Is Peter Obi The Rock…?

Charles Okoh

Charles Okoh

Before I begin this piece, let me issue some caveats. I am a Christian and a Catholic and a proud one at that. I am not a pastor, of course, I cannot be a priest because I had chosen the path of holy matrimony and I have beautiful children, to the glory of God. So for all I shall be saying here, I don’t lay any claim whatsoever to the effect that they are revelations from heaven to me; let us take this as a case of a man who is speaking carnally.

Our nation is going through a rough patch and everybody is tensed up and agitated. Nothing is taken on face value anymore, anybody can be killed for blasphemy or burnt for the slightest of provocation and before you say Jack Robinson a litany of so-called learned men would be queuing behind the suspects offering legal representation, pro bono. So, before I am accused of blasphemy, the inference hereafter should just be dismissed as that of a compulsive busybody.

In the Holy Bible, the book of Matthew 16, from verse 13, when Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, He questioned His disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the prophets.” “But what about you?” Jesus asked. “Who do you say I am?”… Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied, “Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah! For this was not revealed to you by flesh and blood, but by My Father in heaven.… And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades will not prevail against it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven. Whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

To the extent that Jesus made Peter the head of his church for direction, to that level too does the nation called Nigeria in desperate need of a leader for direction to unleash all the untapped potentials of this nation. How can a nation be so blessed and yet remain so miserable? How can we be plagued with such a streak of bad leadership?

Since the return of the nation to democracy on May 29, 1999, for 16 years, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) ruled the country. For all those years, we were groping in the dark and hoping that things would get better if we tried a power shift from the then ruling party to the main opposition party, All Progressives Congress (APC). Eight years later, we all now wish to return to Egypt. It is like they say in local parlance; from frying pan to fire. Insecurity has assumed a more frightening dimension; poverty has increased; corruption is more monstrous than we could ever imagine. What has changed after eight years? Nothing! We took over from India as the poverty capital of the world. If you realise the population of India to that of Nigeria and the many natural and human resources this nation is blessed with then the magnitude of the calamity that has befallen us will be better appreciated.

Now, we are in the process of a new electoral cycle and the presidential primary elections to produce party candidates have been concluded and the two dominant parties have successfully produced their candidates in Atiku Abubakar and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu for the PDP and APC respectively.

But should that really be the fate of the nation that it must only be the business of the PDP and APC? I do not think so and that for me makes the case for other options other than these tested and failed political parties. This is where the option of the Labour Party and its candidate Peter Obi becomes necessary and timeous.

One thing for sure, whoever becomes the next president of this country cannot perform as poorly as the regime of President Buhari for several reasons. It is unlikely any of these contestants would be aloof while their lieutenants pillage the nation’s treasury and populate key public offices with one-sided appointments in total disregard to the federal character laws of the nation.

Some few months ago, anybody would have told you that Peter Obi’s foray into the democratic mix might be only to ultimately settle for the vice presidential position. But with his departure from the PDP to the Labour Party, it is becoming more apparent that the Obi factor cannot be dismissed with a wave of the hand.

Some say he doesn’t have the structure. Fair enough the Labour party may not have performed well in previous participations, but to think that that same Labour Party with what is brewing now is the same is to be ignorant of the new tide that’s prevalent now.

For once, there is a rising interest in the youth population to be involved in the 2023 presidential elections, this renewed vigour is coming as a result of the belief that for the first time, the wishes of the electorate would be reflected in the eventual outcome of the polls. This of course, is bolstered by the coming into being of the new Electoral Act, which supports electronic transmission of the results from the polling unit straight to the INEC servers, thereby eliminating, to some extent, human intervention in the process.

If this renewed hope in INEC to deliver will count for much, only time will tell, but what is without doubt is that the so-called and much touted political structure is a euphemism for fraud; a special utility vehicle for manipulating the electoral process.

The so-called bigger parties are better advised not to take the threat of Peter Obi lightly because the dynamics are not the same given the increasing interest by the EndSARS protest-inspired population that have been mobilizing to make their votes count. One thing for sure, it will no longer be business as usual, and those who think that the emergence of Atiku and Tinubu would make the contest a two-horse race may be doing themselves a great disservice.

The general sentiments on the streets are that both the APC and PDP have disappointed and therefore, do not deserve to be given another chance.

The hunger the people feel has not discriminated between the man in Kano and the man in Lagos. The insecurity in the land has not spared anybody in any part of the country. The increasing loss of jobs in the land and the unemployment rate has continued to rise. People are worried and scared going to their places of worship. The pangs of hunger and lack in the country are frightening. The level of despondency and despair in the land is universal and the reaction of the people to this negative narrative may not spare the so-called leading parties.

For about five months, the children of a large population of the nation are at home idling away as a result of the ASUU-led public universities’ strike. The population of unemployed and unemployable graduates keeps rising by the day and for many of these youths, the blame is heaped on the PDP and APC governments.

If Peter Obi can sustain this tempo in the coming months is left to be seen, but the threat of Obi today is real and gathering momentum and at the end, win or lose, the Obi surge would sufficiently raise the bar for the two foremost parties. Dismissing this as merely social media-based is the greatest disservice the APC and PDP can do to themselves.

Recall that when the uprising against  police brutality, the ENDSARS protest, started many dismissed it as a mere storm in the tea cup. But don’t we all know better now?

Will Obi be the one to come or are we to await another? Will Peter Obi be the rock upon which  the nation of our dreams would be realised? Does he have the wherewithal to go the whole hog? Only time will tell, but if there is one thing the Labour Party cannot afford, it’s the stupid distraction rearing their ugly heads by way of factional groups or litigation over which of the factions is authentic. Anyone raising these now must be considered an enemy and a mole within the Labour Party. They must close ranks and present a formidable unit to make any difference. .

Nigerians are tired with the old order and desperately desire change for the better. All those still marooned with the status quo may be in for a shocker.

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Professor Jideofor Adibe


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