As the race towards the 2023 presidential election gathers steam and the four major political gladiators begin putting their houses in order for what promises to be an interesting race to Nigeria’s seat of power, one name that appears to be on the lips of a good number of millennials is that of Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Mr. Peter Obi pulled out of Nigeria’s main opposition party, the Peoples Democratic Party, just a few days before the party’s presidential primaries citing recent developments within the party which makes it practically impossible for him to continue participating and making constructive contributions.
According to him, “Our national challenges are deep-seated and require that we each make profound sacrifices towards rescuing our country. My commitment to rescuing Nigeria remains firm, even if the route differs.”
He subsequently announced he had moved to the Labour Party in the quest to realise his presidential ambition and was subsequently announced as the party’s presidential flag bearer for the 2023 presidential election.
Since then, he appears to have warmed his way into the hearts of Nigerians, especially upwardly mobile millennials and Gen Zs, who have been aptly described as the ‘Soro Soke’ generation. Soro Soke, a Yoruba word which is loosely defined as “Speak Up,” was coined during the 2020 EndSARS protest.
He has drawn up what can best be described as a cult following on social media, where the clamour for his election continues to grow by the day. This has further increased since he announced Yusuf Baba-Ahmed as his substantive running mate.
But away from the noise on social media, here are five reasons why Peter Obi cannot win the forthcoming 2023 presidential elections.
Building structures demand much more than just social media followership
A lot has been said about this, and it can’t be any truer. Elections aren’t won on social media. While social media is a great tool for advocacy and can be effectively used as a rallying point for engagement, winning an election, especially in a nation like Nigeria, takes much more than just creating buzzwords, trending hashtags and managing a social media account.
The real work is on the field where the votes are to be cast, among the real stakeholders: the everyday man and woman on the streets who have got their permanent voters’ cards and will turn up on election day.
The Labour party does not have the national spread required to coast home to a presidential victory
A good way to know a party that will make a dent in a presidential election in Nigeria is to look at its national spread. In how many states of the federation does such a party have a physical presence (state, local government, and wards) for both administrative and operational processes that will see to the implementation of its campaign processes?
When one thus weighs the Labour Party in the light of the above and the true picture of things, a clearer picture of what will play out on D-day can be deduced.
The bulk of young Nigerians from whom he enjoys followership are only “keyboard warriors” who will not come out to vote when d-day arrives
One serious shortcoming of the hype hitherto being enjoyed by Peter Obi is the fact that, from history, many of the hardline campaigners presently championing the ‘Obidient’ movement on social media will remain just that—social media campaigners.
At the end of the day, many will prefer the comfort of their homes rather than go out to cast their votes when it’s really needed. As such, they end up just being rubble rousers.
The north, which is a major voting bloc, will not vote for him as a majority of the population there are not literate
While many have pointed out that the current population spread as stated in the last population census is debatable, Nigeria is yet to conduct another population census, which should give a true picture of the current population spread across the states.
As such, as it stands, the north maintains the highest voting bloc and, if history is anything to go by, they would rather vote for their own in the person of Atiku Abubakar (PDP) or Rabiu Kwakwanso of the NNPP.
It is also likely that Tinubu, Kwakwanso, and Atiku will share the votes from this bloc.
Peter Obi does not have the financial muscle needed to push a campaign of such magnitude
Lastly, Peter Obi does not have the backing of any major state government from which state funds could be used to fund this campaign, and neither does he boast of the heavy financial war-chest that is needed to pull off an undertaking of such magnitude.
Jorn Lyseggan is a serial entrepreneur, investor, philanthropist, and founder of Meltwater…