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Edo 2024: Obi and Edo Labour Party Campaign Flagoff: An Own Goal

  • By Adolphus Arebanmhen Aletor

 

The much-anticipated Labour Party, LP, campaign flagoff in Edo State has come and gone, but not without its share of drama. Despite warnings from political analysts and concerned individuals, the event fell short of expectations, highlighting the party’s underlying issues, as Peter Obi, who is not only an icon but a symbol of hope for the common man in Nigeria, whose appearance is always greeted with estactic frenzy, failed to muster the usual scene in his recent outing in Benin. His crowd, usually organic, uninfluenced, and self sponsored where scanty suggesting that attendee, may have been induced to attend the event.

The absence of key stakeholders, including the National Chairman, State Working Committee, former aspirants, the LP governor of Abia State, and the Obedients, was conspicuous. This lack of unity and cohesion contradicts Obi’s brand, which symbolizes hope and inclusion for the common man.

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Furthermore, the noticeable regional colouration of the attendees and the party leader’s entourage has raised concerns about the party’s national appeal. The fact that the Obedients chose to support the PDP candidate, Barr Asue Ighodalo, instead of attending the LP event, underscores the need for inclusivity within the party.

The avoidable incident at the Palace of the Oba of Benin, as confirmed by the Edo LP candidate, Barr Olumide Akpata, through his press release, highlights the urgent need for political rethink. The poor handling of the situation by the candidate’s handlers and the subsequent public caution by the candidate himself only serve to emphasize the party’s disunity and the eventual consequences of adopting his current style of leadership.

Peter Obi’s brand is built on the principles of justice, fairness, and equity, with a mantra of “we no dey give shishi” and the belief that “you are only an excellency if the process that brought you to power is excellent.”. The circumstances in Edo State have defied these principles, putting Obi’s leadership and the party’s future prospects at risk.

To remedy the situation, the governorship candidate must stop surrounding himself with sycophants who assure him of victory based on their influence at the party’s primary election, which is an illusion that is diminishing the party’s fortunes.

While some argue that Peter Obi, as the party leader, has a obligation to attend the flag-off ceremony, others caution that the underlying issues causing party fragmentation, member exit, disorientation, and low morale should be addressed first. As the leader, Obi is expected to reconcile conflicting interests and harmonize the party’s internal dynamics to create a cohesive and energized campaign team. But he is unable to do that due to his inabilities.

The Edo campaign flagoff has exposed the Labour Party’s internal issues, which must be addressed promptly to maintain Peter Obi’s brand and the party’s credibility. However, with the level of disillusion within the party and the misdirection of its leadership, I doubt if this can happen.

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