From Obinna Odogwu, Awka
Anambra State Governor Prof Chukwuma Soludo on Monday wrote off the presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP) for the 2023 election, Mr Peter Obi, saying categorically clear that Obi would lose the election.
Soludo, in a statement, told the presidential hopeful that he could, at best, come third in the election. He used the Osun and Ekiti governorship elections where LP performed poorly as examples of what to expect in the polls.
“Let’s be clear: Peter Obi knows that he can’t and won’t win. He knows the game he is playing, and we know too, and he knows that we know. The game he is playing is the main reason he didn’t return to APGA.
“The brutal truth (and some will say, ‘God forbid’) is that there are two persons/parties seriously contesting for president: the rest is exciting drama!
“That many Americans may not like the fact that Joe Biden (79 years) and Donald Trump (76 years) are two frontrunners for president in their parties does not remove the fact that if both of them emerge as candidates, definitely one of them will be president in 2024.
“As my brother, I wish him well and even pray for him. I told him during his courtesy call that my prayer is that he or Prof Umeadi of APGA would win, why not?
“That is from my heart, but I also told him that my head and facts on the ground led me to know that its probability is next to zero (what I cannot say before you, I won’t say behind you). So I already told him my opinion.
“Indeed, there is no credible pathway for him near the first two positions, and if care is not taken, he won’t even be near the third position. Analysts tell him you don’t need “structure” to win. Fantasy!
“Of course, LP won governorship elections in Ekiti and Osun on social media and via phantom polls, while getting barely 2,000 votes on ground. Creating a credible third force for the presidential election in Nigeria requires a totally different strategy and extreme hard work.
“Of course, Peter Obi will get some votes, and may probably win in Anambra state – as “home boy”. But Anambra is not Nigeria. If he likes, I can even campaign for him but that won’t change much.
“From internal state-by-state polling available to me, he was on course to get 25% in 5 states as at August this year. The latest polling shows that it is down to four states, and declining. Not even in Lagos state (supposed headquarters of urban youths) where the Labour Party could not find candidates to contest for House of Reps or Senate.
“The polls also show that he is taking votes away mostly from PDP. Indeed, if I were Asiwaju Tinubu, I would even give Peter Obi money as someone heading one of the departments of his campaign because Obi is making Tinubu’s pathway to victory much easier by indirectly pulling down PDP. It is what it is!
“The current fleeting frenzy, if not checked, will cost Ndigbo dearly for years. The South East has the lowest number of votes of any region, but it is also the only region where the presidential race might be a 4-way race (it is a two-way race in the other 5 regions) thereby ensuring that our votes won’t count in the making of the next president of Nigeria.
“Afterwards, we would start complaining that we don’t get “what we deserve” or cry of marginalization”, Soludo stated.
The governor said that he stood strongly by his interview on national television which initially sparked social media attacks on him. He said that he would continue to speak his mind on that matter whether anybody likes it or not.