of my several encounters with Peter Obi, the former Anambra State Governor and how he left a deep impression in me. As things unfold in Nigeria today, it is becoming clear that there are many who have caught the spark in the moral leadership which Mr. Obi exudes, the kind of leadership that is so absent in the bullion van democracy that Nigeria seems to have adopted at the ominous peril of our children and grandchildren.

I had written the following words in that piece: “I have no doubt that Peter Gregory Obi will do very well as a candidate in the general elections. He connects well across the board: age, intellect, tribe, religion, etc. He has inspired an army of young Nigerians. His body language does not put anyone off. His big problem is with the PDP primaries. Anybody who has closely followed the party primaries in recent years knows that it is not about competence or merit. It is a game of envelopes. Which candidate has the fattest envelopes with crisp dollar bills for delegates? Unfortunately, if you do not make it in the party primaries, you cannot become a candidate for the presidency.

“I am not so sure that Peter Obi can match Atiku Abubakar or Nyesom Wike in a dollar war! Will that be the end of the dream of many Nigerians?”

The contradiction in Peter Obi being part of the bullion van democracy at play in Nigeria today, did not escape me. There are those who still believe that Mohammed Buhari started as a good man with good intentions. In the desperation to become President, he got soaked in the bullion van democracy that brought him to power. He did not have the moral armament to become Robin Hood. Rather than destroy corruption, Nigeria’s biggest virus, corruption mesmerized him leaving the Buhari brand permanently battered.

If Peter Obi continued his struggle in the PDP, either of two things would have happened: he would have lost because he probably does not have the resources to fight the dollar war that a PDP presidency requires or the moral disposition or inclination to do so or he could also have traded his conscience and become President and ended up as another Mohammed Buhari.

This week, Peter Obi did the unexpected and separated himself from the maddening crowd. In doing so, he gave fresh hope to his army of supporters who look up him because they believe that he is different. By leaving the PDP and APC to continue their trading of the future of the young people of Nigeria in their stock exchanges, Peter Obi cemented his place as a true man of the young people of Nigeria.

There are those who say that Peter Obi will not get anywhere because without the present structures provided by the PDP or the APC, you cannot be the president of Nigeria. I understand their argument.

If the objective of the present exercise is simply to make Peter Obi President, I am not interested. If the objective is to produce a great leader for this rudderless nation at a time of desperate need, a leader with the moral compass and strength of character to inspire the young people of Nigeria to seize the immense opportunity at their disposal, then it is time for work.

It has become very clear that the structures of the PDP and APC will never lead to the emancipation of the Nigerian people. Those structures were built by a few people for mercantilism and are terribly infested with the corruption virus. They will only lead to more hunger, more kidnapping, more insecurity, more joblessness, more stealing on a huge scale and more hopelessness for the people of Nigeria. For Nigeria to achieve its true greatness, we must bring to an end the bullion van democracy. A new structure is required that truly belongs to the young people of Nigeria for the repositioning of the Nigerian nation.

If the Peter Obi Movement must become the Peter Obi Revolution, it is time to stop the talk and go to work. It will not be easy but it is not impossible. Let me repeat that no great nation in human history has been built by cowards.

See you next week.

– Okoroji is the chairman of COSON

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