The slogan; go and verify has been made popular by Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. And he uses it recklessly even when some of the information he is churning out are false. I am not surprised because he is a regular politician. He can go to any length to woo the electorate in return for votes during elections.
Peter Obi is good because he is a master of the mind game. He understands the people’s psyche and how and when to make them gullible. This much has characterized his public outings since his romance with the Labour party began after the edge out from the PDP in the buildup to the presidential primaries.
The go-and-verify list is endless, and this piece is to put issues in proper perspectives for the unsuspecting members of the general public. Peter Obi is a businessman that would do everything to convince a potential buyer to buy his goods. These guys have the gift of the garb, which has worked magic in sustaining business and political empires.
However, I have a challenge with toying with the emotional sensibilities of the people whom he aspires to rule come 2023. Have we ever wondered why he is entrenched with the single narrative? ” I, Peter Obi, paid pensioners, I left monies in Anambra state coffers, I built roads, I built hospitals, I carry my bag myself, I have only one pair of shoes, I don’t have any house outside of Onitsha” etc. The list is endless and indicates that Peter Obi is a saint, whose gospel the Nigerian people must believe hook, line and sinker.
For example, Peter Obi said he was awarded best governor in health care in Nigeria by the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013. And he asked that Nigerians should “go and verify”. The verification returned that the information was not accurate. The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation recognized him as the best-performing governor in eradicating polio in the south-east.
A good feat in the South East region. Even at that, eradicating polio in Nigeria is a national concern. All governors elected by the people are duty-bound to work towards eradicating polio with the relevant federal government agencies. It was the state’s resources at work, not his personal resources. And likewise, other state governors did make efforts towards eradicating polio. This claim was false and typical of Peter Obi.
Peter Obi also claimed governors formed the Eastern Security Network (ESN) in the south-east. In his words, “The Eastern Security Network was formed by the government of eastern states. The governors formed the security team; how can I condemn them? I’ve spoken about sit-at-home and I can tell you there was even a place they mentioned me. Everything I say, go and verify”
This is another one that failed verification as ESN was the creation of the Indigenous People of Biafra in 2020 with the primary responsibility to protect the south-east from terrorists and other criminal elements.
Peter Obi’s claim that out of 150 players in the American NBA, almost 100 are Nigerians is also worthy of scrutiny. Was he accurate in his postulation? The answer is no. According to NBA, about 109 international players registered for the league’s 2021-2022 season, and only five are from Nigeria.
Peter Obi’s claim that Nigeria’s total export was less than 30 billion US dollars in 2021 also shook the airwaves. “Nigeria is a country with 923,000 square kilometres of land and a population of 200 million people. God blessed us with oil and other resources. We have over 100 million people living in poverty. But to show that we are not a producing country, last year, our total export, including oil, was less than 30 billion dollars; that is why we can’t find dollars today.”
However, a report by the National Bureau of Statistics titled “Foreign Trade in Goods Statistics (Q4 2021)” shows that Nigeria’s total exports amounted to $47 billion (18.9 trillion naira in 2021 while total imports stood at N20.84 trillion.
The interesting angle is that this trend didn’t start today. Peter Obi, in 2019 as the vice presidential candidate of the PDP, also churned out inaccuracies during public outings. And I am not sure he has ever apologized for misleading people into believing his half-truths. For example, in 2019, he claimed that Nigeria was the third most insecure place to live on the earth’s surface.”
This was also false because, at the time, the Global Peace Index released annually by the Australia-based Institute for Economics and Peace, known globally to give such rankings, ranked Nigeria 16th among the least secure countries to live in. Afghanistan, Syria, South Sudan, Yemen and Iraq were the five least secure countries.
These and many more were the hallmarks of the Peter Obi outings. I often wonder whether these actions are deliberate or a function of grandstanding. I think they are intentional and a function of grandstanding, which smacks of deceit in my opinion. I can safely say Peter Obi might be suffering from Mythomania and Pseudologia fantastica, a chronic compulsive or habitual lying behaviour.
People suffering from Mythomania and Pseudologia fantastica are known for creating a false history, such as saying they’ve achieved or experienced something they haven’t. Such people get an instant high by spinning stories and telling them to people. And the lies are very extravagant and exaggerated. That is Peter Obi for you in his elements.
I am not convinced he is someone Nigerians should take seriously. It is obvious that he is not a team player. Have we wondered why he appears to be a lone ranger? Aside from the support he has garnered in the social media space by mostly gullible Nigerians that fell for his antics, there has not been any significant support from his team that worked with him while he was governor of Anambra state.
And to confirm this, he has not been quoted to have commended those that worked with him. It has been about him and what he did as governor. Maybe he is the all-knowing type that doesn’t see any good in the efforts of others other than himself. He is also one individual that wants all the glory. And to achieve this, he goes overboard in making outright insinuations and illogical conclusions.
I am not convinced this is what Nigerians need at this critical point of our existence. We want a president that would put issues in proper perspective and not give false hope to the people. We want a president who would recognize the efforts of others and give credit when necessary and not distort facts in a masturbatory drive for self-glory.
At this point, I want to encourage Nigerians to take the time to verify any gospel from Saint Peter Obi. He can’t continue to quote what happened in the Book of Jeremiah in Job. And he can’t also concoct events in his head and pass them on as reality.
We can’t attain any progress with a pathological liar as president. This is why Peter Obi remains a joke taken too far. It is my prayer that in the weeks and months ahead, Nigerians will see the game plan of Peter Obi. And also, we should expect more fallacies from his stable. Many have indeed been deceived. This is a shame.
Augustine is a political analyst based in Abuja.