Peter Obi: The ‘antidote to big man-ism’ who could be Nigeria’s next president | World News

He was relatively unknown until a few months ago, and yet Peter Obi has been tipped as the frontrunner in Nigeria’s upcoming elections.

Young, by Nigerian political standards, at 61, and with a reputation for competence in a country riddled with corruption, he is a man to watch.

His supporters say that if he becomes president in February, it will show that Nigeria’s democracy is in good shape ahead of the world’s first major elections in 2023.

Sky News had rare access to the Labor candidate during a brief visit to London.

He said that he is the agent of change in this election.

“We’re trying to say, and everybody can see, especially young people, that something’s wrong and everybody can see that the country can’t go down a path that’s going nowhere,” he said. could go,” he said.

There is a buzz around Mr. Obi. He came to address a foreign policy crowd at the think tank Chatham House, which attracted an extraordinary 100,000 people to watch online.

There was a crowd of people outside Georgian Square who were waiting for him later and chanting his name. Chatham House does not usually witness such scenes.

His supporters say he is the antidote to what they call “big tycoons” in Nigeria – powerful ex-military generals or rich men who gain power through money and influence.

They say Mr. Obi carries his own bag and owns only one wristwatch.

Supporters of Peter Obi in London.  Photo: AP
Supporters of Peter Obi in London. Photo: AP

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However, there are questions about the undeclared offshore companies he has reported on and his campaign manager has been convicted of money laundering. He was rejecting them.

He said his dealings were transparent, wrapped in a trust, and as for the disgraced team official: “Whatever happened to him, it’s an issue he’s not going to be my campaign manager for.” It happened before.”

There are huge questions about the financial integrity of his opponents.

Mr. Obi is taking on the most powerful interests in Nigerian politics, and he belongs to the Ibo minority, which has never had one of its own in the top job.

He admitted to being intimidated but said he was ready for the role and believed Nigeria’s problems needed to be solved.

And he says that the British people should also take care of this election.

“We have 200 million people, which is a huge market for the UK. And that’s important for the UK – they need Commonwealth members when they’re leaving the EU,” he said.

The country he wants to run faces enormous challenges: runaway inflation, rising unemployment and corruption.

It is threatened by separatist groups and jihadist insurgencies. He says he will sit down and talk to the agitators and rule with compassion.

Former British High Commissioner to Nigeria Paul Arkwright said the county needed a new sense of direction.

“I am afraid it is in quite a mess and there is almost a sense of paralysis in Nigeria,” he said.

“I think a fresh voice, someone who comes with new ideas, can make that difference and that’s important for Britain.”

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