Implications of Former President Obasanjo’s Support for Presidential Candidate Peter Obi

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo recently broke his silence regarding the forthcoming presidential election in Nigeria, which is scheduled for February 25, 2023. There is concern that the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) may postpone the election, as it has done in the past, in order to benefit the ruling political parties. Obasanjo expressed his fear that the same dirty game played out in previous polls conducted by INEC may be repeated.

Obasanjo endorsed the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, Peter Obi, as the most credible candidate for the seat. However, the two dominant political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), have criticized Obasanjo’s endorsement. They have attacked him at rallies, describing his endorsement as worthless and insignificant. This is especially surprising given that in the past, both political parties have sought Obasanjo’s support. For example, APC presidential candidate Bola Tinubu visited Obasanjo at his Abeokuta country-home in August 2022, seeking his support. Similarly, PDP presidential candidate Atiku Abubakar visited Obasanjo in the past to support his presidential ambitions.

This lack of integrity in politics is worrying, as it sets a bad example for the youth and hinders the ability to address important issues. The author argues that political campaigns should focus on addressing issues rather than attacking opponents personally. They also argue that political parties should prioritize national interest over absolute loyalty and present quality candidates in order to avoid enthroning mediocrity and causing hardship for the vulnerable masses.

In contrast, the candidate of Labour Party, Obi has robustly continued to play politics like the civilized climes by only articulating his manifestoes to the people, utilizing all available spaces and opportunities without any attacks on his opponents. Obi always avails himself for media debates and interviews while his frontline co-contenders are always on the run for fear of questioning. Arguably, none amongst the candidates except Obi has passed the aptitude test and shown deep understanding of the nation’s problems from their campaign promises.

In conclusion, the political space in Nigeria, particularly from the camps of the two dominant political parties; APC and PDP, ought to be cleaner and more focused on addressing important issues and presenting quality candidates. The notion of ‘absolute loyalty’ to political parties is dangerous, and should give way for national interest. Otherwise, people will end up enthroning mediocrity which may also affect them too.

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