Former Governor of Anambra State and presidential hopeful, Peter Obi, yesterday, dropped out of the PDP presidential race, amid talks with the Rabiu-Kwankwaso-led New Nigeria Peoples Party, the Labour Party and the Social Democratic Party.
It is believed that Obi’s defection was part of a grand plot to form a coalition that could defeat the All Progressives Congress and the PDP.
In a letter of resignation addressed to the National Chairman of the PDP, Senator Iyorchia Ayu, Peter Obi said he was happy to have contributed to the growth of the PDP.
The letter read in part, “Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs. I wish to thank you personally for your graciousness and leadership. I wish you well and best of luck in the service of country.”
Peter Obi, who enjoys massive support from the youths, had purchased the N40m form of the PDP and was screened to participate in the primary against 14 others on Saturday.
“We are in talks with Labour Party, SDP and a few-others. We will announce our new party in the next 24 hours. It will be a party that is also youth friendly since we have discovered that the youths form the bulk of our supporters,” said an associate of the former governor.
To be sure, Nigeria is challenged with deep moral issues in leadership, whether at the federal, state or local government levels.
Recently, Nigeria’s Accountant-General, Ahmed Idris, was arrested by the anti-graft agency, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), for graft in excess of N80 billion. Sources, however, estimate financial malfeasance traceable to the top officer to be in the region of N500 billion or $1 billion. He was subsequently suspended from office by Nigeria’s Minister of Finance.
Similar crimes have been reported in other sectors of Nigeria’s public service, such as the tax service, maritime, petroleum, central banking, health, transportation, electric power, education, humanitarian affairs, agriculture, etc.
“It’s been a nauseating culture of impunity, with blatant stealing and robbery all in the name of political leadership,” says Dr. Graham Hart, a public affairs commentator. Governance in Nigeria’s democracy has become a roller-coaster of “tax and spend,” with no real thought or care given to real productivity and productive revenue accretion.
The situation is no better at the sub-national levels, where governors exercise a stranglehold on real development.
While in office, Nigeria’s governors tend to operate as drug barons, with public funds at the behest and disposal and appropriating to themselves every realm of revenue generation at the state levels. On leaving office, often with mouth-watering pension plans, the same governors engage another theatre of state-capture at the Nigerian Senate. Currently, many serving governors in Nigeria are openly expending public funds in their campaigns for the next political stations – the presidency, retaining the governorship, or the Senate.
For Nigeria, official graft is indeed a financial sponge which has absorbed not less than $400 billion from Nigeria’s treasury, since 1999.
Peter Obi presents a narrative, a gospel of real change, which resonates with the youth population and which promises to dismantle the current absurdity of waste and recklessness in governance.
Obi’s message is made more credible and appealing by his report card as governor of Anambra State for eight years – educational reforms, prudent management of public finance leading to productive investments and savings. And, it is resonating with the Nigerian people.
In a contrast, Nigeria’s ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and the main opposition People’s Democratic Party do not seem to have any ideological divides, and the candidates which they project for the 2023 presidency do not seem to provide real answers to Nigeria’s economic and security challenges. Indeed, they seem to be a part of the problems.
Unlike some might believe, Nigeria is not too large or too complex for productive leadership. What is needed is that man or woman with the soundness of mind and the touch of glory, in the cockpit of Nigeria’s presidency.
In one sentence: what is required of a transformation president is to provide definition to the Purpose of Nigeria as a nation, rally national consensus around that PURPOSE, systematically review Nigeria’s BODY OF LAWS, including the CONSTITUTION, to actualize purpose in the most effective and efficient manner, and bring every body – individual and organization – under the RULE OF THE BODY OF LAWS.
Obi’s deft move away from the PDP gathering could just be the masterstroke for the remaking of Nigeria, with Nigerians handed back power over their lives and over their future.