Peter Obi, Oseni Rufai and the importance of a “no consequence” manifesto, by Rotimi Akinola

If left unchecked, Labor Party candidate Peter Obi will degenerate from 2023 election darling into comic relief just to punctuate our predicament.

I seriously warn any serious Nigerian who wants to listen that this seemingly serious former Governor of Anambra might turn out to be a serious joke.

Visit INEC registration centers and see how young Nigerians queue in harsh weather conditions to get registered for voter registration cards. The candidates with whom these young men and women have apparently decided to pitch their tents must repay that energy with serious presidential campaigning.

Obi’s current form smacks of lack of seriousness. And his last interview, the one he had on Sunday with Oseni Rufai, was indicative of this casual trajectory.

Our favorite presidential candidate was praised for his brilliant ideas and asked if he would articulate them in a policy document, aka “manifesto.” Obi’s response made me laugh and I started wondering if his whole campaign wasn’t one big joke that many hadn’t yet appreciated.

“When people talk about my manifesto and my this, I did it somewhere. I don’t need to go and start putting on glossy papers,” Obi said when Rufai pointed out that people were asking to see his manifesto.

Obi said people should go to Anambra and see what he “put into practice” there and see him as a precursor to what he would do if elected president. He then described some of Nigeria’s problems. When asked how he would solve the problem, Obi replied “go to Anambra”.

“But you’re still going to give us a document,” Rufai insisted. Obi continued to insinuate that this would not be necessary because those who have provided manifestos in the past have not delivered on their promises.

“How are you going to solve this problem,” Rufai asked of the issues Obi described regarding education. “Of course go to Anambra,” Obi said. They went back and forth until Rufai, I guess, decided it was best to let the candidate hang himself.

A repercussion of Obi’s laughable disdain for a political document came to light when the candidate was asked about restructuring and the state police. Instead of providing a coherent answer, he just rambled from one unanchored idea to another.

Obi becomes president tomorrow and says we should just trust him and let him lead the country without a constitution? If you think that’s an exaggeration, you haven’t followed the political campaign of Nigeria’s worst president.

Nigerians were disappointed with the Goodluck Jonathan administration, and rightly so. But Muhammadu Buhari and his Southern parcel handlers managed to divert that public discontent behind a Cinderella candidate who has now been at Aso Rock for nearly eight years without issuing a single manifesto. We are the consequences.

When Buhari started implementing his “unmanifested” agenda, his own wife had to shout that her husband had been hijacked by two men who were swimming against the ruling party platform.

If we don’t start holding Obi accountable now, we won’t be able to if he’s elected president. And a manifesto gives us a way to start evaluating an aspiring president’s ideas before they’re implemented.

If Obi’s insistence on a manifesto’s irrelevance is a joke, he needs to come out within a week and make that clear so we can start thinking he’s a clown. Any failure to commit to publishing a manifesto ahead of next year’s poll would amount to an insult to the millions of young Nigerians who sacrifice their flesh and blood to register to vote just because Obi is on the ballot. vote.

All he has to do is sit down with his team of experts and put some consistency into his ideas, then put those ideas to paper. Any serious candidate who is not a placeholder for one of the monster political parties would not find this task unnecessary.

Obi must be very careful. The anger in the streets has, thankfully, turned into the political energy we all crave. Young Nigerians are ready to vote. If Obi mess this up, the love many have for him can easily turn into his antithesis.

Congratulations to him for his excellent performance as Governor for two terms. But Nigeria is not Anambra. You cannot manage a country as complex as ours by “going to check”. If that is all you would say to those asking for a manifesto, then there is no difference between you and the ancestor who rules Lagos.

Any crowd that does not see the merit of this argument may suffer from another variant of Buharidism. And the stakes in 2023 are too high for that kind of deadly joke.

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