The presidential candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 general elections, Mr Peter Obi, has come under attacks from Anambra state governor, Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo, opposition politicians and other prominent Nigerians, especially from the South-east region. PAUL OKAH asks a cross-section of Nigerians whether Soludo and other stalwarts are working against Igbo interest or not.
Soludo, Obi’s critics are enemies of the Igbo. The Anambra state governor and our Igbo brothers insulting, attacking and criticising Peter Obi every now and then are all enemies of progress. Have you ever heard the Yoruba people attacking Tinubu or the Hausa people attacking Atiku? It is always the Igbo against the Igbo. Since Nigeria gained independence, this is the first time we are having a candidate that seems to be nationally accepted to lead the country out of the doldrums – Peter Obi. He is not even seen as an Igbo candidate or someone who is solely pursuing the interest of the Igbo race.
Peter Obi is seen as someone with a good understanding of what Nigeria is suffering from and how to tackle the numerous problems facing the country. Therefore, it is a surprise that, instead of uniting and standing behind Peter Obi, many prominent people are criticising him and making utterances that point to the fact that they will rather he lose in 2023 than for anyone from the South-east to lead the country.
When Soludo first attacked Obi by saying on Channels TV that he made a worthless investment as the governor of Anambra, we all condemned it, telling him to soft-pedal and protest the interest of the Igbo race. However, it seemed that the professor was determined to run down his predecessor as he took things a notch further by releasing a lengthy piece attacking Obi’s ambition. I mean, how best do you describe someone determined to make sure the Igbo does not lead this country? My advice to all those that are against Peter Obi are for them to soft-pedal. If we don’t get it right with Peter Obi, we would have lost the opportunity for the Igbo to produce the best president for the country. There is no better candidate than Peter Obi. We can advise him privately if he is not getting certain things right, but not coming publicly to disgrace our own brother. It is counterproductive and will affect us in the long run.
…Stella Ubanna, civil servant
Good plans better than criticism
The pathetic thing I hate about Africans, especially Nigerians, is that we leave substance to pursue shadows. We pay more attention to tribalism and ethnic jingoism than what candidates have to offer. It is ridiculous to come on social media to see how Nigerians are blindly criticising politicians, instead of focusing on issues of what they have to offer for the betterment of the country. It is not fair for people to focus on the criticism of any politician.
What we should focus on as youths is the good plans any candidate has for Nigerians. For instance, Atiku Abubakar of the PDP has promised to unify Nigeria. How realistic is that? Peter Obi of the Labour Party has said he will change Nigeria from consumption to a production economy, how realistic is his plan? Asiwaji Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the APC has been making many promises, but who has paid attention to know the good plans he has for Nigerians?
The above are pertinent plans we should be asking ourselves as Nigerians at this critical period, instead of the noises being made on social media. It is disheartening to see the name-calling, needless insults and unwarranted attacks on our prominent Nigerians, especially leading presidential candidates. Why Obi has been nicknamed Mr I Too Lie, Tinubu has labelled an uncoordinated stammerer and Atiku a man who cannot even unify his family or party. I mean, these are needless issues to focus on, especially as many cannot boast of knowing the economic plans of the presidential candidates. In a nutshell, Nigerians should learn to play the politics of maturity for us to develop as a nation.
…Musa Bako, public affairs analyst
Criticisms are normal
The criticisms of Peter Obi are normal. Whether they are by Soludo or other Igbo stalwarts, the normal thing is that the Igbo man likes expressing himself. It is not as if Obi is hated. In fact, Obi is not vying for Igbo Presidency. He is aspiring to be the president of Nigeria, come 2023. The Igbo man is democratic in nature. He hates nonsense. He does not want to be seen as an evil for supporting evil. He wants to be seen as speaking the truth. That is what is presently happening to Peter Obi.
Africa is in a coma because crooks chose self-gratification over good governance. Food inflation next year is going to be the worst since the end of the civil war. Over 70% of our farmlands are washed off by floods. Most of our farmers now live in IDP Camps. Combined forces of terrorism, banditry and floods made our farmers destitute in their own country. It is a question of the best person to lead the country. There is no need to stay loyal to tribe/religion while our governors loot our states blind. Every tweet is not about tribalism or religion. Sub-nationals receive monthly allocations, they even borrow more. Buhari is not the cause of every woe. We should tackle issues, not attack those asking Obi questions.
…Nathaniel Abang, activist
No issues between Soludo and Obi
The alleged rift between my principal and Obi is a figment of people’s imagination. They are brothers who may share different political opinions. Soludo’s relationship, friendship and brotherhood with Obi is still intact, as against what many people think. I don’t know how people created and magnified a non-existent issue and how they are reacting to the governor’s comment. As far as I know, there is no issue between Gov. Soludo and Obi. So, I wonder why people disturb themselves and go about shouting in the media, over-reacting and issuing one threat or the other over a non-existent issue they created. These are totally uncalled for and the people indulging in such should have a re-think.
The Soludo-led government is focused on delivering the dividends of democracy to people of Anambra and would not want to be distracted by any form of verbal attack, threat or sponsored charade. Soludo has the right to his opinion and is entitled to it under the 1999 Constitution as Amended and in a democracy and would not succumb to blackmail, threat or attack. Soludo will not retract any statement. He has no regrets about what he said, because he has actually expressed his own opinion which is his constitutional rights. The youth should refrain from being used as weapons of destabilisation instead of being part of the solution to the challenges facing the state.
The youth are both the leaders of today and tomorrow. I wonder why they would allow themselves to be used by some individuals. Instead of threatening to dump refuse at the Government House, they should rally support for the government of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, because his administration is actually working for the betterment of their lives. The governor wants to see that the youth of this present generation and the generation to come will have something that can make life more meaningful for them.
Aside from giving the youth various key positions in his administration, Soludo’s government is also currently training and empowering thousands of youths across the state in different vocational skills; youth empowerment is a major focus of his administration. So, I advise the youth to think twice.
…Christian Aburime, Soludo’s chief press secretary