Presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) Peter Obi has come under criticism over his aspiration to win the presidency.
Many have argued that Obi, who is faced with too many hurdles, lacks the alliance formation across political divides and standard political structures across Nigeria.
Some others mocked Obi and his army of independent volunteers – ‘Obi-dient Movement’ for leading in various polls on social media and online platforms instead of creating physical presence in remote areas of the country especially the north.
In all of these criticisms, some prominent persons in the country’s political circle have said the former Anambra Governor would never be president of the country in 2023.
Obi, seen as an ‘underdog’, will slug it out with candidates of the two major parties: Asiwaju Bola Tinubu (All Progressives Congress) and Atiku Abubakar (Peoples Democratic Party).
Others are: Dumebi Kachikwu (African Democratic Congress); Prince Malik Ado-Ibrahim (Young Progressives Party); Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (New Nigeria Peoples’ Party), Prince Adewole Adeboye (Social Democratic Party (SDP); Omoyele Sowore (African Action Congress); Kola Abiola (Peoples’ Redemption Party); Peter Umeadi (All Progressives Grand Alliance); Dan Nwanyanwu (Zenith Labour Party); Christopher Imumolen (Accord Party) and Maj. Hamza Mustapha (Action Alliance).
To many other observers, Obi’s supporters are also jeopardising his aspiration because of their hateful comments, and always hurling abusive and insulting words at anyone who campaigns for their candidate.
These are prominent individuals who have spoken against Obi’s candidacy:
Former Niger Governor Babangida Aliyu said Obi is a good candidate but 2023 would be too early for him to make it.
Aliyu said: “Peter Obi is my good friend and a former member of my former Governors forum. A very excellent person.
“His candidature, in terms of the Presidency, – I think he will make some name now. But he may be able to make it only in 2027, 2031. But 2023? Too early.
“Even though the young people might go for him, the name is not dropping everywhere else. I doubt if Nigerians are ready for him now as a presidential person.
“I would have loved him as a Vice President. Many of us were rooting for him to be Vice President to Atiku again.”
The People’s Democratic Party (PDP) senatorial candidate for Delta North, Prince Ned Nwoko declared Obi cannot win the 2023 presidency.
He advised the former Anambra Governor to return to the PDP and pick a ministerial appointment.
The former House of Representatives member said Peter Obi’s current party lacks the structure to produce the presidency despite his seemingly large support base.
He eulogised Obi, describing him as a very ‘frugal and conservative’ in his dealings while he was Governor.
“People Obi is a good man, I’ve known him for many years. When I did my Paris club refund for Anambra State, he impressed me.
“He impressed me because he will actually pick the phone to arrange my flight. He will pick his phone to book my hotel. And he was the governor.
“He actually came to London and didn’t come like other governors that came to see me, to give me instructions. He came alone, carrying his bag.
“We will like him back in the PDP. I would want to be one of those that’ll encourage him to come back to PDP. We can have him.”
Fiery Catholic Priest, Ejike Mbaka, had said the former Anambra Governor will never be President in 2023 or anytime later.
Mbaka said the Labour Party (LB) presidential candidate is a “stingy man” and that it was better to have an “old generous man” as president than a “stingy young man”.
“It is now that Atiku (Abubakar) is contesting for president. Now that he is contesting without Peter Obi, it is now that he is serious. We want somebody that is serious. Unless Peter Obi comes here to kneel, if he becomes President, I will close down this ministry. He is going nowhere,” Mbaka said
Many Nigerians, including the Catholic Diocese of Enugu, criticised him over his comment.
Although Rev. Mbaka has backtracked and apologised to Obi, and his supporters for the comment, his initial scathing remarks about Obi appears timely and will be in the public domain for long.
Former Deputy Senate President, Ike Ekweremadu said that people from the South-East will not vote for Labour Party presidential candidate Peter Obi.
The lawmaker from Enugu state acknowledged that Peter Obi is a credible candidate but that the South-East needs to be dynamic and should not waste their votes on Peter Obi because he can’t win the presidential election.
Ebonyi Governor David Umahi asked indigenes of the State to obtain their Permanent Voters Card (PVC) and vote for the Presidential Flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Tinubu.
Umahi told the residents not to vote for Obi.
“Our party is APC and not the Labour Party. We will not vote for the Labour Party. We will vote for APC.
“The States that the Labour Party has helped should vote for them.
“The agenda of God for Ebonyi state is Ebonyi state agenda and that is what you should be telling them when they come to ask you, will you vote for. Tell them not to look for our votes, our votes belong to APC”, he added.
Anambra Governor Chukwuma Soludo has said those dreaming to win the 2023 general elections under new parties are jokers.
He specifically said those who joined the Labour Party (LP) like its presidential candidate, Peter Obi, will just labour in vain in 2023.