Current happenings show that some powers that be and some candidates in the 2023 presidential elections are not finding it easy with the rising popularity and acceptability of Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party in 2023.
This is a result of the many attacks on the Obi/Datti presidential campaign movement by candidates of other political parties and their faithful. Despite all these attacks, Peter Obi and his running mate continue to engage Nigerians with possible solutions that will take Nigeria out of its present state of quagmire. This is unlike other candidates whose antecedents are against the tides.
Amongst all the presidential candidates in the 2023 elections, Peter Obi is about the only candidate who is enjoying genuine goodwill from Nigerians who are disposed to donate their hard-earned incomes in support of the actualization of this project as against other candidates who enjoy mostly ill-motivated and ill-gotten financial support from either their partners in the looting of public purse or those who have plans to be rewarded with contracts if their candidates emerge victorious in the elections (God forbid!).
In the case of the genuine Nigerians supporting the Peter Obi/Datti movement with either their moral or hard earned financial capacities, their expectations are just for a better Nigeria where everyone will enjoy comfort of life like most of the western countries.
The support for the Obi/Datti movement ranges from Nigerians taking it upon themselves to sponsor their campaigns through the organization of rallies, matches, printing of posters, printing of flyers, printing banners/billboards, production of wears carrying images of Obi/Datti among other numerous support packages aimed at popularizing their campaign.
This development is not however going down well in the hearts of some agents of darkness who either do not want a Peter Obi/Datti presidency that will liberate Nigerians from the shackles of backwardness or are paving ways for their cronies who do not mean well for Nigeria to emerge as president so that looting and other ills in the governance of Nigeria will continue.
The recent statement by Nigeria’s attorney general and minister of justice, Abubakar Malami, SAN, has been perceived by Nigerians to be one of the many antics being put in place to cut down the support and chances of the Peter Obi/Datti victory.
According to Malami, “Any Nigerian who lives abroad, funding the campaign of Peter Obi shall be arrested. It is against our electoral laws.”
He said that one thing Nigerians based abroad failed to understand is that they cannot stay there and dictate to how to govern t
Nigeria, adding, “Someone will sit in the United States of America and be telling us what to do and what not to do as if we don’t know what we are doing in this country. If you violate the Electoral Law, you will face the penalty squarely and we will do everything within our powers to prosecute both you and the candidate you are funding his campaign.”
The attorney general said they had received a signal that some individuals, mostly Nigerians living abroad, have taken it upon themselves to fund the campaign of Obi.
“What these individuals failed to understand is that Nigerian is a democratic nation governed by democratic rules and regulations. It is against the Electoral La for those living abroad to sponsor any candidate in an election. Those involved should desist from such act or have us to contend with. We will resist it by all means. Such fund cannot enter Nigeria. Although we have put measures on ground to apprehend those who will get themselves involved in such an act,” Malami added.
Nigerians have taken to the social media to interrogate Malami’s stance. This is because he kept blind eye and locked brain when dollars were raining during APC and PDP convention vote-buyings. Nothing has equally been done to sponsors of Boko Haram and banditry that have made the hitherto peaceful Northern Nigeria a no-go area.
According to Abasienyene Asikpo poster, “Panicking is a sign of being intimidated. They have seen that the narrative has changed for good and they should know that, with or without funding, Nigerians will deliver Mr Peter Obi and his vice, come 2023, because an event whose time has come cannot be stopped by anyone!”
Egili Augustine wrote, “APC Convention held at Eagle Square was dollarized illigally and no one was arrested. [Malami] is aware of sponsors of Boko Haram at home and abroad but nothing has been done about it. Why is Malami chasing shadows? Allow Nigerians to decide their next president so long as he or she is a Nigerian and focus campaigning for your party. After all, in 2015 Buhari Campaigned against president Goodluck Jonathan to Chataram house in UK and nothing is said about it. Mr Peter Obi is a genuine Nigerian, why are you afraid? Nigerians are watching your anticidents.”
Wuyep Solomon posted, “Do same to sponsors of Boko haram both at home and abroad. During APC/ PDP primaries, dollars were shared to delegates, is that not against the electoral laws? Arrest them as well. The fear of Obi/ Datti is the beginning of wisdom.”
There have also been allegations that people from Niger Republic come to vote in Nigeria during general elections in favour of northern Nigeria interest but nothing had ever been done to stop it.
It is therefore pertinent to state that it is better to appreciate a beautiful idea who’s time has come to address the many ills confronting the growth of Nigeria than to be swallowed by Obiphobia. Nigeria cannot remain in the dark please. Nigerians living both at home and abroad have the rights to contribute their quota to whatever will make Nigeria be the best among equals and committee of nations.
Malami should not pose to be sectional at this trying times of Nigeria in his application of the law guiding the conduct of elections in the country. He cannot close his eyes to the illegal acts of some candidates violating electoral laws and then open his eyes against others because they do not share same cultural or political affiliations with him.
Emmanuel Jonathan writes from Alor-Agu, Igbo-Eze South LGA