The 61-year-old presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has won 61 victories even before Nigerians cast their first votes in the 2023 presidential election. Some of the victories are for Nigeria, some are for the Igbo people, and some are for the state that Peter Obi once governed — Anambra state.
Here are the top 10 victories, in no particular order.
From the beginning, Peter Obi was running his campaign, scared of people associating the movement with anything Igbo. He repeatedly warned people that they should not vote for him because he was Igbo. Already, Obi won a victory in this regard. He has proven that the snail may try but cannot cast off its shell.
With the success of Peter Obi’s campaign, the political career of Rochas Okorocha and his likes are over. Anambra state achieved that kind of change after Chris Ngige replaced Chinwoke Mbadinuju as the state’s governor. And Ngige begot Peter Obi, and Peter Obi begot Willie Obiano, and Obiano begot Charles Soludo. In the process, Anambra state sent the likes of Andy Uba, Chris Uba, Ifeanyi Uba, Annie Okonkwo, and others into the dustbin of history. It transformed Anambra state away from a territory where moneybags rule.
For every step taken by any Igbo group, be it the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB), Igbo cultural group, Ohanaeze, or Okija Native Doctors Association, Peter Obi’s campaign is immediately associated with the step and is expected to explain to the nation why he should be allowed to be president in light of the group’s move. Lucky Peter Obi. Other candidates from other parts of Nigeria get denied this victory. For example, nobody ever associated Buhari’s campaign in 2015 with the Boko Haram insurgency, even though Boko Haram named him their preferred man to negotiate for them with the government. Imagine if IPOB had named Obi as their chief negotiator. Most Nigerians do not see Bola Tinubu as a Yoruba candidate, which is unfair to the man from Lagos via Osun. After all, when he said in Abeokuta that it was his turn, he built the argument on the presidency being Yoruba’s turn. Tinubu is also denied credit for the serious campaign for an independent Yoruba nation by Sunday Igboho, Prof. Banji Akintoye, Adeyinka Grandson, and others. That is a gross injustice. Bola Tinubu deserves a victory, just like Peter Obi. And, it goes without saying that Tinubu’s VP, Kashim Shettima, from Boko Haram territory, should be given credit for all the activities of Boko Haram in the north-east since 2009.
The political elite in the five eastern states is not lining up behind Peter Obi. Three of the governors of the zone are with the PDP, while one just recently defected to the ruling APC. The only APGA governor, Charles Soludo of Obi’s home state, Anambra state, has not come out to endorse Obi. Yet, people outside the zone continue to see Obi as an Igbo juggernaut with all the associated privileges. That is a victory for Obi. Though Peter Obi is one of the eight Igbo people running for president in the 2023 election, he is the only one enjoying the tag, the Igbo candidate – not even the presidential candidate of the so-called Igbo party, APGA, receives that designation. That, again, is a special kind of victory.
This is the first time that a product of Christ the King College (CKC), Onitsha, is this close to being the president of Nigeria. What a triumph over the graduates of Denis Memorial Grammar School (DMGS) and Government College Umuahia. If Obi wins, CKC could become the south-east’s answer to Barewa College.
Peter Obi has proven that all generalisations about the Igbo people of Nigeria are wrong, including this one. Peter Obi’s greatest disruption is the perception of Igbo people in some quarters as aggressive, rude, and loud. Peter Obi is nothing like that. It used to be argued in the Nigerian political space that the Igbo people had no quality candidate to present as a presidential candidate. That argument persisted despite Zik trying out in 1979, Alex Ekwueme trying out in 1999, and so on. In this current season, young people appear to say that Peter Obi stands shoulder-high above other major contestants, despite his flaws. Analysts say that the rest of the country could not support an Igbo person for president because Igbo people did not unite around one candidate. In this dispensation, with seven other Igbo candidates running, Peter Obi has been getting the bulk of the support. Because of Peter Obi, the era of politicians carrying their bags is just beginning. Hopefully, it will lead to them bearing their failures. Festus Okotie-Eboh will be covering his face in shame wherever he is now.
Win or lose, the pendulum of Peter Obi’s quest to be president has smashed Orji Uzo Kalu’s dream of being president. This is a huge victory for the people of Nigeria.
Peter Obi’s insurgence campaign has moved millions from the disenchantment column back into the enchantment column. For everyone who changed his or her profile picture from an image of Sunday Igboho/Nnamdi Kanu/Asari Dokubo/Muhammadu Buhari to that of Obi-Datti is a victory for Nigeria and an indictment for the people who ran Nigeria aground and forced these beautiful fellows to lose their faith in the country.
With political analysts digging up reports, documents, graves, and ghosts of when and where Peter Obi was governor, Anambra state has ceased to be that far-flung state people hear about now and then, but nobody knows what goes on there. Bola Tinubu is yet to smell this victory. That is a victory for a state that has produced some of the most colorful characters in Nigerian history, like Nnamdi Azikiwe, Chinua Achebe, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, Alex Ekwueme, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie, Obi Cubana, Chuba Okadigbo, Chika Unigwe, Osita Osadebe, Kenneth Dike, Obi Egbuna, Chukwuemeka Ike, Reverend King, Cosmos Maduka, Cletus Ibeto, Innocent Chukwuma, Jerome Udoji, Olive De Coque, Nkem Nwankwo, Victor Anichebe, Pete Edochie, John Obi Mikel, Christopher Okigbo, Benet Omalu, Nwafor Orizu, Cyprian Tansi, Edwin Madunagu, Clarion Chukwura, Francis Arinze, Chike Obi, Okey Ndibe, Ezego, Chike Okpala, and many others.