Peter Obi’s gravitas has spread across Nigeria like a wild fire in Harmattan such that because of his authenticity, presence, and affinity with people, Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s ministry that hosts over 15,000 worshippers was closed down within 48 hours. If Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka had criticized Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC or Atiku Abubakar of the PDP, no troupe of 130,000 aggrieved youths and followers would have unfollowed the fiery cleric’s social medial handle in protest. When the Spiritual Director of Adoration Ministry Enugu publicly called Peter Obi “stingy” and declared that he will not be Nigeria’s President, the first reaction from the tech-savvy youths was to locate the video where Peter Obi vehemently refused to publicly state how much he wants to give to Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s ministry.
It was such a dramatic scene to watch with its attendant, divergent, media narratives. Peter Obi, before the crowd, refused to say or make any public donation to a fiery and feared cleric in Enugu State in 2018……. Continue Your Reading
Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State, is quite a disciplined philanthropist who knew what the cleric meant when he gave him a microphone before the congregation to make a pledge. Rather than make a pledge obediently, he sternly stated that the cleric should point a project he is working on and he would support it. That pointed us to a compellingly crystal as well as an edutainmental portal about the unique gravitas Peter Obi possesses that Atiku Abubakar and Bola Tinubu do not have and may never have.
I believe that Peter Obi’s adamant refusal to be swayed before the crowd by a cleric of Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s profile was as educative as it was entertaining because other politicians pledged some amount of money but he refused, stood his ground, and remained unperturbed by the continued coercion of the cleric. Peter is self-aware and capable to project his views before a crowd fearlessly.
Before the audience, Peter Obi said to Ejike Mbaka: “Father, what I said is straightforward. You will come and show me the project so that the two of us will talk. That is what I said.”
Mbaka then accused the former governor of Anambra of making “political statement” to which he responded: “Father knows I don’t make political statements. Anyone here from Anambra state knows Peter Obi has never promised anything and failed. I am a fundamental Catholic. I do whatever I say at the church.”
Peter Obi is a man whose elder brother is a Catholic priest. Peter Obi’s family has produced high-ranking Catholic clergy. He was a billionaire before 2003. Yet, he showed the world that he is a man who cannot be swayed by religious affiliation or by emotional manipulation of any sort when it comes to his decision about anything. He could have dropped N50 million instantly to curry the favor of the crowd. He chose not to.
It was entertaining because while the crowed cheered on he still preferred a well planned project he could invest in rather than pledging tens of millions like others before and after him. Little wonder he was wrongly called stingy by the cleric. He exuded a stronger persona than the cleric, an admirable gravitas worthy of emulation.
Now that Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka has apologized to Peter Obi in writing and has been sanctioned by the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, for publicly rubbishing the image of Peter Obi against canonical law, it has become more obvious than ever that the youth of Nigeria are seriously behind his rising significance as a man who is not extravagant, flamboyant, noisy, reckless or unpredictable with monetary resources. A man fit for the President of Nigeria. Peter Obi is better because he has gravitas. #PeterObihasGravitas.
The overwhelming majority of the youths from the four corners of the south and north of Nigeria were all decisively pleased at the decision of the Catholic Diocese of Enugu to suspend Fr. Ejike Mbaka two days ago the 17 June 2022.
His popular Adoration Ministry’s Friday night vigil was cancelled. His followers were left embittered at his costly mistake, after series of provocative declarations in the past, including the popular prophecy against Goodluck Ebele Jonathan in 2014 that left the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) members in harsh shock. A declaration that didn’t attract this kind of response from the vast posse of youths in diaspora and home in Nigeria.
Last month when Deborah Samuel was stoned to death in Sokoto state the Presidential candidate of the PDP, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar condemned the attack but after a backlash he withdrew the condemnation, deleted the message from his social media page, because many northern youths vowed not to vote for him in the 2023 presidential election. That singular event provocatively signaled a hidden character of the PDP presidential candidate. He is indecisive, easily swayed by ethnic pressure and religious pressure.
Not only that, last week, after the PDP National Working Committee proposed that the presidential candidate should choose the Governor of River State, His Excellency Nyesom Wike who was the runner up to the presidential ticket, a Muslim group called MURIC, announced that he should not be picked by Atiku Abubakar. That was one of the fundamental reasons why Atiku Abubakar picked Governor Ifeanyi Okowa of Delta State who has no significant electoral value in the southern region with its political and religious vagaries today.
Apart from that, it has been argued that both the PDP and APC delegates were bought by both presidential candidates during the primaries that both parties just conducted. The candidates are career politicians who lured the delegates with their structural and financial support. The bribery was so much popular in the media that the EFCC were visibly present at the Eagle Square were the primaries were held.
Even Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the former Governor of Lagos State was said to have sponsored many of the aspirants who stepped down for him on the day of the primaries in a ceremonial show of desperation even as his hands vibrated as he spoke to the crowd of All Progressive Congress party men and women. He could not swiftly turn the paper that carried his uninspiring speech. His voice lacked inspiration.
A fourth night ago during his campaign before the primaries, Bola Ahmed Tinubu was in Ogun State where he threatened the governor of the state for refusing to support him and President Mohammadu Buhari for forgetting that he made him a President: just in the bid to sway both leaders to support his candidature. The APC leadership threatened that his desperate outbursts will have consequences.
Peter Obi has shown that he is not as desperate as Atiku Abubakar and Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
His strength of character, his refusal to bribe delegates and his vision stood him out.
He walked out of the PDP primaries because he refused to accept coercion and vote buying within the party. What kind of gravitas is this?
In his letter of resignation from PDP he stated that “It has been a great honor to contribute to nation building efforts through our party. Unfortunately, recent developments within our party make it practically impossible to continue participating and making such constructive contributions.”
He left PDP and crossed to the Labour Party with a sudden wave of support that has never been seen in Nigeria since 1999. He didn’t pay himself into the Labour Party ticket or for the support he is getting from the masses who are ready to upend any challenger or troll like Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka. Prof. Pat Utomi resigned for him. Two different trouble makers in Labour Party have resigned for him as well.
Gravitas is what it took for him to have exited the moneybag sect in the PDP. It took vision to have left the PDP. This is because his rise in political value followed his resignation from PDP. This is where it gets more interesting. As the masses listen to his message and behold his gravitas they get more agitated, but he remains calm and calculated. He has not even replied Fr. Ejike Ebenezer Mbaka or any opponents trolling him. His lack of resentment for anyone and the decision not to be desperate for power, added to his credible message which focuses on redesigning the economy from a consumptive one to a productive one for all Nigerians resonate with the generality of the masses. He is what they call full-option in Nigerian lexicon.
Peter Obi is a southerner. He is young. He is tech-savvy. He identifies with the future. He lives in Lagos. He is a leader who respects everyone and has the milk of human kindness.
He is striking a chord deep in the broken soul of the Nigerian populace. A populace that will never explore a movement from Mohammadu Buhari’s eight years of power to a Bola Ahmed Tinubu or Atiku Abubakar, which would be a slippery continuum from rape to prostitution, from poverty to cannibalism, from insecurity to civil war.
Three popular Southern elders Ayo Adebanjo, leader of Afanifere, former governor of Anambra State, Chief Chukwuemeka Ezeife, and Edwin Clark gave their voices in support of Peter Obi’s candidature because he is young, detribalized, strong-willed, and can indeed turn Nigeria into a productive economy with ease. Productivity will reduce insecurity and poverty.
Peter Obi stunned the political world in 2006 when he became the first person to win back his gubernatorial seat in a court of law despite Nigeria’s judicial challenges. He was impeached twice. He became a governor without government or military experience. His 8-year tenure in Awka revealed extraordinary fissures in Nigeria’s society but left little doubt that he is a figure unlike any other in the nation’s history.
He refused to be swayed by the state legislature that’s why they impeached him. He cut down the cost of governance: Attracted rapidly, many international organizations to Anambra State. He built roads in every community in Anambra State. Left the state without debt. Renovated and rebuilt every secondary and primary school in Anambra State. That after his administration he visited a school in Kogi State in 2014 to rebuild a structure that was quite dilapidated since there was no dilapidated school in his state of origin. He visited Sokoto, Nassarawa and several states to directly donate to projects in nursing and public schools. When he makes these claims he would tell you to “go and verify”.
Peter Obi will certainly use the new, colossal opportunities that this era is opening in front of us and will become even stronger prior and during the electioneering campaign period until his victory in 2023.
Peter Obi has vowed to cut the red tape plaguing what remains of Nigeria’s market economy, pledging to increase the frequency of audits, cut expenditures, invest in power production for which he travelled to Egypt, invest in education in the six geopolitical zones, remap the nation’s infrastructural deficits, and provide solid grounds for job creation and lasting productivity.
That he can do this as well as root out corruption and bribery, while eliminating the agitation for secession in the East, addressing the insecurity in the North by providing reasonable social enterprise for the frustrated youths in the country make his candidacy a beacon of hope even in the Labour Party.
The question the stakeholders on the other side are asking makes sense: how can he curb the looming Trump-like following which has engaged in constant social media harassment against those who disagree with his ideologies?
A category of followers like Buhari’s BMC who really do not allow room for intellectual exchange or mild conversations would be seriously dangerous to Nigeria’s democracy.
Would this category of followers be able to handle victory or loss as civil citizens do?
That Ejike Mbaka statement that “Peter Obi is Stingy” therefore “a stingy person cannot be our president”, would trigger this kind of people to verbally abuse and curse Rev. Fr. Ejike Mbaka, threaten the Diocese and the Catholic church, without Peter Obi’s commentary on the issue shows the followers are not ready to take any prisoners in the forthcoming elections in 2023.
Would they be able to unleash this outlandish, and violent behavior of theirs in polling stations around Nigeria to minimize incidents of vote-buying as has been recorded against APC and PDP at the gubernatorial elections in Ekiti this weekend?
Would they be able to transform this aggression into building grassroot structures for the Labour Party so as to strongly compete with the APC and PDP?
These are questions yet to be answered as Peter Obi’s rise above other presidential candidates becomes a national discourse.
These are questions yet to be answered as Peter Obi’s LP and Rabiu Kwankwaso’s NNPP are in merger talks this weekend.
The truth is, in addition to Peter Obi’s rising profile, the Labour Party had won elections in Ondo State and Oyo State. Olusegun Mimiko won the governorship party in Ondo State with over 100,000 votes on 2012. In Lagos the poise to vote for Peter Obi has led to a massive stampede for PVC collection. In the South South, places like Warri if you mention the PDP or APC presidential candidates you might be lynched because of #PeterObiisBetter movement.
According to Dr Doyin Okupe, the Labour Party is putting together the “biggest” and “greatest” political coalition in Nigerian history which in my reckoning is based on Peter Obi’s gravitas.
The entire Christian communities in the north are not ready to vote for another Muslim presidential candidate. In the Southeast it was the mounting pressure of the masses that led to Fr. Ejike Mbaka’s sanction after he insulted Peter Obi. And this is Seven months to the election.
Mbaka’s case has granted Nigerians an opportunity to validate their trust for Peter Obi, with a kind of hope and fanaticism that brought Emmanuel Macron unexpectedly to power in France even though he was the underdog. Would Peter Obi’s gravitas bring him to Aso Rock in 2023?…… Continue Your Reading