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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Why APC and PDP are hopeless and politically dangerous

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“PDP was set up to defraud Nigeria; APC was set up to remove Jonathan. Both parties have since accomplished their objectives and might not offer anything new,” Anthony Obi Ogbo

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In November 2016, almost 18 months into the regime of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Professor Hassan Saliu, a former Dean, Faculty of Social Sciences, University of Ilorin, stated during a media interview that the APC’s sole change agenda was removing the incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan. He may have been right, because in April 2017, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu expressed similar thoughts, and even bragged that he would “write a book to reveal how Jonathan was removed.” At the time, he was the APC’s national leader, and he is now the party’s presidential candidate for the upcoming election.

 

Political trends over the years suggest that the acquisitive monopoly of power is the only constructive agenda of both the APC and the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). This has been proven, because both parties have operated with no detectible policy agenda and no system structural ideology—instead, they have engaged in increasing the recycling of members to exploit the system. For instance, in February 2021, Nigeria’s Senate President, Ahmad Lawan, vowed that his party, the APC, would surpass the PDP’s record by dominating the central government for more than 16 years. The PDP ruled Nigeria for 16 years after the return of democracy in 1999, until it was removed by the APC in 2015.

Surprisingly, Lawan’s comment has been replicated by most staunch members of the APC, who believe that tenure-sharing between the two major parties should outline the basis for making choices in the upcoming 2023 elections. Alternatively, the PDP wants Nigerians to ignore its 16‑year disastrous stewardship and focus on APC’s catastrophic 7-year regime.

The originations of both parties should remind Nigerians that their much-awaited milk and honey will never come from either party. For instance, the PDP was conceived to defraud this country and enrich a selected political upper-class—largely, those connected with second republic politicians and their allies in the defense sector. Consequently, the APC was established with one major motive—to remove Jonathan, who became a distraction and a pain to the elite and the draconian political godfathers. In essence, the APC and the PDP parties have accomplished their objectives and will never offer anything new. Both parties are essentially hopeless and politically dangerous in building any path to Nigeria’s democracy.

The formation of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) in 1998 was convenient because Nigerians were struggling under the protracted military dictatorship of Gen. Sani Abacha, who vowed to stay put. Abacha’s untimely death in June 1998 signaled the end of 16 years of military rule; the interim government proposed holding an election the following year.

The PDP won the people’s hearts because it was primarily formed by members of numerous groups and organizations who were very vocal about the outgoing junta regime. The party also floated an ideology that reflected a broader political base, supported economic deregulation and human rights, and advocated greater funding for health care and education.

It didn’t stop there; the PDP boosted its favorability when it created an unofficial policy of rotating the presidency between candidates from the predominantly Christian south and the Muslim north. They actually lived up to that promise. After the regime of Olusegun Obasanjo and Atiku Abubakar, the party candidates were Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, a Muslim and the governor of the northern state of Katsina, and Goodluck Jonathan, a Christian and the governor of the southern state of Bayelsa.

Jonathan’s first misstep was boldly alienating some of his political godfathers, including a former President who was somehow instrumental in his rise to the presidency, retired Gen. Olusegun Obasanjo. Obasanjo went after Jonathan in sheer retaliation and fired off an 18-page public letter in 2013 containing lacerating criticism of his regime. He also categorically stated that it would be “morally flawed” for Jonathan to run for re-election in 2015.

A massive growing antagonism over Jonathan led to the unification of Nigeria’s three biggest opposition parties, and ultimately a merger; the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC), and the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP) became the All Progressives Congress (APC).

The APC executed two campaign strategies. The first was concocting and infiltrating the system with a collection of conspiracy theories to derail Jonathan’s popularity and suppress PDP’s control. Then they showcased a fabricated campaign agenda and wooed the vulnerable masses with thousands of inconceivable campaign promises. In addition to deceiving the youth with fake promises of education and employment opportunities, the desperate APC campaigned on complete system restructuring, total obliteration of terrorist insurgencies within months, and transforming the country’s currency, Naira, to have equal value with the dollar. This is how Nigeria got to its present governance uncertainty.

The political implications of the dysfunctional power control by the APC and the PDP is that the nation of Nigeria is in trouble. Here is why—for over 23 years, the PDP and the APC have been the epicenters of the downfall of Nigeria at all levels of governance. Today, after almost seven years of ruling, the APC has dragged Nigeria into a near economic depression. The bad news is that the same APC is scheming to remain in power without any blueprint to fix the system failure it has been facilitating.

The good news is that the suffering Nigerian masses have the chance to elect a new regime. However, the question is whether these voters are sincere enough to reject the gangs of predatory candidates and parties that triggered the current predicament at the polls. Are Nigerians ready to ignore the current APC-PDP ruthless power-sharing culture to embrace something entirely new?

Listen to Dino Melaye, a former lawmaker who represented Kogi West Senatorial District, as he addressed Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate: “By the grace of God, you have the potential of being the president in the nearest future. I celebrate you and I celebrate your movement for a new Nigeria. While I celebrate you, I want to advise you that your time is not now. You have to wait for your time.”

Melaye’s mentality harmonizes with the same culture that has kept this country in bondage under a ruthless mob of political elites; they believe that a selected few are entitled to democratic governance. The elitist political cliques decide who will lead the central government, then impose their will on the vulnerable masses.

Nigerian voters have been very hypocritical when making electoral decisions in the past.

The electorates are also part of the problem. Nigerian voters have been very hypocritical when making electoral decisions in the past. Their voting habits have been stupid and self-destructive. Yet it is apparent that Nigeria can never survive under the APC or the PDP, because those parties can only cause more miseries and hardship.

The third ballot option is Peter Obi and his Labour Party (LP). There is no doubt that ushering in such a novice party and candidate with minimal legislative backup would create bumpy decision-making pathways and slow down tough legislative proposals. Frankly, with the LP option, there might be an uphill battle between the executive and the opposition legislative branches. The former would be struggling to overhaul the structures, whereas the latter would be fighting tooth-and-nail to maintain an oppressive status quo.

But those are core challenges associated with the change process―the fear and resistance of the anti-change agents regarding something entirely new. Those opposed to the change process could go to every length to retain a malfunctioned prevailing culture. Nevertheless, in the democratic process, such differences can be negotiated.

Regardless of the nature of the campaign, at this time it may be necessary to put emotions, ethnic connectivity, and personal interests aside in order to impartially accept the fact that Nigeria will never survive as a nation under either the APC or the PDP. Any other party, any other candidate, stands a better chance to pull this great nation out of its current deadly slumber―but definitely not the APC, and not the PDP.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Houston Nigerian groups, radicalized members, and the lessons of Okwesilieze

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“It may therefore be right to state that the “Okwesilieze Case” has broken that yoke of distinctive prodigality, irrationality, and deceit tormenting Houston Nigerian organizations. I hereby implore other organizations experiencing similar atrocities to follow suit.―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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Houston’s Nigerian community has been a little engaged with forum dialogs after the Texas International Guardian News ran a story update about a prolonged civil lawsuit between the Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria and a rival group formed by defecting group members “De Okwesilieze International Women’s Club”.

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The story, which was totally based on a court-endorsed mediation and settlement negotiations, emphatically stated that the said lawsuit ended in favor of the founding group, Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria. Also, the story stated that the defecting group, “De Okwesilieze, and their listed agents avoided what would have been a humiliating verdict and succumbed to mediation and settlement negotiations that completely appeased the plaintiff’s demands”.

But, yesterday, I received a strange phone call from one of the defendants (name withheld) mentioned in the case, violently questioning how there could be a loser or winner in a mediation process. Good argument, but not a smart one because the settlement speaks for itself. A mediation settlement where Plaintiff walks away with 99.9% of the demands in the original petition is indeed a slam-dunk.  That is exactly the dilemma faced by the defecting group. “De Okwesilieze.”

From a legal standpoint, mediation does not take the winner-loser approach but seeks a resolution of the dispute where the parties agree. However, mediation could also be “evaluative”, where the mediator assists the disputing parties in reaching a resolution by pointing out the weaknesses of their cases, and predicting what a judge or jury would be likely to do.

Without lectures about good or bad journalism, and without a logical analysis of the mediation process, the Defendants and their representatives in the Okwesilieze case lost woefully. Out of a long list of demands stipulated in this settlement, the below orders alone are a total humiliating defeat for these breakaways. To mention but a few, the defecting group was ordered to:

  • Immediately cease to use the name “Okwesilieze” as any part of their organization’s name.
  • Immediately cease to use the Plaintiffs team songs and greetings “Kwesi” as part of their Organization songs or greetings.
  • shall return the Plaintiff’s organization items in the procession of the defendants
  • shall pay to Plaintiff Organization the sum of $37,000.00.

So how does one explain a woeful failure? Let me make it clear, that rather than the ongoing social media winner-loser argument, the Houston community must learn from the Okwesilieze Women’s Club of Nigeria and their Founder and Leader Dr/Mrs. Gracie Gboliwe Chukwu. Dr. Chukwu had professionally hired good lawyers to institute legal action to challenge those she believed to have trespassed upon the group’s registered name, absconded with their process, and, worse, took away their funds by conversion.

 

This case should serve as a lesson not only to most Nigerian organizations in Houston but also to radicalized members among them who have a history of facilitating breakups and defecting with funds. This practice has been very common in this community because none of the groups have vigorously gone after these vandals.

It sounds surprising but true that in the past 15 years, organizations in the Nigerian community have lost an unprecedented amount of money to breakaway vandals who  would make the career off of community funds. Community organizations have also spent hundreds of thousands in fruitless litigations against these radicals.

It may therefore be right to state that the “Okwesilieze Case” has broken that yoke of distinctive prodigality, irrationality, and deceit tormenting Houston Nigerian organizations. I hereby implore other organizations experiencing similar atrocities to follow suit.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

Obism—The test of translating a movement into electoral victory votes

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“The duo of Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed remains the most qualified team that could steer this country in a different direction. However, a possible victory hangs on how this movement could strategically circumvent a dysfunctional balloting process and navigate past the finish line of electoral victory.” ―Anthony Obi Ogbo

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During a strategic group meeting of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) held shortly before the 2015 election at a castle on Puerta Vista Lane in Houston, TX, Hon. Dan Ulasi, a strategist with the party at the time, shocked his party enthusiasts when he hinted that their flagbearer and incumbent, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, might not make it to the next tenure. According to Ulasi, with time running out, the campaign was not organized on the ground, did not weigh the electoral map options, and had no strategies to counter a possible ballot mishandling. A few months after this prediction, the Jonathan regime crumbled like a soggy, oil-drenched Ijebu fried plantain.

 

Thus, one of the major reasons Goodluck Jonathan fell in the 2015 presidential race was his campaign’s inability to explore on-the-ground winning strategies. Overconfident and blind to ideas, his team relied on three major factors: a rousing social media blare, the power of incumbency, and public hatred for his archrival, Muhammadu Buhari.

Currently, Nigeria is faced with yet another chance to turn over a new regime leaf. At the forefront of Nigeria’s politics is the Peter Obi movement tagged Obism. The subject, Peter Gregory Obi, a businessman and politician who served as the Governor of Anambra State two separate times, is the Labour Party nominee for President of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential election. Obi’s campaign supporters gradually metamorphosed into an inspiring political movement, spreading across the nation like wildfire. Most passionate about this cause is the younger population. They took their excitement to the internet and infiltrated social media with campaign literature, including videos, catchphrases, and memes.

While all core supporters of Obi might be classified as “Obidients,” it must also be noted that in reality, there are just two categories: the Obi campaign strategists and the Obidients. The campaign strategists within the Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) are result-driven individuals focused on creating working avenues to get Obi elected. Armed with good funds and the right message, they remain the foremost support network that is crowdfunding for Peter Obi’s presidential campaigns.

In contrast, the Obidients are desperate do-or-die fanatics blind to the complexities of prevailing political terrain but driven by emotions and unquestioning enthusiasm borne out of frustration over the country’s decades of economic, social, and political meltdown. They are good, too, but often embarrass their candidate with messages incompatible with his electioneering ideology.

They are uncontrollable and flood social media platforms with video clips and poster messages conflicting with or perhaps contradicting what their candidate stands for. For example, the campaign understands the “Igbo fear factor” in Nigerian politics and has been working hard to portray its candidate as an ethnically blind figure who would unite the country. In sheer contrast, some Obidient fanatics are busy spewing messages about the inevitability of electing Obi as bait to win the Igbos into the national fold—an approach that might attract mistrust and fear among voters of northern swing states. Similarly, they have played into the hands of the opposition by unintelligibly engaging in social media tribal wars that further portray their candidate as a tribal leader.

Organizers must not be confused between an ideological movement and running a political campaign

Obism or “Obidience” is a movement, yet organizers must not be confused between an ideological movement and running a political campaign in Nigeria—a nation with a terrible electioneering record. The success of any mobilization structure for political advancement must entail strategic planning, organizing, fundraising, and mobilization of individuals.

Without a doubt, Obism is trending. Yet there are concerns about carrying the momentum beyond the current emotional excitement, social media buzz, and sometimes, annoying bombastic optimism. Do not get me wrong. Those lines are still influential in building and sustaining a campaign. However, strategies are yet to be seen for taking advantage of this movement and pushing momentum through the finishing lines of electoral victory. Just yesterday, at a mega rally in Houston, Texas, a supposed spokesman for the Obidient repeatedly announced that voters should ignore parties and vote for individuals—an indication that those fanatics are clueless about where the campaign is headed.

The Obidient fanatics have also bastardized his “shishi” ideology. “We no dey give shishi” is an anti-bribery maxim highlighting the candidate’s ethical decency in a country where corruption is an anthem. Unfortunately, the Obidient fanatics have pushed this mantra beyond the lines, discouraging prospective campaign workers, performing artists, and media platforms with a fictitious belief that the campaign is structured only to employ volunteers who would use their own money and resources.

There has to be alignment to sustain a winning approach. The campaign strategists could bring the fanatics into the fold and curtail their excesses by facilitating their campaign messages and other strategic advances to align with their electioneering mission. Actors, actresses, and performing artists must not be dissuaded by the “We no dey give shishi” mantra; rather, they must be engaged with attractive cash rewards to lead the grassroots voter mobilization drive. Polling booths are located neither on Instagram nor TikTok.

Polling booths are located neither on Instagram nor TikTok.

Just yesterday, one day before the closing of the Continuous Voter Registration (CVR) exercise, some hoodlums stormed the facility of St. Brigid Catholic Church Ijesha Lagos, where thousands of late registrants gathered and made away with all the equipment and materials. There was also similar news in several parts of the country, especially in the Southeast. The campaign must mobilize groups to monitor and coordinate polling locations before the election, to deter opposition vandals from election day ballot-snatching surprises. It worked in Edo’s previous gubernatorial race.

The candidate, Obi, has virtually traveled through the entire nation. Yet, it is worrisome that two other major rivals, Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party) and Bola Tinubu (the All-Progressives Congress), are not vigorously campaigning. Both candidates, who are richer than Nigeria, have a history of buying their ways through any process and have successfully demonstrated this on many occasions.

The duo of Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed remains the most qualified team that could steer this country in a different direction. However, a possible victory hangs on how this movement could strategically circumvent a dysfunctional balloting process and navigate past the finish line of electoral victory.

Let us be clear about Nigerian politics. Knowing Nigeria is one thing. Understanding its intricate politics requires unique competencies unavailable on Google. Nigeria’s political setting transcends the electoral process and often entails inconceivably crooked ballot handling. The three most crucial winning structures are facilitating and sustaining an on-the-ground poll army, strategic coordination of electoral maps, and the ability to counter ballot mishandling and falsification of ballot figures.

In the electioneering trade, a movement represents an ideology, a campaign is a project. Team Obi could use this movement to build a winning campaign.  It may sound unprofessional, but to tear through the walls of Nigeria’s electoral challenges, the Obi campaign must, at some point, play dirty. The capacity of this approach will not be discussed in this article, but as the African Ancestors would caution, to pound food on the mortar or to pound on a bare floor is a choice.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Journalism and RTF Professor, Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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Anthony Obi Ogbo

How I Pleaded With God to Kill President Muhammadu Buhari

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“Three deadly plagues I have always despised: Donald Trump, COVID-19, and Muhammadu Buhari.” —Anthony Obi Ogbo

I am not a sadist, but all through my life, there have been three deadly plagues I have always despised: Donald Trump, COVID-19, and Muhammadu Buhari. So in 2017, I spent seven days fasting and praying, asking God directly to take away the life of Nigerian President Muhammadu Buhari. I knew that was the right thing to do, and I will explain why along the line.

Buhari came in as president in early 2015, all mean and angry. Most surprisingly, his ignorance and total lack of competence to lead such a complex economy were exposed less than one year into his term in office. He started by using his executive powers to victimize regions he accused of not voting for him; he then went after the opposition with unfounded allegations of embezzlement. He created animosity among tribes and religions and totally ignored all the election promises he had made. He was so dumb to matters of governance that, under his watch, his economic team plagiarized a budget. The budget he presented turned out to be a carbon copy of the one made by his predecessor, Goodluck Jonathan.

Unemployment was growing and spreading like a California wildfire, and insecurity grew out of hand as Boko Haram terrorists outnumbered the national army. Buhari exonerated thousands of apprehended Boko Haram and ISIS terrorists and recruited them into the Nigeran Army—a move that has currently crippled the country’s security intelligence. Indeed, I knew the country was headed toward total anarchy if something was not quickly done to stop this man. Impeachment was off the table, especially with the Nigerian lawmakers who are stakeholders and partakers of a fraudulent administrative structure. So, as a concerned Nigerian citizen who was equally affected by Buhari’s stupidity, I had to do something.

Impeachment was off the table, especially with the Nigerian lawmakers who are stakeholders and partakers of a fraudulent administrative structure.

He was very sick at the time and was a sorry tenant in an obscure hospital in London. He was emaciated to the bone and looked like a cornfield scarecrow; it was obvious that his life was grinding closer to a final rest. Rumors of his death had clouded social media with unsubstantiated news and analysis, and his camp was not just communicating; rather, they babbled with watery explanations about his ailment, and at some point, they claimed he was just on vacation. This was when I had to do the right thing to save millions of lives put in harm’s way through Buhari’s reckless and tyrannical governance.

I gathered my all-time spiritual warfare, including Psalms 109:8–15. Fasting for seven days was a little challenging because I had to appease my addiction to Ethiopian Sidamo coffee. It’s a wet-processed Ethiopian espresso known for its complex flavor and rich acidity.

I resumed my prayer request invoking Psalms 109:8, that his days would be few and that another man (Vice President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, I guess) would take his place of leadership. I meant every word. I chanted verses 8–15 severally in a loud voice and ended by asking God squarely to kill this man by granting him everlasting rest from his sick bed. I did this every day with six-hour fasting. If I may confess, I fell short on the fasting part and often accidentally violated the process with my routine coffee and granola bar addictions. I asked God for forgiveness each time I mistakenly broke the fasting. I ended my prayer-and-fasting event with the same theme—kill this man and set Nigeria free.

I thought my prayers had worked for a moment, but then I could not figure out why God did not grant my request.

Exactly three days after my prayer revival, when I was already celebrating victory, the news of Buhari’s return from his medical trip radiated through the airwaves and on social media. I saw him on the video, and he looked healthier and stronger, walking without support, shaking hands, and talking. I felt like a yahoo-scam victim, then realized I did this all by myself. I thought my prayers had worked for a moment, but then I could not figure out why God did not grant my request. Could it be the coffee and granola bars that often interrupted the fasting moments? I have no clue.

Before you judge my actions, it may interest you to know that Buhari is not just an ordinary man. He is a rare creature who is never happy but whose sadness is dependent on making the lives of those he does not like miserable. In my book on how he bastardized his executive mandate, I described him as the most dangerous killer bee: one that would perch wheezing on the scrotum for a destructive sting. Punch it and smash the manhood; leave it, and he would sting one to death.

He was groomed in an uncultivated military confraternity where a constitutional system and civil liberties are taboo. All his life, as a privileged Fulani breed, he has lived through a system where mediocrity outruns excellence; this explains why, under this ugly culture, a man who has no proof of a high school certificate could rise beyond the law, his country, and the entire masses.

Currently, Buhari has about eight months left in his eight-year hellish regime. And please note that I have no regrets about my kill-Buhari prayer actions and would do it again against any leader that threatens my communal interest with ignorance of mandate, meanness, and idiocy.

♦Publisher of the Guardian News, Professor Anthony Obi Ogbo, Ph.D. is on the Editorial Board of the West African Pilot News. He is the author of the Influence of Leadership (2015)  and the Maxims of Political Leadership (2019). Contact: anthony@guardiannews.us

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