In about 73 hours’ time Nigeria and the rest of the world would have the answer to this question. But judging by the opinions from independent quarters, like the Elders Forum which includes retired Generals like former Defence Minister Theophilus Danjuma and Zamani Lekwot, and many others, Peter Obi is about to midwife the birth of a New Nigeria.
But as one-time British Prime Minister Harold Wilson once said, a week is a long time in politics. And I dare say predictions and declarations of support are often miles away from political reality. Less than two days after the predictions and pronouncement of an Obi victory the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), the statutory body responsible for the conduct of the elections, published the distribution of the PVCs (Permanent Voters Cards) without which one cannot vote, and it showed a preponderance of registered voters in the States controlled by ruling the APC (All Progressives Congress), which might well be critical in the prevention of a close presidential poll.
But all predictions aside, examining the campaigns on their merit, one would easily accord Obi a major victory considering that just over a year ago not a lot of people knew about the Labour Party. They did not even have a single member in any of the 36 Houses of Assembly or the National Assembly of the country. And although their Candidate Mr. Peter Obi and his Running Mate, Dr Datti Baba-Ahmed were in the forefront of national politics as State Governor and Member of the Senate respectively, neither was a member of the Labour Party.
It was clearly Obi’s distinctive brand of politics without bitterness and mobilisation of the suppressed energy of the teeming youth population that thrust the Labour Party into pole position. Obi soon won the hearts of men and women and Christians and Muslims alike with his pan Nigeria approach and public pronouncements against cash and carry politics of the old order, Obi told the youths that the money the politicians give them is a bribe from the public purse to keep them muzzled for four years. He promised to reverse the charge by putting public money to public use and public service.
It is not that politicians have not made similar promises before and it was easy to wave his aside as the same old campaign rhetoric. But Obi was easily able to refer to his records of achievements as two-term Governor of Anambra State. There without borrowing a single Naira or owing any group he left a surplus of 150 Million Dollars for the State as well as taking the State educational system to the top of the West African Examinations Council. Not one of his many achievements was contradicted even by his rivals. The result was a reawakening of the youths whose ant-SARS and ant-Corruption protests was silenced by the guns of the military.
As Obi’s campaign turned into a movement, I have watched the Western press recline into accustomed silence probably because there is no tale of massacre and bloodletting to report. I personally hope that Peter Gregory Obi’s movement of the masses will awaken the world that something good can come out of Africa. Something they can no longer ignore.