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Edidiong Esara: Letter to Peter Obi on the presidential election



Dear Peter,

When you threw your hat into the election ring, even I did not give you a chance. But quickly and steadily you seeped into the consciousness of Nigerians in their millions. You communicated in the language of the people, felt their pain, and came across as different from the fakeness in politicians that we are accustomed to. Which other candidate dared to claim that they never stole a kobo of state funds, never used state resources for personal benefit and left a huge sum in savings rather than debt at the end of their tenure? As an opposition candidate and a potent threat to the current ruling class, the anti-corruption agencies could easily have proven you wrong if you had lied on that – as they did with your erstwhile campaign DG.

Your opponents tried hard to paste dirt on you. How feeble their strong efforts turned out to be because compared to the other major contenders, you are clean, I daresay. You are not a saint. But politics in Nigeria is not yet peopled by saints, so much so that some say morality and politics are water and oil – a lie from the pit of hell. You dared to claim a moral high ground regardless, and your antecedents give reason to believe you. You are not the messiah. Only Jesus is. Yet my one vote is for you, the one aspirant in this dispensation whose ambition has won the hearts of many hitherto politically apathetic folks.

Against all odds, you came from being a fringe candidate to becoming the most potent force in this election. It was nothing short of a miracle: how you declared on a scarcely known platform and suddenly, that party became the toast of ebullient Nigerian youths. The love you got was massive, organic; how easily you pulled the crowds without inducement was a study in democratic appeal. The more they dismissed you, the more you came up better, until you became the PDAPC’s worst nightmare.

As governor of Anambra state, you did noble things with the state’s education and came out tops nationwide. But what sunk in even more deeply in me was the way you broke protocol and related with secondary school students, giving a listening ear to their problems, and solving them. Such humane service delivery beyond the usual rhetoric of politicians touched a soft spot. And oh, how you cut waste, the unusual way you did it, though it pitted you against those who fed fat on the crooked system. Thank you, Peter, for the people you did not owe as governor of Anambra state, for your efforts to instill transparency in government procurement, and for showing compassion. Consumption to production is achievable, judging by the way you supported local industries.

They tried to paint you in ethnic colours, it didn’t quite work out. They tagged you a religious bigot, it refused to stick. In your graceful manner, you repeatedly asserted: “Don’t vote for me because of my tribe. Don’t vote me because I am Christian. Vote for me because I am the most competent candidate”. I believe you are.

How did you transmogrify from being a philosopher to a statistically savvy candidate, reeling out data until your accountant opponent gasped: “Na statistics we go chop?” No matter that you have sometimes failed to show how these facts apply in developing Nigeria. I am not expecting an all-knowing president – you display the humility needed to learn from others who know better than you.

The wisdom you exhibited in responding to scathing criticisms was legendary. To your kinsman governor who assayed that you could never win, you called him your elder brother and a better-educated person than your trader self. To his denigration of your achievements while in office, you gave evidence of the outstanding things you did for Anambra and implored him to do better than you. When a certain reverend father dubbed you stingy and prophesied your loss before the elections, you had respectful words for the clergyman. And when a governor left myriads of problems in his state to call you out as a Nollywood actor, you accepted the movie role and invited thespians to partner with you.

We have never had it that good in this political clime where insults are an eye, nose and tooth for an eye.

Whether you win the election or not, you are a phenomenon. You fueled a political revolution, and Nigeria’s democracy will be the better for it. If you win, the status quo will not stand, I wager. Whatever the outcome, God is determined to save Nigeria and no force on earth can stop Him.


Article written by Edidiong Esara

Esara wrote via   [email protected]


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