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2023 Presidential Poll: How PDP Caused Obi Loss

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2023 Presidential Poll: How PDP Caused Obi Loss
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By Annabel Ogheneganre

The 2023 presidential elections have come and gone but the ripples generated by the sensational Labour Party candidate, Peter Gregory Obi, have continued to dominate discourse across the nation. Many believed Peter Obi was the candidate to beat. His performance was in fact beyond imagination. When the different opinion polls by different organizations projected him as possible winner, yours sincerely never knew he could go close to the coveted prize. It was an overwhelming tsunami which rubbished many book makers.

One thing the Peter Obi supporters must realize is that the APC whom they sometime blame for their loss is actually not the problem. The APC was the party in power. They have every right to run again in order to retain power. It was not out of place for APC to field candidate for the election. Despite their overwhelming presence in all the states of the federation and the fact that APC was in control of 21 out of the 36 states in Nigeria, the party allowed the process to run. They voted a southern candidate to fly the party flag against the power-grabbing tendency of the PDP who wanted power at all cost and so, ran against the rotational presidency, which was the mood of Nigerians ahead of the polls. PDP wanted to grab power by leveraging on block votes from Northern Nigeria. PDP never calculated that the people could go for credibility, relationship and integrity.

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The BIVAS machine which brought out the true picture of the voting strength of the masses was an innovation from the APC-led federal government. Some people, out of cheer ignorance, believe that the BVAS did not work. BVAS worked and that was what accounted for the reduction in voters figure from hitherto PDP stronghold like Warri South-West, Ika North East etc and at the National level, Kano, Lagos and such other states. BVAS ensured the total votes never exceeded the figure captured by the BVAS machine during accreditation. The innovation checked rigging to a reasonable extent. Buhari signed these electoral reforms to ensure votes count. And votes actually counted hence Labour Party defeated many Goliaths across Nigeria. He won 6 seats in the senate and over 30 seats in the House of Representatives. Under the watch of PDP in the presidency, Labour Party wouldn’t have attained this feat.

PDP knew very well that 2023 was the turn of southern Nigeria. If PDP had chosen a southern candidate, Obi would have remained Obi and the tsunami would have had better results particularly in the north. With Atiku, an experienced war-horse from the north in the ballot, the north became confused and many settled for Atiku. Without Atiku in the picture, Obi would have won Kaduna state which went to the PDP. APC was the common target of the Obi movement since APC was in power and they actually wanted to wrestle power from them. 2023 would have been a straight fight between Tinubu and Obi. But Atiku was a major distraction.

The argument that APC rigged the last election may not be entirely true. You cannot ask a man to stand up from his seat without resistance. APC resisted the onslaught and won some vital votes after losing in many strategic strongholds. What APC allowed in the last election was never in the wild contemplation of the PDP. A PDP presidency will deploy the Maurice Iwu strategy to win elections. PDP got it all wrong when it brought the party candidate from the north whereas it was the turn of the south. Initially, it was rumoured that Obi was out to divide Atiku’s votes. But what played out on February 25th was that Atiku was out to stop Peter Obi.

Those talking of being ‘Obidiently Sherified’ do not know their real enemy. PDP is the enemy Nigerians chased out of power in 2015 and the party has been in power for 24 years in Delta State. That Peter Obi could not dislodge Tinubu at the centre does not justify any alliance with PDP ahead of March 11. Running from Church to Church cannot save PDP. The party had messed up Delta State and the people should vote a competent hand to drive the system from May 29. It should not and can never be PDP’s Sheriff Oborevwori who can hardly address the people competently. One thing is clear, the Church stood behind Peter Obi on February 25th. Most of those Church leaders understand the difference between Ovie Omo-Agege and Sheriff Oborevwori in terms of competence. Nobody can trade away Omo-Agege for Sheriff. Agege is the real deal.
Let me reiterate the fact that the PDP as it were was responsible for Peter Obi’s loss in the last election. The election was between Bola Ahmed Tinubu of APC and Peter Gregory Obi of Labour Party. PDP had no business fielding a northern candidate. That move was meant to dislodge Obi in strategic states. The south-south, south east and middle belts which hitherto were traditional strongholds of PDP were taken over by the Labour Party tsunami while the South-West and North West were to be divided by APC and LP. But PDP came into the picture to claim a good chunk of LP votes. The question one may ask is whether it was APC that rigged out Labour Party in Ika North East where Okowa held sway and terrorized INEC officials to deliver his LGA for him against Peter Obi.

As far as the 2023 general elections are concerned, PDP is the enemy, particularly of southern Nigeria. For daring to field a northern candidate when it is clearly the turn of the south, PDP did not mean well and they acted the spoiler role to deplete the Labour Party strength. The Obidient people, to whom yours sincerely belong, should not be deceived into believing that APC were the enemy. The real enemy is PDP and should be treated as such. What we are after is the next governor of Delta State come May 29. Let us look at the character, integrity and capability of the candidates and not on the basis of political parties. Of the two front-runners in the race to Osadebey House, Senator Ovie Omo-Agege is the best. He should be given the mandate to be in charge of the state. He deserves it. He is well primed to succeed as governor without an Owa-Alero emperor breathing down his neck like an incubus. Agege is the real deal!

Annabel Ogheneganre of the Urhobo Voice newspaper writes from Garki, Abuja. (Please send reaction to [email protected])

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