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2023: How Social media Support For Peter Obi Unsettles Presidential Aspirants

by Victor Ndubuisi

Since news of former Anambra State governor, Mr Peter Obi’s defection from the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, to the Labour Party, LP, emerged last week, there has been rising support for the former bank chairman, with a lot of backing across social media platforms.

The first was that in Anambra State, where Obi left the PDP after a blatant plot to sabotage his attempt to secure the party’s presidential ticket, many members of the party, including bigwig politicians, aspirants, and many supporters, all defected to the Labour Party, for the simple reason that Obi had moved on.

Following the announcement of Obi’s resignation, the PDP saw a wave of resignations, with Mr Valentine Ozigbo, the party’s governorship candidate in the November 2021 governorship election in Anambra, withdrawing from the race but neglecting to declare his resignation from the party. Apart from Ozigbo, former members of the National Assembly Hon Valentine Ayika, Hon Tony Nwoye, and Hon George Ozodinobi have all withdrawn from their political ambitions and resigned from the party.

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However, a source within the Anambra PDP informed Newsmen at the time that more important politicians in the state will still abandon the party in the following days. According to the source, Peter Obi abandoned the party in rage because Uba and others were attempting to disgrace him in the state while he fought his fellow presidential hopefuls.


“More people will leave before the end of this week. It is true that PDP in Nigeria has problems, but the problem of Anambra PDP is far more than that of the national. It is still the reason they have not held a primary election for any position, till today. The plot is for all Obi’s line up to move en mass, and join the Labour Party, from where they will give PDP a fight,” the source said.

More individuals are abandoning the PDP for the Labour Party, as projected, but the concern now extends beyond the PDP to the ruling All Progressives Congress, APC, and all those interested in the upcoming election.

One may argue that if internet support can win presidential elections in Nigeria, Mr Peter Obi is already well on his way to winning the 2023 presidential election.

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For example, Obi has received widespread support from Nigerians who feel he is the greatest candidate for the post on all social media platforms in the country. There have been comic acts as well as political messages from regular Nigerians who have expressed their support for the former governor. Social media posts have claimed that they will vote for Peter Obi even if he joins a ‘end of the year party,’ a ‘end of discussion party,’ or a ‘party after party.’

Such cult-like devotion would send shivers down the spines of any other political organization, especially since the party’s website’s server was believed to have broken down due to high traffic as individuals registered to become members of the party during the first 48 hours following his defection.

However, there have been differing perspectives on Obi’s online popularity, with some claiming that social media followers may not transfer into real votes during the election. However, Ejike Mba, a human rights activist who talked to the Newsmen, believes that individuals create ideas on social media and then decide where to vote.


He also stated that such open declaration for Obi on social media may also influence people who do not have a stand yet, while also stating that there is absolutely no truth in the insinuation that social media votes do not transform to physical votes for candidates.

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He said, “If you ask me, the best thing that has happened this year is the acceptance of Mr Peter Obi to run for president, and as if that is not enough, he quietly exited the PDP and moved to a less known party when it became obvious that PDP was bent on frustrating him. I’m a supporter of Peter Obi, and there is no way people can tell me that the kind of cult following he is enjoying today can not translate to positive support during the election.


“Let me tell you, the people that are not happy are people that are in the ruling political party, APC. If you are someone who uses Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or even WhatsApp, you will see the kind of comment people are making about the personality of Obi. In 2015, APC and it’s candidate, Muhammadu Buhari had the same kind of acceptance in the social media, but the only difference was that while the APC and their propaganda arm induced people to make post that were positive about Buhari, the case of Peter Obi is that after visiting a lot of places on the platform of the PDP and also presenting his case and arguing in television shows, people today see him as the man who cuts the shape of the kind of president that can bring hope to this country.

“Have you not seen Peter Obi being mobbed at airports and other public places? Don’t you see the kind of support people are showing to him? The good thing is that unlike the APC, which stage-managed the kind of Buhari they wanted us to believe in, especially through social media influencers who they paid, the case of Obi is that genuinely, people are making positive videos, comments and posts about him because they are convinced about what they want.”

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Speaking on the possibility of Obi’s support base which is the youth staying with him through the election, a journalist, Mrs Ify Nzebo said: “Most of the fight is for Obi to fight. Just like people have been saying ‘there is no polling unit in social media’, I still believe that with all the campaigns, people are more politically aware today than they were in 2015 and in 2019. A lot of people have realized the power of the PVC, and they are going all out for it.

“I’m sure the youths will come out enmasse to vote for Obi as they have also been supporting him, but what I’m definitely not sure of is that any of those youths will want to stay behind and protect their votes as they usually say. As for coming out to vote, people will vote Obi enmasse, but if in the case opposition political party decides to use violent thugs to rig the election, most of the youths will rather want to be safe. Thankfully, from what we have heard, the new Electoral Act may not permit such use of violence to rig elections this time.”

On the willingness of the north to relinquish power, Mba said: “Many people have been talking about the willingness of the northern oligarchs to cede power to the south, and they too have shown it that they are not willing. That is why after eight years of two tenure, the north is still not willing to have power zoned to the south. PDP has also confirmed it by electing Atiku Abubakar as their candidate, making Peter Obi’s exit from the party a very good move.

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“But one thing I know is that, this could be the very opportunity for the real Nigerian people to choose their own president, irrespective of the options placed before them by a cabal. I’m already sure that the APC will also elect a northerner as candidate, but it is up to the voting public to choose who to vote for. Already, Peter Obi is sitting pretty because this will be the first time that someone outside the two big parties is posing a threat to the big parties, and also being positively believed to have the chance to win.”



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