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Peter Obi: The Labor Presidential Party Candidate is Energizing the Nigerians Youth

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A wealthy businessman with a reputation for being frugal, Peter Obi has emerged as a powerful force ahead of Nigeria’s presidential election next February, energising voters with messages of prudence and accountability that are amplified by an army of social media users.

In a country that seems to always be on the lookout for a messiah to solve its myriad problems, young social media-savvy supporters have elevated Mr Obi to sainthood and are backing his largely unknown Labour Party against two septuagenarian political heavyweights.

His name is often trending on social media on the back of numerous conversations sparked by his supporters, instantly recognisable from their display picture of his image or the white, red and green logo of his party.

These are mostly urban under-30s who refer to themselves as the “Coconut-head generation”, because they are strong-willed, independent-minded and contemptuous of older politicians who, they say, have done little for them.

Many of them, like Dayo Ekundayo from the eastern city of Owerri, were involved in the EndSars protests that forced the disbandment of a notorious police department two years ago and also morphed into calls for better government.

Now, they are deploying the same strategies that mobilized hundreds of thousands of young Nigerians and raised millions of naira within weeks for the 60-year-old who they consider an alternative to the two parties that have dominated politics since the end of military rule in 1999.

“Which Nigerian politician has ever held office and has his integrity intact? I do not see any other logical option for young people in Nigeria,” said Mr Ekundayo.

He has already been involved in a march for Mr Obi, and is providing logistics and mobilising students for the campaign as he did during the EndSars protests.

But opponents say Mr Obi is a political impostor, one of many who spring up at election time with delusions of being a third force that will wrestle power from the traditional parties.

Many supporters of the main opposition People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and neutral observers agree he is head and shoulders above the other candidates, but say he lacks the nationwide popularity to win the election and have warned his supporters that they risk wasting their votes.

They believe he is a distraction from the common goal of removing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) from office, and could split the opposition vote.

A devout Catholic from eastern Nigeria, they point to his lack of popularity in the Muslim-dominated north, whose votes are considered critical in winning presidential elections.

And his critics question whether he truly represents a break from the corruption he routinely lambasts, pointing out that his name popped up in the leaked Pandora Papers which exposed the hidden wealth of the rich and powerful in 2021.

While he was not accused of stealing money, he failed to declare offshore accounts and assets held by family members, citing ignorance.

He was also accused of investing state funds, as governor, into a company he had dealings with. He denied any wrongdoing and points out that the value of the investment has since grown.

Mr Obi repeatedly says he is not desperate to be president, which is ironic for a man who has changed parties four times since 2002.

He dumped the PDP just days before its presidential primary in June and the party went on to choose the 75-year-old former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar as its presidential flagbearer.

Mr Obi was Atiku Abubakar’s running mate in the 2019 presidential election which the PDP lost to the ruling APC

Critics say he pulled out of the contest because he knew his chances of winning were slim but he cited wrangling within the PDP, where he was a vice-presidential candidate in 2019, for deciding to cross over to the Labour Party.

His supporters are also convinced that he was pushed out of the PDP because he refused to bribe delegates at the party primary and have coined the phrase: “We don’t give shishi (money)” as a buzzword for his famed frugality and his prudence in managing government funds in a country with a history of wasteful expenditure by public officers.

They regard him as an unconventional politician prepared to take on the APC and PDP behemoths seen as different sides of the same coin, who they accuse of dipping their fingers into the public purse.

There is also a religious and ethnic twist to his candidacy.

In a country where roughly half the population is Christian, his supporters hope that this will bolster his chances of winning, as after eight years of President Muhammadu Buhari they would not want another Muslim – the APC’s Bola Tinubu, 70, or the PDP’s Mr Abubakar – to take office.

The OBIdients

Some also support Mr Obi because of his ethnic background. Igbos make up the country’s third largest ethnic group, but Nigeria has had only one Igbo leader, largely ceremonial, since it freed itself from British colonial rule in 1960.

Many Igbos accuse successive Nigerian governments of marginalising them and hope that Mr Obi will rise to power so that the south-east, where most of them live, would see greater development and so counter the pull of secession groups like the Indigenous People of Biafra (Ipob).

A philosophy graduate, he worked in his family’s retail businesses before going on to make his own money, importing everything from salad cream to beauty products, and baked beans to champagne, while also owning a brewery and holding major shares in three commercial banks.

You can normally recognise a Nigerian billionaire from a mile off but Mr Obi is thrifty and wears it as a mark of pride.

He is quick to point out that he owns just two pairs of black shoes from midmarket British chain Marks and Spencer, prefers a $200 suit from Stein Mart to a $4,000 Tom Ford suit, and always insists on carrying his own luggage, rather than paying someone else to do it for him.

Even his children are not spared his frugality. His 30-year-old son was denied a car, he said, while his other child is a happy primary school teacher – a rarity in a country where a politician’s name often opens doors to more lucrative jobs.

Despite the financial controversy, his tenure as governor of Anambra state has become a reference point for his presidential campaign.

His supporters point out that he invested heavily in education and paid salaries on time – the simple things that most Nigerian state governors tend to neglect.

He also left huge savings in state coffers at the end of his two four-year tenures, another rarity.

Most of those supporting Mr Obi were involved in anti-police brutality protests in 2020

But Frances Ogbonnaya, a university student in Anambra state when Mr Obi was governor, is surprised by the praises being sung in his name, describing his tenure as unremarkable.

“Who saves money in the face of hunger? Who saves money in the face of a lack of facilities?” she asked rhetorically.

But it is his reputation for frugality and sound management that has attracted a horde of supporters, known as OBIdients.

Some have been accused of cyberbullying and labelling anyone who does not vote for him in next year’s election an enemy of the state.

He responded with a tweet calling on his supporters to “imbibe the spirit of sportsmanship”, but it has done little to calm them down.

They are quick to show anyone who tells them that elections aren’t won on Twitter, the crowds at offices of Nigeria’s electoral body where they have been flooding to register as first-time voters.

But this is not the same as actually turning out to vote on election day.

With months to the election, there is no denying the momentum building behind Mr Obi but cynics also point to the lack of a nationwide party structure to support the view that, while possible, an Obi presidency remains highly improbable.

He retorts that his structure is “the 100 million Nigerians that live in poverty [and] the 35 million Nigerians who don’t know where their next meal will come from”.

If half of those turn out to vote him on election day, it might very well be all that he needs.

Culled from the BBC News

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Africa

US senator urges Kenyan president to aid peaceful transition

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NAIROBI, Kenya (AP) — A visiting U.S. senator says he has encouraged Kenya’s outgoing president to participate in a “peaceful transition of power” amid the latest election crisis in East Africa’s most stable democracy.

“I’ll let the president speak for himself, but that was certainly a hope I expressed today,” Sen. Chris Coons told The Associated Press after his meeting with President Uhuru Kenyatta on Thursday. He said they discussed ways in which Kenyatta can play a “constructive peacemaking role” after leaving office.

Kenyatta has remained publicly silent since the Aug. 9 vote, adding to the anxiety as Kenya again faces post-election uncertainty and a likely court challenge by the losing candidate, Raila Odinga. Coons, leading a congressional delegation on a five-country Africa visit, was in Kenya in part to meet the key parties and urge that calm continue.

Sen. Chris Coons, second right, leading a U.S. congressional delegation, is accompanied by his wife Annie Coons, right, and Rep Dave Joyce, left, as he speaks to patient David Oduor, center, at his home, after visiting the Tabitha Medical Clinic run by CFK Africa in the Kibera neighborhood of Nairobi, Kenya Thursday, Aug. 18, 2022. The delegation also met with current President Uhuru Kenyatta, Kenya’s new president-elect William Ruto, and opposition figure Raila Odinga who has said he will challenge his recent election loss in court. (AP Photo/Ben Curtis)

Kenyatta had backed longtime rival and opposition leader Odinga in the close race against his own deputy president, William Ruto, who fell out bitterly with Kenyatta years ago. Ruto on Monday was declared the winner, but not before Kenya’s most peaceful election ever slid into chaos in the final moments.

The electoral commission split in two, each side accusing the other of trying to tinker with the results. It came as a shock to many Kenyans after an election widely seen as the country’s most transparent ever, with results from the more than 46,000 polling stations posted online.

Now Odinga almost certainly will challenge the results in Supreme Court. His campaign has seven days from Monday’s declaration to do so, and the court will have 14 days to rule. Odinga has urged supporters to remain patient instead of taking to the streets in a country with a history of sometimes deadly post-election violence.

After meeting with Kenyatta, Odinga and Ruto, Coons told the AP “I was encouraged that in all three meetings we heard a commitment to a call for calm and tranquility, to respect the legal processes established in the 2010 constitution.” He said the conversations were about the rule of law, the importance of free and fair elections and peaceful transitions.

“Obviously, the United States has had a very difficult experience with these issues for the past few years,” Coons said, referring to the Jan. 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol as former President Donald Trump tried to remain in power. “I said in all three meetings we have things to learn from Kenya.”

Kenyatta told Coons that Kenya would uphold “its position of a shining example of democracy in the continent by maintaining peace during this transition period,” according to a statement issued by the president’s office.

Coons said he did not come to Kenya seeking anything like the handshake that Kenyatta and Odinga, after prodding, famously shared to end months of crisis after the 2017 election, whose results were overturned by the Supreme Court over irregularities, a first in Africa. Odinga boycotted the fresh vote and declared himself the “people’s president,” bringing allegations of treason.

This time, with Kenyatta’s backing, the Odinga campaign felt he would win the presidency after a quarter-century of pursuing it.

Kenyatta is stepping down after two terms, itself a notable act in a region where longtime presidents like Yoweri Museveni of Uganda and Paul Kagame of Rwanda have been accused of clinging to power through changes in term limits, manipulation of elections and crackdowns on dissenting voices.

The U.S. delegation is also visiting Rwanda, where human rights and violent tensions with neighboring Congo are almost certainly on the agenda following Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s visit there last week. Coons said he looks forward to visiting again with Kagame.

Kenyatta has played a leading role in efforts to calm the Rwanda-Congo tensions and in trying to mediate in neighboring Ethiopia’s deadly Tigray conflict, with support from the U.S. Coons did not say what kind of peacemaking role he hoped to see Kenyatta play after stepping down.

Ruto’s public comments this week have been on domestic matters, not foreign, but Coons said the president-elect made an “expression of concern and intent in trying to help lead to positive resolutions” in such regional crises.

Coons also has played a role in trying to calm the Ethiopia conflict. But he told the AP the delegation was not having a meeting with Ethiopia’s government or the Tigray forces while in Kenya.

Coons, a member of the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, and his delegation have already visited Cape Verde and Mozambique and will visit Tunisia as well.

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Woman who gave birth to black and white twins thought she was handed the wrong baby

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Mother Nature never ceases to amaze. Judith Nowokocha, a photographer from Calgary, Canada, received one such surprise. In 2016 she gave birth to twins and was in utter disbelief. The reason was that one of her babies was black and the other an albino.

The different skin tones left her confused as she felt that the hospital staff did a mix-up.

The brown baby boy Kamsi and the Albino baby girl Kachi became an Internet sensation as soon as their mom uploaded their pictures on the internet. She was in shock and felt sure that the wrong baby was handed to her, but all she heard was congratulations.

Mother of black and albino twins reveals she first thought she was given  the wrong baby | Daily Mail Online

The girl was diagnosed with a rare case of Albinism. Judith was apprehensive about how society would see the twins, but she has never received any negative reactions. She had heard superstitions about albino babies in Nigeria, but counseling was of great help to her. Her daughter does get bullied sometimes, but the love she receives is much greater. She teaches her daughter to embrace her differences.

The kids have been receiving a lot of attention for their unique appearance, but their mom says that they are just regular kids who are extremely protective of each other and each other’s best friends. They get along like a house on fire. Judith struggled to get pregnant for eight years, after which she delivered these twins through a successful IVF.

Kachi is diagnosed with Oculocutaneous Albinism (OCA), a condition in which the body produces an insufficient amount of melanin. It affects the eyes, skin, and hair. One in four children has the risk of this condition when both parents carry the Albinism gene. The doctors had told her that the girl would struggle with her vision. So she sees an eye specialist every six months.

Now, the twins have an Instagram account with over 18,000 followers.

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OMG: Ivanka Trump ‘Dumps’ Brothers Donald Jr. & Eric

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Ivanka Trump ‘Dumps’ Brothers Donald Jr. & Eric As She ‘Doesn’t Want To Be Part Of The Family Business Anymore’

It looks like Ivanka Trump is moving on: the businesswoman was never close with her brothers, Donald Jr. and Eric, and now she wants to focus on the future — without them.

“Ivanka has basically dumped her brothers,” a source exclusively tells OK!. “She doesn’t want to be part of the family business anymore or even the controversial family. Her future is with her husband, Jared Kushner, and her kids. They are out of politics and won’t be campaigning with her father anymore or defending him on TV.”

The insider reveals that Eric is upset with his sister, while Donald Jr. isn’t sweating it, as more attention will be on him going forward.

“Ivanka was always their dad’s favorite. With her out of the picture it is his time to shine,” adds a friend.

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As OK! previously reported, Ivanka and Melania Trump hope that Donald Trump doesn’t run for president in 2024 — especially because he is embroiled in many legal battles at the moment.

“They are a family divided,” a source told Radar, adding that Melania wants her hubby to stay away from Washington, D.C., as she believes it will “make all of the family’s legal problems go away.”

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In early August, Donald’s Mar-a-Lago home was raided, as the FBI believes he took documents from the White House that are classified.

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Source: mega

“It’s obvious all of this craziness is happening because some people are scared Donald is going to run again in 2024,” the source stated. “Melania and Ivanka do not get along about much, but both are begging him to announce he will not be running. They believe all of this will disappear if he ends all of the speculation.”

The insider said that the investigation isn’t “just affecting Donald, it affects the entire family,” the source said. “Melania and Ivanka are sick of the endless investigations and attention. They want to go back to their fabulous lives. They just want this all to end.”

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