By Fred Chukwuelobe
I have been in Abuja since Monday. Typical of the journalist that I am, I have been talking to the so-called common man in the Federal Capital City, trying to understand their thoughts on the 2023 presidential election.
One thing I can safely conclude from my discussions with them – those I spoke to are from different tribes – is that the Peter Obi Movement is strong. It is even stronger among non-Igbos.
I asked an Edo-born taxi driver this morning who he was supporting. He told me pointedly that “it is Peter Obi”. I asked, “why? Do you really think he will win?”
The guy got very upset. “What is even wrong with you Igbo people sef?” He retorted. “Why are you people pulling down your own brother?”
I asked him to tell me why he’s supporting Peter Obi when the man has no structure, is not spending money to prosecute the election in a country where elections are rigged, bought and manipulated with the man with strong financial muscles having his way.
Of course, the guy didn’t realise that it is they way journalists use to obtain information; by pretending to be against their interviewee and asking probing questions, sometines annoyingly so.
This is his response:
“We are tired of these politicians that loot our money and pauperise us. We are tired of these old politicians who spend our money on medical tourism. We don’t care if Peter Obi has structure or not; we are the structure”.
Continuing, he said, this time getting more agitated, “we must send a strong message to these politicians that we can vote for whoever we choose, remove whoever we want and stop them from taking us for a ride.
“Unless we send them parking, they will never take us seriously and will continue to manipulate us. I wish every youth will come out that day and vote. We must rescue this country from these vultures. If we do that, the next people that come will know we can decide their political fate. Look at me, a graduate, driving taxi. To set up business in this country is too difficult. We can’t continue like this”, he concluded.
Similar opinions were expressed by Benue, Delta and Edo guys as well one maiguard from the North, I also interacted with. Those were even vociferous. Their biggest anger was more on the security situation.
I, therefore, was left with no option than to conclude that, if these guys could translate their angers into votes, 2023 could be the gamechanger; it could be the year that will alter the country’s political trajectory.
But I concluded by letting my taxi driver “friend” know that I was not against the Peter Obi Movement. I asked him if he thought Southerners are good at patiently queuing on the line to vote and ensuring their votes count. He said to me, “That’s my fear. Southerners are their own enemies”.
I think so too.