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  Many are beginning to see the much-sought-after and long-awaited Third Force in Peter Obi and Labor Party. In the past, Nigeria’s elections have always revolved around the two major and equally corrupt political parties – the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).
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This situation forced Nigerians to choose between the devil and the deep blue sea. In fact, the American-based professor Farook Kperogi has described the previous choices as the choice between the devil and the lesser evil. However, it looks like 2023 would be different from before. To start with, Peter Obi came into political prominence in 2003 when he ran for the office of governor in Anambra State under a then lesser-known party, All Peoples Grand Alliance (APGA). He won, however, was rigged out by a more powerful force of the national ruling party, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) who declared his opponent Chris Ngige of the PDP as the winner. After three years of litigation, the victory of Peter Obi was upheld by the Court of Appeal on 15 March 2006, and his opponent’s victory was overturned. Following his victory at the court, Peter was once again impeached by the state house of assembly after seven months in office and was replaced the next day by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy, making her the first-ever female governor in Nigeria’s history. Obi successfully challenged his impeachment and was reinstated by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu on 9 February 2007. Etiaba handed power back to him after the court ruling.  Once again, Peter Obi left office on 29 May 2007 following the general elections, which Andy Uba won. Obi went to the courts again, this time challenging the scheme of things of how his four-year tenure was won in 2003, but he started it in 2006 due to three-year litigation. According to reports, the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld Obi’s contention on 14 June 2007 and returned Obi to office. This brought to an abrupt end the tenure of Obi’s successor, Andy Uba whose 14 April 2007 election the Supreme Court nullified on the grounds that Obi’s four-year tenure should have remained undisturbed until March 2010. The political life of Peter Obi has been that of struggles and wars and high-dramas. But it pointed to one thing: The victorious life of Peter Obi.
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Anambrarians did not regret having Peter Obi as their governor as he transformed the state in various sectors, especially in the area of health, education, foreign direct investments, and infrastructure. For example, Peter Obi moved the state from a pitiable 27th position in education to number one in the country, a legacy which is still sustained to date. As a matter of fact, Anambra schools have performed excellently in national exams of NECO, WAEC and JAMB. Also, Peter Obi began a water project in all the local governments of the state, and as well built several teaching hospitals, including an eye-surgery hospital, and Joseph Nwilo Heart Centre in St. Joseph, Adazi-Nnukwu, where heart operations are currently being performed. Furthermore, as governor, he was awarded the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Prize for his role in eradicating polio in the state. In the end, Peter Obi left 70 billion naira in cash in the state’s bank account upon leaving office, an usual action in the Nigeria political space that is characterized by financial mismanagement and embezzlement.  It is against this backdrop that Peter Obi became one of the most influential political leaders in Nigeria. Little wonder, he was picked as the running-mate of Atiku Abubakar in 2019 under the PDP. Although, their aspiration was unsuccessful, but it was this point that Nigerians began to take keen interest in the person of Peter Obi who dished out ideas and solutions to Nigeria’s problems. Unfortunately, Peter Obi has dumped the PDP following monetization of the presidential primaries, something that echoes his principles. He moved to the Labour Party. Presently, the momentum around the candidacy of Obi in Labour Party is rising even to the threat of the two major parties. In fact, pundits have touted that Peter Obi under Labour Party is the much-needed Third Force. Following this momentum, several influencers, celebrities, political leaders and activists have thrown their weights behind Peter Obi.
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Examples of those are Aisha Yesufu, Femi Falana (SAN), Deji Adeyanju, and host of others. Many have asked, what will a Peter Obi presidency look like? We can only answer from his track record as governor of Anambra state.  First, Peter Obi’s presidency will run on a cabinet of intellectuals. The man himself has been a lover of education. Education was given a top priority under his administration as governor. Aside from his undergraduate education in the University of Nigeria, he attended Lagos business school, Nigeria, where he did his Chief executive program, Harvard business school, Cambridge, USA, where he did two programs, London School of Economics, Columbia southwest school, New York, USA, Institute for management development, Switzerland where he also got two certificates in Senior Executive Program and Chief Executive Officers program. He also attended Kellogg graduate school of Management, USA, Oxford University: Said Business School and Cambridge University: George business school. On this note, Peter Obi understands the role of intellectualism in good governance and economy. Secondly, many have touted that Peter Obi’s administration will be an an economic-centred government. The aspirant himself has shown that in the past during his radio and TV interviews where he often quoted the economies of Egypt, Thailand, Bangledesh, China, India and other middle and upper economies. He has been a proponent of moving Nigeria from “consumption to production.” The man is known for reeling out facts and figures and presenting economic strategies that can grow the economy.  Finally, in a time when Nigerians hardly get any form of accountability from the current president Muhammadu Buhari who has been cold towards the media, under Peter Obi, things are likely to be different. Peter Obi is not a man that shies away from the media or snubs platforms that demands accountability. On this note, one can boldly say that it will be easier to demand accountability from Obi by the populace. Featured Image Source: Businessday.ng
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This article was first published on 16th June 2022

nnaemeka-emmanuel

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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