Peter Obi: Comrade Sowore Goofed! By Ozodinukwe Okenwa

I must start this piece by confessing that I have never met Comrade Omoyele Sowore in person before. While it is true that for the past decade I have been writing on his SaharaReporters website we only communicated via email. I hold Sowore in high esteem because when he was in the University of Lagos doing his higher education I was in Benin City equally pursuing a better future academically. I began respecting him because as the UNILAG student union President (then) he stood for democracy and the rule of law even against grave risk to his young and promising life.

During the national June 12 annulled presidential poll debacle we were on the trenches and the streets campaigning vigorously for the popular mandate given to the late business mogul, Bashorun MKO Abiola, to be restored or actualised. As a young student in my teens in Benin City I narrowly escaped death when a fellow student standing beside me was hit by a bullet leading to his untimely death! It could have been me but God decided otherwise!

Having said the foregoing it is important that I declare that we believe in the vision and mission of Comrade Sowore as regards his candidacy for the presidency. He would definitely make a good no-nonsense incorruptible intrepid President if given the mandate to liberate Nigeria and Nigerians from the misery and poverty the corrupt elite have sentenced them. Sowore has demonstrated his patriotism and democratic credentials for decades so he has nothing more to prove.

Critics had lambasted him for practising ‘yellow’ journalism or propagating ‘fake news’ using his popular website as a tool for blackmail and/or executive cyber-stalking. But we see his efforts differently! We see him and his digital campaign for a better nation as a patriotic duty. He has faced a whole lot of challenges trying to contribute his quota towards the betterment of our society.

He had been arrested countless times and detained illegally (especially by Buhari and his lawless DSS goons) on many occasions. He has suffered a lot of privations and mental torture because of his uncompromising posture. His courage and staying power is one not given to every human rights crusader or social critic.

Comrade Sowore’s foray into politics started four years ago when he used his political party, the African Action Congress, (AAC) as a vehicle to capture power at the zenith. Though he scored a negligible figure his popularity and acceptability has soared over time — especially after his ‘revolution-Now’ campaign led to his apprehension and incarceration.

Comrade Sowore is the official candidate of the AAC in the forthcoming presidential election of February next year. He is up against formidable opponents like the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar and APC’s Asiwaju Tinubu. And the Labour Party’s Peter Obi. Nigerians may decide to usher in an electoral revolution by electing either Sowore or Obi to Aso Rock. But that would be a hard battle, displacing the corrupt stupendously rich elite from the power scene.

By defeating the establishment corrupt political parties (PDP and APC) Obi or Sowore would book appointment with history and posterity as President Emmanuel Macron did in France five years ago and the last month. Barack Obama did it against all odds in the United States. And closer home in Africa President Lazarus McCarthy Chakwera did it in Malawi few years ago.

Daily, Sowore is always in the news for revolutionary reasons. Yet critics accuse him of being a ‘neophyte’ in politics! They contend that he should have started his political career by tasting his popularity as a councillor or local government chairman in his Ondo State. But we concede that it is not a settled matter that a politician, no matter how inexperienced or untried, must begin his conquest for power at the local level.

Recently, Sowore took to his Twitter handle and made some disparaging remarks against ex-Governor Obi. He said he heard that Obi travelled to Egypt “to learn on how to fix Education/Power problems. This is exactly the problem with unprepared candidates”. Besides, Sowore had called on Obi to “join the AAC in order to enjoy electoral victory” claiming that the Labour Party had “no structure”. He equally claimed that “Labour Party has become an orphanage for politicians that are homeless, it didn’t take long when our man ran there when he became homeless”.

Peter Obi may or may not be the messiah Nigerians are praying for to deliver them from darkness. He has never laid any claim to that effect! But he has been marshalling out his plans convincing more and more people of his capacity to lead. He has been hammering on the need for the Nigerian electorate, especially the youths, to organize themselves and take power at the centre. It is not impossible if the will is there!
In the Labour Party Obi is uniquely positioned to redefine the Nigerian polity. Labour Party of the past cannot be said to be the same as presently. With Obi dictating its presidential future the sky is the limit! What the party needs doing is the right thing: drawing naysayers its way and imposing its power of mobilisation across board.
Since the era of rigging elections are behind us with the new Electoral Act signed into law, one that allows the electronic transmission of results thuggery and hooliganism in our electoral system has suffered enormous damage. The thugs that used to steal the ballot boxes and the godfathers that used to impose candidates and the electoral umpires that announced losers as winners have all been put out of business for good!
It is not out of place to say that the 2023 presidential poll would not be stolen as usual. Those poised on stealing same would meet their waterloo. Every vote would count and the real winner would emerge at the end of the day. No hanky-panky games, no intimidation of the electorate or buying of their conscience this time.
What makes Obi stand out is that he seems to be genuinely concerned about the wellfare of ordinary Nigerians and shares their pains, their dashed hopes and dreams. He wants to serve and not to be served! He wants to be given power to right the past wrongs. He means well for Nigeria!

The executive SaharaReporter is often accused of ‘misfiring’ online. He often comes across as one perpetually at war with the political demons holding Nigeria hostage. He appears to be in a hurry to chase the executive ‘thieves’ back home!

The Comrade goofed, therefore, in our reckoning, by declaring that Obi was not prepared for the presidency because he visited Egypt or wherever. He goofed by asking ignorantly if he constructed good roads, built hospitals or schools as Governor of Anambra State.

Indeed, he should have known better that Obi remains one of the best performing Governors ever to govern Anambra State. Of course he built quality hospitals and schools. And constructed good roads which still stand today as a reference. He made Anambra safe for business and investment unlike now when the so-called ‘unknown gunmen’ are on the rampage all over the state kidnapping, killing and extorting ‘Ndi-Anambra’.

Above all, Obi left billions of Naira in Anambra state’s vault upon his handing over power to the ex-Governor Willy Obiano who squandered the funds and looted others. He demystified gubernatorial power by cutting costs and saving heavily as they say, for rainy days! If Atiku Abubakar had won the rigged presidential election of 2019 then Obi would have been positioned to rule Nigeria post ‘Atikulation’.

The Comrade goofed by insinuating that Obi belonged to a party (Labour) that serves as home for ‘homeless’ politicians. Come to think of it, Obi is more prepared than any other candidate for the upcoming presidential poll. He speaks eloquently about his vision for a great nation where talent is rewarded and the nation itself made to work for her abused citizens.

Comrade Sowore, with all due respect, must consider swallowing his ‘pride’ by working with patriots like Peter Obi if he wants to preside over the affairs of Nigeria someday in the future. Perhaps if he teams up with a third force capable of sending the old generation of politicians back home he could be appointed a Minister or Special Adviser and from there his political career would blossom leading to power conquest at the apex.

Attacking the wrong person, Peter Obi, has diminished Sowore’s reputation. Maybe ‘jealousy’ or inferiority complex could be blamed here as reactions trailing his outburst online had revealed. Sowore was generally lambasted for being a ‘wannabe’ politician. But we hold that Nigeria is blessed with strong characters and patriots like Omoyele Sowore and Peter ‘Okwute’ Obi. With them at the driver’s seat presidentially then hope would be restored to our broken rotten system.

Peter Obi represents a bundle of promises. The Obi phenomenon is here to stay! Whether he wins the presidential poll of next year or not is inconsequential. The next four years or eight years could see his star rise from the east shining over and above every nook and cranny of this great nation! Through hard work and creative politicking, Obi could overcome the odds and triumph beyond every imagination.

If political permutations are allowed and the mass mobilisation of Igbos across the length and breadth of the federation are any positive indication then Peter Obi may well upstage or upset the applecart come February. And when he does the likes of Sowore would be forced to acknowledge greatness.

SOC Okenwa


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