From the ruins of a devastating mistake of 2015, Nigeria has again embarked on the search for a messiah in 2023. Under the influence of a deeply religious society that we belong to, we cannot but be in the agreement that God sends messiahs. Very mysteriously, the messiah from God had been born more than 2,000 years ago, although that Messiah still lives. That, though, is the messiah for the world. What of the messiah for today’s beleaguered Nigeria? How is he to manifest, given the confusion that has engulfed the nation at present?As soon as the race for 2023 began, showers of presidential aspirants descended heavily on Nigeria’s two giant political parties, the All Progressives Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Before the primaries, it was not easy to decipher whether it was a blessing or a curse that a plethora of presidential aspirants trooped out to join the race to salvage Nigeria.The PDP, on Saturday, settled its own anxiety when it elected Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to fly its flag as presidential candidate in indirect primaries where cash-and-carry delegates were on sale to the highest bidder. The APC still has its baggage of aspirants, but in no time, will make its decision known, either by consensus or by other means.  

For some reasons, the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, stood out among the crowd of aspirants even before he ditched the PDP for the Labour Party where he has continued his quest for the presidency. Obi’s popularity might have stemmed from the brand of message that he preached from the onset, the message of corruption-free service to a nation that badly needed to transform from a consuming nation to a producing one. 

While other aspirants trusted in their well stuffed bullion vans, Obi made it clear that he was in no position to play the cash game and buy his way into office since his intention is to serve the people. As an aspirant on the platform of the PDP, he traversed the 36 states of the country emphasizing on wealth creation as his priority. He preached prudence in the management of public funds, a quality painfully lacking in Nigeria’s public service, which accounts for the two-time recession the country found itself  in less than four years. Obi went to London to see the British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, the country believed to have put Nigeria in the misery that is its lot today. Nigerians, especially the youths, listened to him.  They checked him up and saw that he was responsible for the very stable financial status Anambra enjoys today, having created the wealth and managed it so prudently when he was governor of the state. His past spoke so loud that the hearts of those yearning for a better Nigeria melted for him.  

The political permutations, with regard to the presidency,  appears to defy the crystal balls at the moment as the two bulls, APC and PDP, lock horns in a contest that proves to give the contestants a good run for their money.The likelihood of Obi making it in Labour Party seems too far off as the party is yet to have structures on ground nationwide.  We should not be too fast in banking on his success through the portals of the Labour Party because the hawks of our political world have their claws in all other parties than the one they belong to.  They will make sure they hunt him down. Were there provisions for independent candidacy, it would have been an advantage to this fine politician that is likely to elude Nigeria. 

Also, considering the voting patterns in regions of Nigeria, it appears unlikely that the north would abandon their own, no matter the preachments and the niceties the other would offer the nation.Should he, by some stroke of luck, make it to Aso Rock, Obi would have a hell of a time operating under the present constitution that tends to stultify growth. He succeeded in Anambra because he spoke their language and had a formula for dealing with the hawks in that “dot” state. A multi-cultural society such as Nigeria could prove problematic as some corners of the nation are interested in other things than wealth.The point is, no matter how hard he tries, the circumstances that drove him out of PDP which are still much prevalent in the entire system would pose a stumbling block to his success, given the laws and structure we operate which appears to mix oligarchy with democracy.

Hypocrisy is rife among us, with so many people speaking from both sides of their mouth. Again, how many people can the Labour Party put in the National Assembly to help him push things?Obi’s success might not come in the form of his winning the presidency but in the satisfaction that he has sufficiently sensitized the polity to the fact that there are still leaders in Nigeria who have the masses at heart, who cherish integrity and who maintain credibility even at the risk of their ambition.His brand of politics can best be described in Nigeria as politics for tomorrow, the politics of ideas and ideals, not money politics that has tethered the country to a season of backwardness and misery.  He might not be the messiah Nigeria would have, but, certainly, he fits the mould of John the Baptist, the lone voice crying in the wilderness and saying to Nigerians “repent, make straight your political paths.”   

Our messiah, in all probability, could come in two ways, by force or by trick. The force could not necessarily be a military coup but a civilian coup, akin to the one President Muhammadu Buhari confessed that brought the APC into power.  As for by trick, he could close his eyes and deceive the hawks into allowing him in. And once on seat, could set out to right the wrongs of the past. Pulpit talks seem to be ineffective.Indeed, no election season has been as ominous as 2023.
Dr. Odu can be reached through


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