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Peter Obi’s Viral Speech: A Case Of Hypocrisy And Political Pandering By Churchill Okonkwo

October 5, 2016

Political hypocrisy in Nigeria is so pervasive that it calls to mind the 1664 classic play Tartuffe which is centered on a hypocritical priest who, after giving great speeches of piety and self-sacrifice, is found to be stealing his benefactor’s fortune and trying to seduce his benefactor’s wife. Such political hypocrisy could be seen in Ayo Fayose (making empty noise against Buhari’ anticorruption crusade even when he pocketed billions through corrupt means); our President (preaching anticorruption but failing woefully to rein in on his corrupt aides); Ben Bruce (the commonsense crusader without commonsense) and now Peter Obi (the saint that sinned). They are all stealing our fortunes while camouflaging as the voice of the poor masses. This piece is on Peter Obi - an archetypical case of hypocrisy and his recent political pandering.

I strongly believe that in politics when someone calls someone else a hypocrite, he will have to provide a flaw between public assertion and equally public practice. Peter Obi’s hypocrisy summarized here therefore, involves the outward expression of a virtue concurrently with the practice of a correlative vice.

Peter Obi’s recent hypocritical talk that went viral paints a picture of an actor who portrays one persona for an audience, which clearly differs from his behavior when he wines and dines with his new political friends in Anambra State that include the likes of Andy Ubah and Stella Oduah. Stella Oduah bought bullet proof cars worth billions. Peter eulogized her as a model for Ndigbo. A man that championed Stella Oduah only to turn around and lecture us about wastefulness in the purchase of colorful cars by public office holders is a hypocrite. Full Stop. I need not talk about the conflicting ethical questions relating to his disturbing “love affair” with Andy Ubah.

Peter Obi is a hypocrite! A man that campaigned for the reelection of the most careless and the most dangerously corrupt government in the history of Nigeria is deceiving the gullible. We had a National Security Adviser that turned himself into a Father Christmas, but instead of giving the kids, he gave the fire-breathing monsters that plundered the national wealth. The same monsters Peter Obi vigorously campaigned to re-elect in 2015. Peter’s hypocrisy thus reminds me of politicians who according to Adlai Stevenson would cut down a redwood tree, then mount the stump and make a speech for conservation.

Peter is a Political panderer! How I wish Peter taught Oga Jona his wonderful epistle on fiscal conservatism. I wish Peter had given this wonderful speech against corruption and wastefulness as a former Deputy Director General of the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign organization. I wish he had talked about the need to scrap the office of the first lady in the face of Dame Patience in one of those their political campaign tours.

Here is a man who supervised the dissemination of finances across southeast and south-south to the extent of bribing resident electoral commissioners preaching about corruption. A man that supervised the bullying and financial inducement of the electorate and INEC officials during the 2015 presidential election has no moral authority to preach anti-corruption to Nigerians. Period!

Where was Peter when his colleagues in the Governors Forum insisted that we must squander every Kobo in the National Treasury? I wonder what the panderer Peter told his colleagues in Southeast that grew the size of their stomachs and pockets while Enugu-Onitsha expressway turned to gully erosion site.

Talking about spending for growth; the people of Anambra State has not forgotten how saint-emperor Peter made caricature of governance during his second tenure by “dashing” millions of Naira to amorphous groups while displaying bigger than life cheques. Please, go and listen again to Emperor Peter in the viral epistle. All you will hear is “I”, “I...” “I...” never “we”, never “my administration”, never “my commissioner”. No, he was the alpha and omega with all the state and local government federal allocations at his pleasure and mercy. Eh m, what is corruption again? Is that the standard of democracy and transparency we should be promoting?

Peter was a dictator that ruled Anambra State for 8 good years, without transforming or reforming a single government agency or ministry in the state. Worst still no single interest or investment to develop human capital in the state. An embodiment of selfishness? 

I hope by now you agree with me that Peter Obi’s recent pandering is a classical definition of hypocrisy and political pandering. Tattered and battered by his prolonged battle with Victor Umeh and his estranged godson Obiano (after betraying APGA), he is now seeking redemption by riding under the economic downturn in the country to pander. So, don't let him deceive you that he is championing your cause. He is only repositioning himself.

Don’t get me wrong, I am against corruption and reckless spending. Campaign for fiscal conservatism with regards to lower levels of public spending is not however new in Nigeria. Many consistent political commentators and Editorial Boards of many national dallies have been advocating for that from Obasanjo’s era, through Yar’Adua, Jonathan and now Buhari. What is new is that the political jingoism in Nigeria has been so super-hyped that Nigerians who still believe the goat and the yam belong to the barn are swept off their feet by frivolities.

In 1st Thessalonians Chapter 5 verse 22, the apostle Paul gave some very a good advice to the Thessalonians on how to avoid becoming hypocrites, "Abstain from all appearance of evil". For me to take Saint Peter Obi serious, he MUST abstain from whatever is wrong starting with disassociating himself from the likes of Dame Patience, Stella Oduah and Andy Ubah.  

But, why do voters give hypocrites a pass? Why do fans of Buhari fail to point at his hypocrisy when he is saying one thing on corruption and doing another on acts of corruption under his watch? Why are Fayose’s fans eulogizing his ‘purity’, yet, conscious of his corrupt acts? Why are some Nigerians eulogizing the fraudulent pretense in Peter Obi’s “saying” element at the same time ignoring the “doing” element of hypocrisy in his behavior? Why are we not coming up with the same conclusion that is straightforward? – these politicians are hypocrites. 

If you have been clapping to the pandering of a hypocrite Peter Obi, pretending he said what you don’t already know or have never heard in your political life, then my advice to go look in the mirror. Are you all hypocrites? Yes. Please help Nigeria make the number one less.  

You can email Churchill at [email protected] or follow on Twitter @churchillnnobi.