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Obidients:The American way is not the Peter Obi way, By Rotimi Fasan

Obidients:The American way is not the Peter Obi way, By Rotimi Fasan……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

ON November 7, 2000, Americans went to the polls to elect a new president. The contest was between then incumbent vice-president, Al Gore, of the Democratic party and the then governor of the State of Texas, George W. Bush. George Bush’s father, George H. Bush was Ronald Reagan’s deputy and was himself in office as President between 1988 and 1992.

He was a one-term president who lost his re-election bid to the Democratic party challenger, Bill Clinton. The contest between Gore and Bush was very stiff. All went well until disturbing reports started coming in from Florida where Jeb Bush, the younger brother of George W. Bush, presided as governor of the state.

There were reports of unstamped ballots, faulty voting machines (BVAS/IREV?) and voter suppression, etc. The difference in votes between Al Gore and George Bush began to tilt back and forth between the two contestants until it was suddenly announced that George Bush had taken the lead and won. There were suspicions that the votes had been manipulated by Bush’s younger brother to favour him. For this reason, it was not difficult for Al Gore to withdraw his election night call to George Bush conceding victory. Rather, he asked for a recount after realising that the margin of victory was just over 500 votes.

For the following 36 days there was an unseemly stalemate which stalled the announcement of who was going to be America’s next president. For the first time in a long time, Americans were confronted with the shame of a manipulated election, a phenomenon that was until that time associated mainly with sit-tight politicians from the so-called Third World. But while Americans were yet waiting for the vote recount and thought their reputation as the bastion of modern democracy was under attack, then did the Supreme Court come with its ruling that disallowed the recounting. George W. Bush was proclaimed winner of the election.

A short while after, Vice-President Gore placed a call to George W. Bush conceding to him the election of the year 2000. This customary call from the loser of an election to the winner signalled the end of Al Gore’s quest for the presidency. The call was necessary to assuage hurt feelings of Gore’s supporters and help them navigate the immediate future, moving away from the acrimony of the previous six weeks.

The traditional call that Al Gore made to George Bush was one that Donald Trump refused to make to Joe Biden in 2020, holding out with his unsubstantiated claim that the election was rigged. His failure in this regard and his insistence that he rather than Joe Biden won the election was what triggered the chain of events that culminated with the insurrection and invasion of the Capitol on January 6, 2021.

In his concession speech, Al Gore made clear his rejection of the verdict of the Supreme Court. He acknowledged his sense of loss and disappointment that he wouldn’t have the opportunity to serve the American people in the capacity of president. He also didn’t forget to voice the disappointment of his supporters about the outcome of the election. But for the sake of American democracy and the future well-being of their democratic institutions, he accepted the outcome of that election as proclaimed by the Supreme Court. He made no effort, subtle or overt, to incite the public against the judges who ruled against him.

Left for him as an individual, he would probably still be outraged enough to want to pursue the course of justice beyond the courts as his Nigerian brethren would do. But despite the fact that the decision of the court was against him, he committed himself to support the new president even as he urged all Americans to extend their support to the new president for a successful tenure.

There was something close to a repeat of the 2000 episode in the election that brought Donald Trump to office as president. Like the election of the year 2000, the election of 2016 was a keen contest between Trump and Hillary Clinton. After the ugly vituperations of the campaigns, that election would be called in favour of Donald Trump.

Like Al Gore in 2000, Clinton had more popular votes than Trump. Hillary Clinton was gracious enough to concede victory to Donald Trump as well as attend the inaugural luncheon, both of which Trump spurned in 2021. Like Al Gore, Hillary Clinton also expressed her disappointment with the outcome of the election but accepted it nevertheless for the sake of American democratic values. At no time did she mobilise her base against the American judiciary or other arms of government.

This is more than what we can say for Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party and Peter Obi of the Labour Party, especially Peter Obi who has continually steered his supporters along the line of insurrection with his periodic message to “the Obidients”. Only last week, he spiralled back to the Chicago University saga which he had earlier said he would not be distracted by after Atiku Abubakar invited him to join the bandwagon of his renewed bid to not only have the academic record of Bola Tinubu released but to also expose the president as an academic dupe. After the matter had generated far more heat than light and was being overtaken by other events, then did Peter Obi jump into the fray with a so-called world press conference at which he sermonised about the need for the president to re-introduce himself to Nigerians.

It was like going back to the pre-election campaigns to seek the vote of Nigerians even after the people had spoken and the dispute that followed their choice was already in court. Sensing, perhaps, that he was being upstaged in the rabble’s reckoning by Atiku Abubakar, Peter Obi decided to re-ignite the fire of his flagging reputation and popularity by repeating the tired and tiresome lines about integrity. What he fails to realise in all this dramatic preachment is that he was not only calling into question the integrity of Tinubu who he chose to call a chief rather than president, he was also impugning the reputation of Nigerian judges before whom the electoral suit now rest for adjudication.

This all portray Peter Obi and his Obidients as a group of political desperadoes who would not mind to bring down the roof of the entire Nigerian state just so that Obi can fulfil his pet wish to be president. Taken together with the toxic brew of identity politics spawned by his base in the last one and half years, his quest to be president is further undermined and made untenable. He needs to retrace his step now or never(?). ……CONTINUE READING>>>>>>

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