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  After ditching the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), Peter Obi, a former Anambra state governor, and presidential hopeful switched to a lesser-known Labor Party (LP). This was a surprising move to many, but others who saw the writing on the wall advised the applicant to pursue his ambition elsewhere. But what is more surprising is the influence he has brought to the Labor Party.
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Following his announcement that he had moved to the Labor Party, the effect was tremendous. It reminded many of when Christiano Ronaldo moved to Juventus in 2018. Likewise, after Peter Obi moved to LP, the fortunes of the party changed overnight. First, the party’s Twitter account skyrocketed from a scant 2,000 followers to more than 75,000 followers in 24 hours. Second, the party’s website crashed after heavy traffic from people wanting to register to become members of the lesser-known party. Third, in the last few days that Peter Obi moved to LP, the party has been on Twitter’s trending chart. Finally, the Labor Party is now at the centre of the 2023 election discussion, something the party has never experienced before. Some have argued that LP will shake up the duopoly of APC and PDP. They have dubbed the party as the worthy third force. Also, the narrative surrounding Peter Obi and Labor Party reminds us of what happened in France, when Emmanuel Macron broke into French politics and attracted a younger generation of French citizens because the two main government parties were in decline. As of today, Peter Obi has a more massive support base than any presidential aspirant on social media, the same pattern that Macron’s candidacy took. Others have claimed that Peter Obi’s Twitter and social media movement is taking the shape that Barrack Obama’s 2008 campaign did.
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Furthermore, many things mark Peter Obi as a special candidate. First, it is from the southeast, the only region that has not produced a democratically elected president. Second, he was a billionaire before he joined mainstream politics, so it marked him as someone who has created private wealth, unlike what is common in Nigerian politics, where people who never created private wealth go into politics. The consequence of politicians who have not made a private fortune is that they fall prey to using public funds to enrich themselves. Finally, although wealthy, Peter Obi has been noted as prudent, unlike the typical spendthrift Nigerian politician. Nevertheless, many things stand in the way of Peter Obi from emerging as President of Nigeria come 2023. First, the two major parties, APC and PDP, have the structures for effective and quick mobilization even at the grassroots level. There are over 700 local governments in Nigeria, with over 8,000 wards. This will require total hard work on the part of LP and their supporters. More so, the moneybags in the major parties are willing to throw so much money around, unlike the LP which isn’t financially buoyant compared to both. Conversely, many have argued that all that it takes to make Peter Obi become president is either political miscalculation on the side of both parties. What does this mean?  Ever since the PDP gave its ticket to the north in the person of Atiku Abubakar at the party’s primaries, despite calls to zone it to the south on the bases of equity, justice, and fairness, the southern part of the country has expressed their embarrassment at PDP’s betrayal. Several southern pan-ethnic groups like the Ohanaze Ndigbo (a pan-Igbo group), the Afenifere (a pan-Yoruba group), the Pan-Niger Delta Forum (PANDEF), and so on, have warned that the PDP will lose the south come 2023. On the other hand, many Nigerians await the APC primaries. Should they present another northerner as a standard-bearer, it might diminish their chances of victory. 
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Capturing the situation thus, an Abuja-based rights activist, Deji Adeyanju wrote: “The only Southerner who can defeat Atiku in APC now may be GEJ but if APC & PDP both pick Northerners and Nigerians with sense vote Peter Obi, the two Northerners may end up dividing their votes and Obi wins. “PDP and APC are twins. Many Northern leaders will support GEJ because he’s doing only one term. When I analyze any situation, I consider circumstances.” In conclusion, it will take a miracle for Peter Obi to be president of Nigeria. However, many youths are rooting for him; it takes more than just Twitter and Facebook. The first step is to get 90% of his voters to get their PVCs. Second, Peter Obi may not be able to cover the over 8,812 wards and over 120,001 polling units, it will require sensitization of his followers at the grassroots and a steady campaign to make Peter Obi win.  With the current political trends Nigeria finds itself today, Peter Obi has proven that he is indeed the ‘poster boy’ of the kind of change Nigeria needs at the moment. As the nation struggles with poverty, insecurity, inter-ethnic hate, and bitterness, Nigeria is in desperate need of a different breed of politician that transforms the nation from consumption to production, bridges the divide among ethnic groups, returns power to the people, end the endemic years of corruption and shut the viperous mouth of terrorism and insecurity. Featured Image Source: Edo gods
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This article was first published on 3rd June 2022


Nnaemeka is an academic scholar with a degree in History and International Studies from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He is also a creative writer, content creator, storyteller, and social analyst.

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