By Law Mefor
There is a Peter Obi witch-hunt that is ongoing. Undoubtedly, certain forces are after him. You can call it Obidients-phobia or Obi-phobia. Both are equal in the eyes of the attackers. These sustained attacks on Obi, Datti, his running mate, as well as the Labour Party and the Obidient family, are simply because they have upended the system and are devoted to creating a new Nigeria that would be beneficial to all Nigerians.
They hope to overthrow the corrupt system using the ballot and the law because Nigeria today solely benefits a small number of kidnappers of state power, and these beneficiaries are resisting the change. Since Obi filed his petition with the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT), the attacks on him have increased in frequency and complexity.
However, two instances stand out as the most puzzling and horrifyingly nasty. People’s Gazette has made public a hacked telephone conversation between Peter Obi and respected clergyman David Oyedepo. The LP candidate requested Pastor Oyedepo’s assistance in getting his message out to Christians in the South-west and some part of the North-central in the doctored audio clip. They added a last twist to the audio to meet their purpose by declaring that the presidential race was a “religious war.”
Discerning minds are aware of what internet tigers and ICT experts have turned the internet tools into, particularly video and audio editing and faking. For this evil use of the internet, the actual conversation between these two eminent Nigerians may never be known and will be forever drowned in perfidy.
However, a few days after the deep fake audio was published, Information Minister Lai Mohammed accused Peter Obi of inciting Nigerians against one another, accusing him of treason. This accusation of treason made by the Minister is only one of the numerous desperate, intentional, and dishonest attempts by various people, including officials of the Nigerian government, to denigrate and destroy Peter Obi by falsely portraying him as inciting insurrection.
Unless treason has a different definition, Peter Obi is never known to solicit support for actions that would harm the Nigerian state or to encourage his supporters to take such actions, let alone promote such actions. Therefore, the accusation is one of defaming a dog to hang it. No matter how treason is operationally defined, it will never include a guy who calls for calm and who seeks redress in court for his harm.
Here is the most basic definition of treason, for the avoidance of doubt: the crime of betraying one’s country, particularly by attempting to assassinate or overthrow the ruler or government.
Treason in Nigeria can also be held as anyone who declares war on the State to subdue or frighten the President. Treason is viewed as betraying the State also from a Biblical standpoint. In Nigeria, treason is a crime. According to the legislation, “Any person who levies war against the State, to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death” (L.N. 112 of 1964). That is what Peter Obi’s accusers are fabricating.
According to a proverb, a tsetse fly that lands on the scrotum is dispatched unusually. The scrotum will break if you kill the tsetse fly violently; the tsetse fly will drain the blood if left alone also. When one considers the forces chasing Peter Obi in light of his surprise performance in the presidential election on February 25, one gets the idea that they are in a desperate state. The Peter Obi challenge is a mystery to them. Simply put, the blackmail is not working.
Despite all the abracadabra, INEC nevertheless reported that the presidential candidate of the Labour Party had a lead in 12 states, matching the results of both the incumbent APC’s candidate and the main opposition PDP’s candidate, who both had a lead in 12 states like Obi. According to the Premium Time recent publication which was based on the INEC results that were later uploaded, Peter Obi was the one who led in Rivers State rather than Tinubu. This means APC/Tinubu led only in 11 states, leaving Obi in charge of 13 states.
Peter Obi was initially viewed as merely a rabble-rouser running for publicity and to make a point. Former Edo state governor Adams Oshiomhole even dismissed his spectacular social media dominance as “Four people tweeting in a room.” However, after the presidential election, this impression has become an apprehension of clear and present danger and a nightmare, in the eyes of the forces who think they control Nigeria.
The general public, especially the young people, responded favorably to Obi’s show of competence, ethics, and straightforward campaign message of switching Nigeria from consumption to production. They were encouraged knowing that at last there is a man who is sincerely dedicated to eradicating poverty and changing the country.
“Don’t vote for me because I’m an Igbo man, a Christian, or because I’m from Southern Nigeria,” Peter Obi urged at the time, further telling Nigerians. “Instead, cast your vote for me since I’m a Nigerian and I’m the candidate with the highest qualifications out of the other 17 candidates.” One of Peter Obi’s messages that threatens and enrages the oligarchs is: “Let’s take back our country.” Within a few months, Obi had amassed a sizable following and became a movement.
His 100-page presidential election petition raised issues that will bewilder any Tribunal and rankle any President-elect. Peter Obi internationalised the conflict by drawing attention to the man Tinubu and his drug trade. Even if the Tribunal and ultimately the Supreme Court say the 460 thousand dollars forfeiture has been for over a decade and the forfeiting could have reformed or that the matter happened outside Nigerian jurisdiction, the world will never forget. The world now knows the would-be President of the world’s most populous black nation. The forces don’t like it.
INEC has declared Tinubu as President-elect and asked all aggrieved parties, and the main contenders – Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar – have gone to court. The two leading candidates, Peter Obi, and Atiku Abubakar have both filed petitions. However, the grounds are what the oligarchs are upset about – not the fact that Obi went to court. That is what this witch-hunting is all about.
Peter Obi has consistently pleaded with his supporters to uphold the law and not give up on the country. By working to regain his mandate, Obi is steadfastly devoted to his mission of creating a Nigeria that benefits all Nigerians. He believes that failing to pursue his mandate would be equivalent to betraying the millions of Nigerians who trusted him enough to cast their votes for him. Obi is a humanist who supports peace, social fairness, and human advancement.
During his presidential campaign, Obi demonstrated that he understands the extreme insecurity, poverty, unemployment, and untold miseries that Nigerians experience and informed them that a new Nigeria is achievable and that they should have faith in him.
The defamation of the man and his dream by those opposed to the new Nigeria and worried they are about to lose significance in the new equation has now evolved into actual threats and covert actions against the man and his dream. A few days ago, news of Peter Obi’s identity being stolen also spread from the UK. Right around this time, it was believed that the dark forces’ use of deep false audio tape was coming to an end. They haven’t also revealed their motive for assuming Obi’s identity.
Theft, impersonation, and fighting words, may have been the climax but may not be their final acts. One thing is certain, though: these covert actions were planned and carried out against Obi to weaken his determination and disperse the movement. According to Robert Greene, “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter” is one of the 48 Laws of Power.
Yes, with Peter Obi’s level of dedication, courage, and inspirational leadership, a new Nigeria that would be safe and secure for all Nigerians is feasible. However, strong opposition exists to this new Nigeria. All advocates for Nigeria’s peace, unity, and development must not only pray for Peter Obi but also collaborate with him to achieve these goals.
…Dr. Law Mefor is a senior fellow at The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought.