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"Is he a true Pan-Nigerian leader in yoke or a hidden supporter of IPOB nay, believer in Let my people go?" Makinde.

Soft spoken but non-energy sapping Labour Party Presidential candidate in the 2023 Presidential Election - Mr Peter Obi recently addressed an "International Press Conference" which is everything but international, to make his position known on the final verdict of the nation's highest court - the Supreme Court, on his appeal of the ruling of the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal which had earlier dismissed his appeal against INEC's declaration of Ahmed Tinubu of APC, as the duly elected President of Nigeria.

As expected of the normal politician in Nigeria, he voiced his disagreement and rejection of the Supreme Court ruling which he premised on being thick on technicalities but thin on public opinion, and social justice.

Really? Of the four grounds which his attorneys premised their appeal that the Supreme Court dismissed, which one in good conscience is bereft of sound logic? Did Obi or LP present any figure contrary to those of INEC, to show that indeed, he won more votes than Atiku talkless of Tinubu? Did the interpretation of the Supreme Court on 25% of vote requirement as regards Abuja sound illogical? Does it make sense that Abuja FCT, which the Constitution says, for the purpose of presidential election should  be treated like a State assume more powers than the other 36 States put together? Of the more than180,000 polling units in the country, how many of them were LP able to adduce evidence of electoral violence or malpractices to his detriment but advantage of Tinubu or Atiku? Whose fault was it that the issue of wrong nomination of Kashim Shetima - Tinubu's running had to be brought to the Supreme Court again after the same appellate Court has previously ruled that he was rightly nominated? How in good conscience can any candidate who did not score majority of lawful votes, who never made 25% of votes in 2/3 States of the Federation and who came a distant 3rd position and not even entitled to a run off now claim he is robbed?

All said and done, it is a welcome development that Obi has accepted the inevitable and has pledged to be a vibrant opposition to promote accountability and transparency in public governance.

Likewise, his suggestion for a single 5 year tenure for the President till the exalted office is duly rotated among the six geo-political political zones which is along the line of 6-year earlier proposal of former President Gooluck Jonathan and Abubakar Atiku, deserves attention.

However, just like Governor Charles Soludo earlier predicted, Obi has left his Igbo race in a more precarious political situation than they were before he plunged into the presidential race. The Labour Party today, at the end of the elections only control one state making the Igbos to lose the potential of reaping political dividends and bargaining power, arising from the race's persistent support for PDP since 1999. As an important leg of the country's 'ethnic stakeholders Tripod' that won independence for Nigeria, which rightfully deserves to have one of their sons or daughters as President, that prospect now looks further remote; moreso, as it is expected that the North will produce the next President whenever Tinubu leaves power be it in 2027 or 2031. 

Let's face it. Obi needs to co-operate with Tinubu, as he, more than anyone else, made Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu President of Nigeria even though inadvertently. It is common knowledge that giving the poor performance of outgone APC's led government, people had expected the party to lose; but the usual block vote which the S/E South East normally give to PDP was given to Obi and no denying the fact that the natural S/E bulk votes harvest which Obi had more than anything else, prevented Atiku from having a walk in the park to the Presidency.

Nonetheless, Obi's political future can still be bright but only if he can can effectively reign in on his rampaging overbearing Obedient supporters who relish in weaving hatred, insults, and casting aspertion on other ethnic groups as a political weapon. Such strategy has the potential of back-firing in the future. Again, Obi of necessity has to outgrow his "YES DADDY" religious mentality and reach out to the more populous Muslim Ummah. They have unmatched electoral value; for it is not for nothing that Tinubu went for a Muslim-Muslim ticket. Limiting his political radiation to the Christian orbit and Igbo constituency can only make him a super star on social media but far away from Aso Rock.

Next time around, he should be less ambivalent on his position on Nigeria's corporate existence vis-a-vis IPOB's secessionist agitation. During the last electioneering campaign, Obi in style was running with the hare and at the same time hunting with the fox. 

Is he a true Pan-Nigerian leader in yoke or a hidden supporter of IPOB nay believer in Let my people go?

I have said my own o. I tender an apology if this bitter truth ruffles feathers.

Tolu Makinde is a Social Commentator and writes from Ibadan, in Oyo state Southwest Nigeria.

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