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Because the race for Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election hots up, the main candidates have ramped up their engagement with crucial stakeholders.
Varied polls have come out with completely different outcomes, however a theme runs by; it will likely be shut and there are greater than two horses within the race.
Labour Social gathering candidate Peter Obi has – in below eight months – pushed himself from the periphery of the race to centre stage as a critical contender giving the 2 main political events (the PDP and the APC) a run for his or her cash.
The previous Anambra governor, who was a VP candidate to the PDP’s Atiku Abubakar 4 years in the past, will get a whole lot of his assist from a youthful, well-informed, upwardly-mobile city demographic disenchanted with the outdated order.
Lots of them had been within the room this specific night at an upscale resort in intellectual Ikoyi.
It was an occasion tagged “Peter Obi Engages with Prime Entertainers” and the banquet-style setting was about 80% occupied at 8pm, the time the occasion was scheduled to begin.
It was spectacular timekeeping contemplating Lagosians’ penchant for attending to occasions late, town’s snarling site visitors a prepared excuse.
Soothing jazz welcomed friends wanting to rise up shut and private with the person who has impressed hope in a rising variety of beforehand disillusioned youths.
It was a roll name of principally film stars, aside from Peter and Paul Okoye, the pop twin act which were very vocal of their assist for Obi.
They had been very concerned within the organisation of the occasion, as was Funke Kuti who buzzed round ths room getting issues sorted.
Others in attendance had been Kanayo O. Kanayo, Kate Henshaw, Hanks Anuku, Zubby Michael, Kaffy and plenty of extra.
The flambouyance on present was a photographer’s delight.
Chidi Mokeme walked in to cheers of “Scar, Scar!” Heartwarming suggestions from his friends, following his spectacular portrayal of a villanous character within the Neflix sequence ‘Shanty City.’
Okey Bakassi was a really seen presence as he grabbed the mic to crack a couple of jokes earlier than stating emphatically:
“The power on this room can gentle up Lagos. And it’s all for a great trigger.
“I’m a card carrying member of a political celebration, not this celebration. However immediately, I’m totally obedient.
“I’ll converse my thoughts, I’ll make my stand,” he stated to loud applause.
Radio character Olisa Adibua was within the viewers too, as had been Labour Social gathering chieftain Pat Utomi and its Lagos State gubernatorial candidate, Gbadebo Vivour Rhodes.
Additionally taking part in a distinguished function was enterprise government cum politician Valentine Ozigbo, whose present place is Particular Adviser to Peter Obi.
“I’m one among you,” he instructed the entertainers within the room, revealing that he was an government producer on the film ‘Merry Males.’
“…And by advantage of El-Rufai, Peter Obi is one among you too,” he joked in reference to the Kaduna State governor’s reference to Obi as a Nollywood actor.
It was notable although that whereas Nollywood was nicely represented, Afrobeats wasn’t (aside ffom P-Sq.), though the identical invitation was prolonged to each actors and artistes.
The evening formally kicked off when the emcees – Frank Edoho and Kachi Offiah – steered the occasion begin with dinner as a result of Peter Obi wouldn’t make it on time.
His hectic schedule on the day included a rally in Abuja, journeys to Delta and Bayelsa states, and an earlier dedication in Lagos with the British Excessive Fee.
Regardless of his finest efforts, flight schedules and Lagos site visitors had put a spanner within the works.
To not fear although, the room was full of laughter, and some dramatics, as you’d anticipate from actors.
Whereas dinner was served, T Basic serenaded the viewers with a surprisingly wealthy baritone voice, and vary that saved the viewers asking for extra.
Most of these within the room are used to being the centre of attraction, as well-known faces which have graced our screens for years and for some, many years.
However this night all of them stood up in unison to welcome the person who has grow to be a sensation, a phenomenon even, an embodiment of hope for a big share of Nigerians dissatisfied with the nation’s present state of affairs.
The applause continued for minutes as Peter Obi urged his viewers to take their seats.
He apologised profusely for coming late. He revealed the hectic schedule he’d been by and the truth that his flight crew had reached its restrict of hours for the day. He needed to get one other crew to fulfill his commitments.
It elicited questions of how he was maintaining. Apparently, he attracts energy and power from his assist base.
“I inform folks that it’s the youths operating the election by me,” he stated.
Peter Obi narrated his antecedents as a profitable enterprise man from a younger age up till he turned governor. He’s in search of the presidency to serve and never for private achieve, he insists.
“I have the funds for. I’ve no cause to steal cash. I’ve sufficient for me and my household.”
The election will not be a do-or-die affair for him. In his opinion, the nation beneficial properties essentially the most if he wins.
“For the final 10 years, all this nation has executed is breed insecurity, poverty, unemployment, illness, ache…”
He reeled out statistics to point out simply how dangerous Nigeria is and how briskly it’s degenerating.
“This can’t proceed. If It does, all of you right here might be refugees. You can’t afford to be a refugee,” he warned.
“We wish to construct a brand new Nigeria. A brand new Nigeria is feasible.”
Obi believes the February 25 election will convey a generational change to the polity.
“Prior to now, Nigeria has been dominated by folks born earlier than independence,” he stated.
However himself, his operating mate and the Labour Social gathering Chairman had been all born after independence.
“This election gained’t be about tribe or faith,” he continued.
For him, the identical challenges confront all residents, no matter tongue or creed. One in every of these challenges is corruption.
“Each wealth should include enterprise. We should know what you’re doing.
“Individuals ought to know the antecedents of these serving them.”
He defined how he plans to construct the brand new Nigeria.
“We wish to transfer Nigeria from consumption to manufacturing,” he stated. Properly, no surprises there. That has been the anchor on which he has constructed his marketing campaign.
He continued, “Nigeria will not be producing something, we’re simply sharing. We have to feed ourselves for meals inflation to drop.”
He made comparisons with India, Vietnam, Banglades and Malaysia.
“Vietnam made extra money exporting sneakers than Nigeria created from oil.
“There are 50,000 shoemakers in Aba. Aba is nearer to the ocean than Vietnam is.”
Obi reminisced concerning the good outdated days and urged his followers to convey it again.
“They are saying Peter Obi is stingy. Sure, stinginess is a part of capital formation. It’s important to save to have capital.” This was met with cheers.
“Exit and encourage yourselves that it’s time to elect somebody with competence.
“I intend to construct a Nigeria that might be a member of the G20, not as an observer.
“I wish to unlock the poverty within the north. We will make more cash from agriculture that we make from oil.”
Peter Obi spoke for the higher a part of an hour, holding his viewers spellbound.
He realises that many see in him the hope of a greater Nigeria. He gained”t fail them, he promised.
“I might fairly die for this nation than disappoint the youth who’ve positioned their hope in me,” he vowed.
When he was executed, it was one other spherical of applause and a standing ovation.
A pertinent query through the Q&A got here from Okey Bakassi.
“Nigerians are galvanised to vote for you. However do you will have the capability to defend our votes?”
The response might not have been what the viewers was itching to listen to but it surely gave an perception into Obi’s mindset; that he’s a conduit for the disenchanted to channel their fustration with the outdated order, and an emblem of a brand new Nigeria the place the residents take accountability.
“It’s important to defend your votes yourselves,” he replied.
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