By Donu Kogbara

POLITICIANS can’t afford to be snobbish or uncompromising because they need every single supporter they can get; so I’m sure Peter Obi will not thank me for saying what I’m about to say. Since I’m not looking for anyone’s vote, I can afford to be snootily frank and point out that some of the people who are eagerly jumping onto Peter Obi’s bandwagon are completely undesirable!

Complaints are normally levelled at the hotheaded, youthful Twitter warriors who leap to Obi’s defence, sometimes very rudely indeed, whenever anyone (including constructive critics) dares to suggest that their hero (a mere mortal, after all!) is not perfect.

But it is not these impetuous and impudent online juveniles who bother me. As far as I am concerned, their passionate and blind adoration for Obi is completely understandable, given how little this country has done for their painfully disillusioned generation to date.

Those who can summon up the self-confidence to take major gambles in alien terrains – and scrape together enough cash for airline tickets – are queuing up at foreign embassies in Abuja and Lagos, desperately seeking visas that will transport them to wonderful overseas opportunities they cannot dream of accessing at home.

Meanwhile, those who would so so so so so love to escape to less stressful climes but lack the risk-taking gene or financial resources with which to fund an exit are wallowing in anger and despair. And I for one don’t blame them for: a) regarding any politician who seems atypical as a messiah; and b) thoroughly abusing anyone they feel is trying to extinguish the only light at the end of their tunnel. 

So, yes, they shouldn’t be so saucy. But I’d probably have been on the verge of hysteria and even saucier if I’d been in their agonising shoes at their age. And the bottom line is that I see these kids as essentially harmless victims of a warped society.

And, by the way, Naija society has been warped for ages, so PDP stalwarts should not claim sainthood just because they are not in power at the moment! We must never forget that things were also far from great when they were in the driving seat for 16 years.

OBIdience has become an inspiring credo and surprisingly successful movement precisely because millions of youngsters yearn for a breath of fresh air that is as far removed from APC and PDP as possible.

Whether Obi has what it takes to beat the big establishment boys in an election – and then deliver rapid radical change against the odds in a rotten system like this – is another story for another day.

For now, I want to focus on the fact that I’ve encountered several dubious characters (mostly non-youths) who claim to be Obi fans or are presenting themselves as gubernatorial and legislative candidates of Obi’s Labour Party.

Let’s assume that Obi can romp to victory next February…and that he is being sincere when he describes himself as a rare reformer who is ready to take on nation-destroying vested interests and eager to sanitise Nigeria and transform it into an economic giant. 

But how I wish he could practise quality control and be more selective about who to allow into his club!……because his reform agenda will be Dead On Arrival if morally questionable folks who are unsuitable for public office sneak into responsible government positions on his coattails.   

Am I being too uncharitable? Is it possible that some OBIdients who have been dubious in the past are going through profound Damascene conversions and are as ready for change as decent citizens? Is it possible that they are ashamed of their crimes and praying for a leader who will save them from themselves and save Nigeria from their toxic shenanigans?

A friend of mine who works for a state government in the North recently told me that he has basically operated like a crook and goes through sleepless nights caused by guilt and doesn’t think he will make Heaven and wishes he had lived his life differently.

Bravo to UAE!!!

THE Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, CEO, of the Nigerians in Diaspora Commission, NIDCOM, Dr. Abike Dabiri-Erewa, has advised Nigerians who illegally travelled to the United Arab Emirates, UAE, and are stranded there to behave themselves.

Dabiri-Erewa pointed out that despite several warnings by the Federal Government regarding the consequences of illegal migration to the UAE and other countries, some have refused to listen and have put themselves in trouble as a result. 

In a statement, the NIDCOMS media chief, Abdur-Rahman Balogun, said: “The Federal Government has approved the evacuation of over 300 Nigerians stranded in the UAE. Regrettably, many of those affected have not been totally cooperative as they refused to follow the laid down procedures.

“Investigations also revealed that over 100 Nigerians who had served various jail sentences (ranging from drugs to credit card frauds, robberies etc.) suddenly landed at the holding centres, demanding of the Nigerian consulate in Dubai to immediately bring them back. Their voices have been the loudest.”

I am tired of cheap touts disgracing us internationally and salute the UAE authorities – one hundred percent! –  for adopting a zero tolerance policy towards Nigerian criminals.

I also salute Abike Dabiri- Erewa for her patience. She is doing a great job under difficult circumstances, often for people who do not deserve any sympathy.


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