Special to USAfrica magazine (Houston) and USAfricaonline.com, first Africa-owned, US-based newspaper published on the Internet
USAfrica: Peter Obi’s charismatic potency. By Chido Nwangwu
In one of the most vibrant events by any of the candidates running for President of Nigeria in the 2023 elections, an overwhelmingly impressed congregation, stakeholders, a diverse assembly of young people, hopeful citizens/residents of Nigeria and political supporters screamed in affirmation, excitement, jumped to cheer and welcome Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party of Nigeria.
Mr. Obi’s presence at the Dunamis International Gospel Center in Abuja to attend a prayer vigil for Nigeria “the Judgement Praise Night with Pastor Paul Enenche” was announced by Pastor Enenche’s wife, Becky Enenche. Once she started saying: “And, we also have tonight, Mr. Peter Obi who has joined for the service this evening…”, a sweeping expression of extraordinary enthusiasm filled the massive center to welcome the candidate.
At Dunamis, Berekete Family show, several events, in various communities, across the social media, youth and adult groups from various ethnic groups, faiths/religions and his rallies, we have seen an exponential growth of what I consider to be the charismatic potency of Peter Obi, and the ‘Obidients’ movement.
He’s a technocrat with a brilliant capacity to quantify and aggregate numbers. Only 10 years ago, Obi had challenges and an awkward discomfort with public speaking. These days it’s a welcome, evidently joyful thing for him to do.
On Friday, July 29, 2022, Obi’s chief host, Pastor Paul Enenche who is an advocate for powershift in the geopolitics of Nigeria posed some practical questions.
Enenche recalled that “When President Olusegun Obasanjo came into power in 1999, the two political parties decided to present candidates from the South-West. There were South-West Christians, so it was narrowed down.
At this time now, let me ask a question, what is wrong if it was narrowed down to Southeast? I am asking out loud. People Who have felt so marginalized and oppressed for a long time. Why can’t they be sensible and say let south-east produce presidency so that the parties give tickets to candidates from the region?”
He continued: “Who says that such cannot calm down the agitation in that area and also give that region some sense of belonging?
Who says that an Easterner can not be a president of Nigeria? What did they do? What is their offence? Who said it? Where was the law made from?…”
Enenche took a critical assessment of the prevailing problems in Nigeria, noting that “Those who have had presidency many times are still clamouring to come. That is to say, there is a group of people that are not humans. Such useless things are happening in various states of the country and Jehovah is arresting the situation.
I say it with authority, there is no part of this country that is stronger or better than the other. And I can tell you in both capacity and wisdom if the same people have been ruling and everything is degenerating why can’t you try other people and see whether things will not change? Whether things will not be better? Jehovah will change it by force. He will change the narrative by force.”
USAfrica magazine and USAfricaonline.com analysts are projecting the battle for the presidency in the election scheduled for February 2023 will be more competitive than many politicos assume — with the supporters of Obi, known as Obidients.
Obi’s successful positioning of his message on rebuilding Nigeria to the benefit of all Nigerians is getting across the country. The same message has been amplified by his Vice Presidential pick, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. Yusuf is an astute and impressive policy expert who understands especially the building of human capacity towards national development.
Those are in opposite standing when compared to the catastrophic failures of the Buhari presidency from personal to economic insecurities, from ancient nepotism to divisive religious amd ethnic preferential treatments, daily killings across all the zones/regions of Nigeria and the scandalous drop of the Naira to possibly N800 to U.S$1 in the parallel market before the end of September. On July 30, 2022, it’s struggling around N705 to U.S$1
There’s sadly the almost weekly destruction of some of the key northern Nigeria cities and christian middle belt communities under the watch of retired army General Buhari and mainly APC Governors is widening the case for a serious candidate who says and proves, simply that: Nigeria can do much better!
Since the late 1990s, I’ve met Mr. Obi, directly, only four times, in the U.S and Nigeria. None of which had anything to do with his current campaign. We also attended the same University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He graduated 3 years ahead of me.
Realistically, as a political scientist and reporter, I appreciate the challenges of the Nigerian voting logistics and partisan shenanigans.
Peter Obi’s candidacy has blossomed into a popular movement across Nigeria’s local environments and its diaspora. The critical issue is: how much of his escalating popularity will be collected and bagged as actual votes cast for the Labour Party in February 2023. The former Governor of Anambra State holds a promise but not a certainty of an outcome. That’s not too much to ask. •Dr. Chido Nwangwu, author of the forthcoming 2022 book, MLK, Mandela & Achebe: Power, Leadership and Identity., is Founder & Publisher of the first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper on the internet, USAfricaonline.com, and established USAfrica in 1992 in Houston. He served as an adviser on Africa business to Houston’s former Mayor Lee Brown. Follow him @Chido247