Peter Obi, don't endorse incompetence: An open letter to Mr. Peter Obi by Enugu Obidients | CABLE REPORTERS

By Ozonweke Ugwuoke

Dear Your Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, 

It is our pleasure to congratulate you on the recently concluded presidential election which was keenly contested by different personalities in their respective political parties in the country. 

For the first time in Nigeria, millions of eligible voters picked interest in the electoral process because they wanted a better future not just for themselves but for their children.

We came out en masse, across different political parties and political orientations to endorse your candidacy because you were able to impress us with certain characteristics and qualities which connected us to you. 

Those of us in Enugu who are staunch Obidients and who believed in the Obidients philosophy joined the movement and funded the project with our little support, did that because of your track records, outstanding leadership  antecedent, competence, capacity, character and credibility. You were able to convince us. We came. We saw. We verified. We believed you possess those uncommon indices.

People of Enugu State, especially the young population became enthusiastic about your project. We saw the vehicle—Labour Party—through which you rode to the polls as a mere abstract entity which did not define your person. The only person we saw in the movement was you. We, the Obidients, were that your structure and not Labour Party.

Recall that on February 25, 2023, just about two weeks ago, Nigerians went to the polls and spoke with one voice, deferring party affiliation like PDP, APC, APGA, ADC, YPP among others. 

Here in Enugu State, you won with a landslide, and the victory was too deafening. It is on record that all the political parties in the state queued behind your candidacy because of the strong conviction of character, competence, capacity and credibility which you presented. We did not support you because of your political party. 

Today, political activities are increasingly becoming participatory, moving away from parochial and dormant political cultures. What we did on that day of presidential election was to single out the most qualified candidate regardless of political parties. That is what should be our compass. The emphasis, Your Excellency, should not be on political parties. It should rather anchor on individuals with verifiable track records. It should be on individuals with competence, capacity and ability to deliver. 

The emphasis should be on persons who have been able to deliver previously. It should be on people with life outside politics. It should be on people who have performed well and whose records of performance both in the public and private sectors can be verified. We voted for you because you had proven yourself to be a good manager of the economy. We considered your entrepreneurial exploits in the private sector and your records in government. They all appealed to us, the Obidients. 

Let me tell you, Your Excellency, that we will not stop being Obidients. However, we will not allow opportunists to hijack the Obidients Movement or ride on the shoulder of your towering popularity to power without those qualities you espoused. Obidients Movement is a movement that disregards political parties for competence and capacity. It is a philosophy anchored on verifiable records of excellent performance and leadership credentials. 

Therefore, Your Excellency, this open letter becomes necessary because of the new development which is presently unfolding. Some politicians have already hijacked this philosophy and they want to reap where they have not sown. We were told you are coming to Enugu State to endorse some Labour Party candidates. This is not what the Movement stands for. 

We are not against any candidate inasmuch as the candidate, whether in Labour Party, Peoples Democratic Party, All Progressives Congress, All Progressives Grand Alliance, Young Progressives Party, African Democratic Party, etcetera, possesses the verifiable criteria of capacity, competence, character, outstanding track records, and factual programmes or blueprints that are implementable. We are using you as a barometer to measure others. They should be able to tell us to “Go and verify”, because we want to verify. 

In particular, Your Excellency, posterity and history will be kind to you if you stay away from those riding on the shoulder of your popularity using Labour Party but have got nothing to offer the electorate as their track records, verifiable achievements in offices, or based on competence, capacity, character and credibility. 

To narrow it down, the Labour Party governorship candidate in Enugu State, Hon. Chijioke Edeoga, has not been able to present to the people his programmes, manifesto or pathway to rebuilding and remodelling Enugu State of our dreams despite repeated demands. We have seen his past while in offices as a House of Representatives member, Special Adviser to former President Goodluck Jonathan, Special Adviser to Chief Ike Ekweremadu, the former Deputy President of the Senate, former Commissioner for Local Government Commission, and until recently, former Commissioner for Environment. 

We are all living witnesses that while he held sway in those offices, Chief Edeoga has not been able to point at any single project for his people in Isi Uzo Local Government Area. Not even his immediate Eha-Amufu clan. 

We knew the state of rot and decadence Enugu environment was plunged under him despite frequent protestations against his incompetence to manage the environment. Enugu State nosedived under him as the cleanest or arguably one of the cleanest states to the dirtiest state under his watch and supervision. Both Punch, Vanguard and other mainstream newspapers had reported the worsening, stinking and foul state of the environment, with the hashtags, “We can’t breathe”, “Enugu residents groan under heavy dumpsters of garbage” etcetera. We will not forget some of these ugly experiences in a hurry.

Your Excellency, if however, your conscience allows you to campaign for someone out of sentiment rather than competence, capacity, character and outstanding track records, so be it. When Enugu State begins to collapse under him, we will recall who foisted him on us despite our genuine fear. 

Will you prefer to campaign for a candidate with a known history of leadership failure, incompetence and cluelessness because he is your party man to someone with a history of uncommon leadership capacity, competence, character, integrity, robust manifesto and programmes and verifiable track records who is not your party man? Remember, we are all Obidients regardless of political parties.

Your Excellency would also recall that during the PDP Presidential Rally in Enugu State on February 14, PDP members in the state were unapologetic about their position on their choice presidential candidate to the flagbearer. They were clear that the message of Peter Obi resonated with them and would vote for you. This is the real meaning of that Obidients Movement we preach. That same day, the Enugu State Traditional Rulers Council under the chairmanship of His Excellency, Igwe Ambassador Lawrence Agubuzu, at the Chambers Hall of the Council in Enugu State House of Assembly, re-echoed their position in the presence of the PDP presidential candidate, Mr. Atiku Abubakar, that they believed in equity, justice and fairness, and most essentially on individuals’ capacity, competence, character and outstanding track records. They did settle for you. Go and verify, Your Excellency.

Finally, we also saw members of the APC, APGA, ADC, YPP, etcetera in the state abandoning their political parties to endorse your candidacy because of the qualities in you. Your Excellency, rather than endorsing incompetence in the name of political party, kindly stay away and call on all Obidients to vote for only candidates with competence, capacity, character, verifiable track records who can secure our future with a better environment and transform our state with production instead of consumption, drive innovation, disrupt the status quo, create jobs for the youths through mapped out verifiable policies, provide peace and security and enable ease of business doing for our people.

Competence. Capacity. Character. Verifiable track records over incompetence, sentiment, cluelessness and history of leadership failure.

Thank you, Your Excellency.

Dr. Ozonweke Ugwuoke writes for the Obidients Movement in Enugu State.I 

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