Politics is a lot to do with being practical and pragmatic. A lot of politics is about being proactive and for those who play it as a game that comes from the heart, as a career, or as an adventure, pragmatism is key.
For politicians, there is always an opponent that must be beaten and an advantage to be had. This mentality which is in no way distinct to politics however plays a key role in shaping the way the game of politics is played.
Thus, in many instances, politicians do whatever it takes to win elections, knowing that in the cut-throat world of Nigerian politics, victory is all that matters in the long run.
A breath of fresh air
In many ways, Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party,represents the breath of fresh air well-meaning Nigerians have been crying out for many years now. Educated and economical, the former Anambra State Governor has lit up the 2023 presidential race with luminous ideas about how he hopes to transform the fortunes of the country if he gets the nod.
But Nigerians have not been fooled and are no longer so easily fooled. Accustomed to hearing lie after lie from the typical Nigerian politician, they have asked for more. The difference with Peter Obi is that he has given them more.
The former Anambra State Governor has spoken enthusiastically about how his ideas will work. Like a giant canvass, he has also held up the eight years during which he was governor as a witness to the fact that his ideas have not just been hot air. Many Nigerians who have found accomodations for their aspirations on that giant canvass have expectedly been whipped into a frenzy. sThey have been bewitched.
Their activities have forced attention from many of those who were counting on the old, dark ways to impose ailing and aging candidates on an aching nation. When they have heaped scorn at Obi`s supposed lack of political structures, it has been with butterflies in their stomachs.
A weighty concern
However, Peter Obi`s presidential aspirations have also become a melting pot for all those who for many years have nursed the darkest grievances against Nigeria. Of this lot, the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) takes the biscuit.
Since 2015 but especially since 2021 when Nnamdi Kanu the leader of the group showed staggering foolhardiness by travelling to Kenya where he was quickly picked up by the Kenyan authorities who then proceeded to bundle him over to Nigerian authorities in what quickly became an exchange of a fugitive between autocracies.
Since he was arrested, his supporters have cranked up the heat on the southeast where their bloody measures have been aimed at forcing the federal government to release Mr. Kanu.
Their activities have been key in causing the security architecture in the southeast to disintegrate. The recent slaughter of about five soldiers at Umunze, Anambra State, by unknown gunmen reminded everyone of how cheap life has become in the Southeast.
Now, the fear is with how many hard-nosed and hardcore IPOB supporters have jumped on the Peter Obi bandwagon and are seeing in a Peter Obi Presidency a sure, smooth path to the achievement of their aims. However, Peter Obi himself must treat them like lepers.
At the moment, Nigeria is too fragile for the kind of divisive politics in which some of them have become mavens in the last two years. It is in no uncertain terms that they must be told that they have no place in the Peter Obi project which represents a historic opportunity for Nigeria to turn a new leaf.
Twitter @ keneobiezu