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Politics of Monday, 16 January 2023


2023: Obi is not perfect but he is a better option - Fresh insights emerge on Obasanjo’s choice of Peter Obi

Peter Obi and Obasanjo87 Peter Obi and Obasanjo87

More insights have emerged regarding the endorsement of Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party by former President Olusegun Obasanjo ahead of the 2023 general elections.

Recall that Obasanjo dominated the headlines late last year for his open endorsement of the former Anambra governor. The endorsement of Obi generated an uproar from stakeholders from the opposition with many calling out the former head of state for his choice.

However, in a chat with Daily Post on the build-up to the elections, an aide to the former President further explained why his principal is working for Obi.

According to the aide, Obasanjo has for years advocated decisive tackling of insecurity by a government that will also fix the economy, rid the system of corruption, end lopsided appointments, among others.

However, apart from Nigeria being governed by a credible individual, the former leader particularly doesn’t want power to remain in the North. He wants the South-East to produce the next President.

The source restated Obasanjo’s belief in North-South power rotation, suggesting that the support for PDP’s Atiku Abubakar in 2019 would not have extended into two terms as Buhari was approaching the end of his first term.

The aide noted that Obasanjo is worried because if the South doesn’t assume the nation’s topmost seat on May 29, agitation for breakup may resume on a full-blown scale.

“Baba supported the President in 2015 because the country needed strong leadership. When he saw that his choice did not live up to expectations, he withdrew support before 2019 when he openly backed Atiku.

“He was the most formidable at that time and the North still had eight years to complete. Buhari won that election and will complete his tenure soon. How will Baba support another Northerner again after 2015 and 2019.

“Look, if Obasanjo’s generation leaves in about 10 years from now, Nigerians will understand better. It will be difficult to take it (power from the North). They have the majority in terms of number of votes and they know the game.

“It is because people like Obasanjo are alive that the struggle for Southern presidency is this competitive. When they go, who are the influential people that will speak for the South?

“Obasanjo is insisting on a Southerner because a Northerner as President beyond 2023 means a possible 16 years in power.”

On the decision to support Obi ahead of fellow Southwesterner Tinubu, and the talks trailing his backing, the source replied: “It’s his choice”.

“Why are they angry? Let everyone allow the people to decide. The funny thing is most of those who attack him and their associates go to see him before and after elections.

“Obasanjo opted for Obi because he knows both of them; their capacity, antecedents, and other factors. Obi is not perfect but a better option. Also, his region has not done it (presidency) before, a situation Baba believes is unfair.

“People like him are speaking up because they know the consequence of one region doing more than two terms at a stretch. There will be increased secession agitation.

“Obasanjo and others know what happened during the civil war and will not allow their sacrifice to go like that. That Baba supports Peter Obi is not about politics and hatred for anybody, it’s about fairness, justice and equity.”

Obi (from Anambra – South-East), Atiku (Adamawa – North-East), Tinubu (Lagos – South-West) and NNPP’s Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano – North-West) will go head-to-head on Saturday, February 25.