Twenty-four hours to the highly anticipated Court of Appeal judgment on the February 25 presidential election, which the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal (PEPT) sitting in Abuja has slated to deliver this Wednesday September 6th, the Head of National Publicity, Contact and Mobilization Team of Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC) during the election campaigns earlier this year, Comrade Prince Tony Akeni Le Moin, has expressed infinite optimism that Peter Obi would one day triumph over various forms of obstacles and become the President of Nigeria.
Comrade Akeni stated this in Abuja yesterday during a chat with the media, urging the teeming members of the party and ObiDient supporters throughout the country to keep faith with what he described as a “certainty of eventuality.”
Continuing, the media boss stated: “As long as the Nigerian people do not give up in these last miles of emancipation struggle from the calamitous clutches of the APC and PDP; as long as God’s mercies remain true for millions of suffering and praying Nigerians,” Peter Obi would preside over Nigeria some day.
Anchored on his 2009 poem “Booed to Glory,” the campaign publicity head relived a fascinating menu of reminiscences citing the rise of historical political figures as Nelson Mandela, Barack Obama and Adams Oshiomhole from their disadvantaged beginnings to ultimate electoral victory.
The full statement of the publicity boss continues below.
*”PETER OBI SHALL BE PRESIDENT OF NIGERIA”*
I don’t know the date.
I don’t know the month or year.
All I know is that some day not far away:
As long as the Nigerian people do not give up in these last miles of our emancipation struggle from the calamitous clutches of the APC and PDP neocolonial surrogates of Nigeria; as long as God’s mercies remain true for millions of suffering and praying Nigerians; as long as countless sun-baked and rain-drenched orphans and widows in slave-like IDP camps, homeless in their own homeland, some for more than a decade, their only wine their midnight tears, that day shall come.
I had the same gut-rooted antennas of certainty and eventuality from the day Nelson Mandela was officially freed and welcomed from Robben Island prison that he would become the first Black President of South Africa. His swearing-in to office in far-away Pretoria on May 10, 1994 was therefore not a surprise to me one moment.
I had the same antennas of destiny denouement about Adams Oshiomhole in those days when we thought he was a genuine leftist and comrade of the masses and all of us activists without boundary threw our hats into the ring in gritty, city-shutting protest marches for his cause. Edo state masses and democrats held the trenches, every man at his own peril, to recover Oshiomhole’s stolen mandate from Prof. Osariemhen Osunbor of the PDP.
At a point in the struggle Oshiomhole had no penny to move one foot in front of the other, having understandably worn out his and well-wishers’ resources. He had no sou to give us for mobilizing the rallies but we took on the police, their arsenal of tanks and teargas from the skin of our teeth and pushed on with sheer determination.
As Director of Mass Mobilization, working with others of Nigerians United for Democracy (NUD), our frontline Gani Fawehinmin campaign front, we churned up solidarity from traditional fortresses like the Isekhure of Benin, the elite led by late Prof. Festus Iyayi, market women associations led by Mama Atiti and students of all tertiary students into the streets under the headship of Comrade Apostle Paul Oyarenua who was the chairman of our Edo state chapter of NUD, which was under the regional leadership of Dr. Osagie Obayuwana.
I recall that the day before the biggest protest rally that shut down Benin City and outlying Edo towns, which was just a few days before the Appeal Court panel gave the final governorship victory to Adams Oshiomhole, Dr. Paul Oyarenua and I sat down in Oshiomhole’s modest house in Benin GRA, face to face with Barr. Greg Haruna. Haruna, an exceptionally amiable patriot and finest of comrades, was Oshiomhole’s P.A., number one confidant, contact mobilizer and Man Friday on ground in the absence of Oshiomhole. In a forlorn voice that day, Comrade Haruna explained that Oshiomhole could not afford flight from Abuja to Benin to join us in that mother of all rallies but pleaded that anyway we could, we should proceed with the symbolic march. Haruna then said he had been up on his own since cock-crow running from pillar to post to scrape for money to support our logistics and efforts. He then gave me a bundle of #50,000 in #500 denominations which I counted and planted in Dr. Paul’s purse. A few days after that rally, on November 11, 2008, the Federal Appeal Court panel sitting at the High Court hall, opposite Benin Prisons, Sapele Road, gave Oshiomhole judgment, confirming my hunch from Day One that in spite of the fact that Prof. Osariemhen Osunbor was firmly planted in state house and already ruling from Osadebe Avenue, Oshiomhole would in a day not far away become the Governor of Edo state.
Comrade Greg Haruna tragically died in a fatal car accident on December 13, 2008, about 32 days after Oshiomhole was sworn in as Governor. He died with Chris Nwachukwu, the Chief Press Secretary of Oshiomhole, in the same crash near Uzaire in Etsako West, on their way to a wedding.
Three days to his sudden departure, still basking in the exhilarating triumph of Oshiomhole, a number of us comrades had stood with Haruna and chatted heartily under the big tree 80metres from the gate to Governor Oshiomhole’s office and 40metres from the entrance police post at Edo Government House. He was bubbling with life. The tree is still there. Haruna is not. That’s just the way it is.
One month after Barrack Obama launched out his Presidential campaign in far away America, I read the augury, put some peculiar elements of ancient and modern history together and told my comrades in Delta state, including a self-confessed non-activist, Chief Joe Arausi, that Obama was going to win the US presidential election and eject the Republicans to become the first Black President of America in the White House. Chief Arausi (non-activist because, according to him, humanitarian activism contributed to the death of his mother) is the iconic banking finance doyen and founder of one of the strongest going most successful community banks in Nigeria, IC-Global, which has weathered all storms of the delicate banking sector since Gen. Ibrahim Babangida and Tai Solarin to date and marching taller every year into the future. Barrack Obama was sworn in as President of America on Tuesday January 20, 2009, confirming another of my uncommonly precise political hunches in the first decade of this century.
On Wednesday January 21, 2009, the morning after Barack Obama’s swearing-in, I was sitting with a civil society delegation I had led across the desk of Chief Joe Arausi in IC-Global head office at Oleh, headquarters of Isoko South LGA, when the Chief said: “Tears came from my eyes yesterday as I watched Barack Obama give his inaugural speech as the first Black President of the greatest country on earth. There is truly nothing impossible with God.” I told Chief Arausi that I felt exactly the same when I watched on CNN the citizens of a small, remote community called Obama in faraway Japan as they trooped out to dance in celebration of Barack Obama’s victory, being the namesake of their native town.
Each of the above leadership figures were first ridiculed, booed, and disregarded as general non-starters and especially political nonentities when they began their odysseys. Oshiomhole told me on the evening of Saturday January 28, 2017 at Fugar, the council headquarters of Etsako West, during the House of Assembly rerun for Hon. Johnson Oghuma: “When I first came to Benin for political consultations towards my governorship ambition, everywhere I went people told me that Chief Tony Anenih was laughing at me, saying that he would teach me politics; that NLC activism is different from politics. Now who is teaching who politics?” Adams asked rhetorically. As at that short period of time in the mantle, Oshiomhole had already practically uprooted over 80% of Tony Anenih’s men out of every stronghold of Edo power structure and turned them to political IDPs.
It was a combination of the startling grass to glasshouse story of the above three men of state (Adams Oshiomhole), continental (Nelson Mandela) and global history (Barrack Obama) that inspired me to write the poem _”Booed to Glory”_ in my 2009 anthology titled _*”Psalms of Democracy.”*_
Back to Peter Obi…
I don’t know the date, how early or late. All I know is that the slate of fate has his name in the words “Behold the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
As long as he keeps that slate clean with God on matters of justice without partiality, sincerity of purpose with malice to none, Peter Obi is coming. And right after his tenures he shall be succeeded by another called President Datti Yusuf Baba-Ahmed.
May God keep us all.
Tony Akeni Le Moin,
Head of National Publicity, Contact and Mobilization Team, Labour Party Obi-Datti Presidential Campaign Council (LP-PCC).