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Significance of Peter Obi’s Abia Campaign Tour
On the February 3, 2023, Mr. Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party was in Abia State as part of his nationwide campaign in readiness for the February 25th presidential election. The Abia visit of Obi unlike several others in the country has a lot of political and historical implications for national politics .
Firstly, it has to be acknowledged that Obi has already achieved the unique feat of being a historical figure in Nigeria because of his transformation of Nigerian national politics from the way it was played in the past, as an ethnic and regional contest for the control of national resources to its present elevation as the contest of ideas, as an ideological struggle between forces that have held Nigeria down and made it the poverty capital of the world and the mass of the Nigerian people – workers, peasants, farmers, students, business people, pensioners, artisans, intelligentsia etc and who want to retrieve the soul of their nation from a thieving elite. It is a struggle intended by the Labour Party to retrieve their country from the iron grip of a vicious and conniving elite that are spread all over the country, North, South, East and West.
The battle is still raging and proving to be a titanic one.Obi and his Deputy, Yusuf Datti Ahmed possessing the moral compass of integrity, capacity, experience, intellectual capacities have been leading the charge rather very well.
However, there has been a noticeable effort on the part of a tiny Igbo elite to obfuscate the fact of Obi’s general acceptance in Igbo land as in other parts of Nigeria. This tiny elite who belong to the group that the Nobel laurate, Professor Wole Soyinka regarded as the “wasted generation” are amongst the tiny national elite that has benefited and continue to benefit from the rot in the Nigerian system. This corrupt elite has been vociferous in their campaign to keep Nigeria the way it is so that they, their families and cronies will continue to feed fat on the blood and sorrows of the Nigerian masses.
This tiny conniving Igbo elite in alliance with their counterpart in other parts of Nigeria have been working hard to undermine Obi’s campaign efforts. The negative campaign of these agents of backwardness have sometimes tended to cast doubts in the minds of non Igbo populations about the readiness of the Igbo to climb the topmost rung of Nigeria’s political leadership.
The importance of Obi’s Abia visit and the general acceptance accorded him there will be better appreciated when it is realised that Abia is the bastion of Igbo nationalism. Enugu maybe the administrative capital of the Igbo but Abia is its political headquarters. Real Igbo politics flows and is domiciled in Abia.
A check out of Igbo history especially its relationship with national politics will buttress this fact. Abia is the original home of the Aro’s and the ancient warrior communities of old Bende like the Abam, Ohafia, Abiriba, Item, etc who controlled and dominated much of the pre colonial Igbo social and political life.
Even during the subsequent colonial and post-colonial era, Abia as part of Igboland continued to be the base of Igbo Nationalism as is evidenced in the Aba Women’s Riot of 1929, the widespread support that was given to Zik’s NCNC, the use of Umuahia as Biafra’s capital during the Nigerian civil war, the mass support for NPP in the Second Republic etc.
It was in recognition of the fact of being the bastion of Igbo Nationalism that the late Biafra leader Dim Odimegwu Ojukwu before his death made the wish and which was carried out that his corpse should be taken to Abia before interment. It is against this background of being the base of Igbo Nationalism that the rousing reception accorded to Peter Obi and his team during the February 3rd, 2023 Abia visit should be viewed as a wholesome endorsement of his candidature by the generality of the Igbo’s. This is just as well as it should be considered as a genuine support by the masses for the fundamental changes which Mr. Peter Obi and the labour Party are crusading for. Changes that will transform Nigeria from a consumption oriented country to a productive one. These are changes that will ultimately stem the national slide towards anarchy that we have all been witnesses to in recent times.
The Abia rousing reception and endorsement could as well be regarded as a follow up of the earlier endorsements by strategic groups and individuals like that of the former Civilian president, Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo (rtd), Chief Edwin Clark, the leader of the Southern and Middle Belt Forum, Pa Adebanjo and the Afenifere leadership, the Ohaneze, the Middle Belt Forum, the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC), Gov. Otorm of Benue state,The Christian Association of Nigeria(CAN),The Islamic Clerics,Youth Groups,Students,Artis, Musicians, Athletes etc. Such gale of endorsements is just a pointer to the fact that Mr. Peter Obi’s Candidature has a national appeal and that such appeal is not restricted to any zone or region.
It is against this background that most Nigerian are expectant that his win during the forthcoming February 25th, 2023 presidential polls will usher in a renaissance in all facets of Nigeria which the Nation desperately needs.
Ike, Fmr Chairman Arochukwu LGA is a member of Alex Otti Campaign Council