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Peter Obi is intellectually vibrant but tends to over-promise, says Okey Ndibe

Bolanle Olabimtan

Okey Ndibe, a Nigerian author and columnist, has described Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party (LP), as an intellectually vibrant and physically fit candidate.

Speaking during an online interview programme 90MinutesAfrica hosted by Rudolf Okonkwo and Chido Onumah on Sunday, July 24, Ndibe described the former Anambra governor as the most exciting among the three major contenders.

“Obi has excited a lot of Nigerians, especially young Nigerians. The reason for that is understandable,” he said.

“Nigerians have not had in a long time a political aspirant who appears to think about the problems in the country, spell out those problems and articulate ways of addressing those problems.


“And Obi comes across as a youthful, physically fit person. So, there is this combination of a certain sense of intellectual vibrancy and physical fitness which should be a welcome departure from what we have in Nigeria.”

However, the renowned author added that among several flaws, Obi tends to make too many promises that may not be achievable.

“He is extremely self-referential. And that is not a good thing in a leader,” Adibe said.


“A leader should be able to identify men and women who have gifts that he is then going to delegate challenges to. When a leader presumes to know everything, that is a weakness.

“Obi also tends to over-promise. Nigeria’s problems are so deep and so fundamental and vast. So, when you give the impression that if you are made president, you will solve everything, then I will say pause for a minute. You cannot solve everything.

“Nigeria does not have the money, and I don’t think that the international community has the stomach to lend us the money. Maybe, if he becomes president, he will take the first one year trying to stop the bleeding.

“Another problem I have with Obi is what I call the self-inflicted hypocritical wound. When people don’t ask you certain things, don’t go stating things which may turn out on scrutiny not to be true.

“Famously, a few years ago Obi claimed that he owned only one wristwatch. Nigerians went out there and found pictures of him wearing several wristwatches.

“He was a wealthy businessman before he became governor, so it would be fine and expected if he owned several wristwatches. When you come out and want to create an impression of being ascetic and tell a fab, then people will begin to wonder if you are lying to us about owning only one wristwatch what else are you lying to us about?

“I will say to him not to hug the microphone so much; not to be there speaking so much; to create a network of people who will work for him and to begin to appoint advisers in different areas. He should not be the one doing everything. Or else he would over promise, get into falsehood and unnecessary unforced errors.”

“I think that clearly, of the three major candidates, Obi is the most exciting. We see that excitement on the internet. So, maybe Obi is going to spring a surprise. In order to do that he has to defeat not only the monster of his flaws and also the monster of ethnicity and religion.”

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