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Supporting Peter Obi as an Igbo candidate is killing him softly, and the surest way to make him lose. Many of our Igbo brothers do not know this.

I wrote something in my column yesterday in The Sun newspaper about how Ndigbo can stop Mr Obi from becoming President. Simply convert his national movement into another Igbo Presidency quest that recently failed to impress both APC and PDP. In order words, make him fail by appropriating his national message and promoting it as another ethnic agenda for the presidency.

Killing Peter Obi softly

Some of us are already doing it, jumping into support bandwagons with loudspeakers to make irredentist noise. Others stoke ethnic battles in search of PVCs, carrying on the way Chinua Achebe described Nigerians long ago. The rest unconsciously position Peter Obi as the Igbo candidate, rather than a potential capable manager that Nigerians see.

Ndigbo albatross

Peter Obi will find the going difficult when Ndigbo succeed in noisily repositioning him as their candidate. Therefore, we must salute the courage of APC’s Gov Dave Umahi, APGA’s Victor Oye, Fr Ejike Mbaka, and PDP’s Chief Jim Nwobodo. They went against the grain and are ironically the best advertisement for the Obi Campaign among Ndigbo.

Gov Umahi of Ebonyi says his State will vote for Bola Tinubu rather than Peter Obi. Similarly, APGA national chairman, Victor Oye, believes Obi is “going nowhere” in Anambra if he does not return to the party. In other words, APGA will mobilize Ndi Anambra to vote against their former governor. In Enugu, Mbaka says Obi’s “stinginess” will be his undoing while Nwobodo is pushing for Ndigbo to vote PDP.

We know that all four are blowing hot air. But as governor, party leaders and spirirual guide, they have the influence to make a little impact. Hopefully, they should influence 25 percent vote for the dominant parties in various Southeast states. What matters is that whether Obi wins or loses, it is better that Southeast votes count in the APC, PDP and LP. With preponderant votes in LP of course. No more shall we cram all eggs in one basket. These alternate voices should therefore be amplified because they help the Obi Campaign. Without them, it is easy to corrupt his national message into another Igbo ethnic chant that makes Nigeria uneasy.

Alternative voices as solution

Without the alternative voices, we will only be adding to the previous messages of marginalisation and separation that got Ndigbo nowhere. We fought the marginalisation war with our pens, mikes, camera phones, and keyboards. These media tools amplified our abuse of persons who dared to challenge our unending cries of victimisation. We however fought without unity, and with no central leadership to coordinate a strategy to make Nigeria hear us and wipe our tears. Rather, we provided opportunities for Igbo turncoats to profit from the peoples misery.

To be sure, there is marginalisation. Its architects know and support its extension because of irrational fear of Ndigbo. If we give them power, how will we protect ourselves if they decide to pay us back for years of oppression and marginalization? Do they have a Mandela among them that will not seek revenge or promote APC-like nepotism?

From marginalisation, two opportunistic separatist agitations caught Ndigbo in a crossfire. Today, the Southeast groans under the heavy yoke of non-strategic separatist wars fueled by violent farmland contentions with the Bush Fulani. Still, the herder-farmer skirmishes have become child’s play compared to today’s tears and blood harvested by people of the Southeast. Daily, unknown gunmen burn, kill, behead, and abduct for ransom. Some of those sent by the authorities to contain the terror allegedly turned rogue to become another terror group.

Killing Obi softly

What the two groups are doing to Igbo people in the Southeast are worse than anything the herdsmen did before. APC and PDP, the dominant parties, used marginalisation and separatist agitation as excuses to deny Ndigbo their 2023 presidential tickets. Ndigbo should know that they cannot help Obi if they seek to own his campaign. They should rather support and follow Nigerian youths who see in Obi a prudent and capable manager to lead the country. Otherwise we’ll realize too late that we were killing Peter Obi softly.