By Law Mefor

NEWSDAILYNIGERIA: There is a Peter Obi witch-hunt that is ongoing. Some forces are certainly after him. Call it Obi-phobia or Obidients-phobia. The attackers see both as one and the same. These sustained attacks on Obi, Datti his running mate, and indeed, the Labour Party and the Obidient Family are simply because they have upset the system and are intent on a new Nigeria that will be beneficial to all Nigerians by toppling the corrupt system through the ballot. Today’s Nigeria benefits only a few captors of state power and these beneficiaries are resisting the change.

The attacks on Obi since he submitted his petition to the Presidential Election Petitions Tribunal (PEPT) have grown both in frequency and complexity. But two incidents stand out as the most curious and ominously vicious. There is a so-called leaked telephone conversation between Peter Obi and influential cleric David Oyedepo published by People’s Gazette. In the doctored audio clip, the LP candidate asked Pastor Oyedepo to help spread his message to Christians in the South-west and parts of North-central. To nuance the audio to satisfy their intent, they concluded, the presidential election was a “religious war.”

Discerning minds aware of what internet tigers and ICT experts have turned the internet tools into, particularly video and audio editing, the actual conversation between these two eminent Nigerians may never be known and will drowned in the perfidy.

However, a few days after the deep fake audio was published, Information minister Lai Mohammed accused Peter Obi of inciting Nigerians against one another, accusing him of treason. This allegation of treason made by the Minister of Information and Culture, Lai Mohammed is one of the many desperate and deliberate and disingenuous moves to de-market and discredit Peter Obi by various persons including officials of the Nigerian government, ostensibly presenting him as stoking insurrection.

Unless treason has another meaning, Peter Obi is never known to canvass or encourage his supporters to undermine the Nigerian state, let alone sponsor any action against the Nigerian state. So, the accusation is clearly a case of giving a dog a bad name in order to hang it.

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No matter how one operationally defines treason, it will never span to a man calling for calm and who is taking his grievance and injury to the courts. For the avoidance of doubt, here is a most basic definition of treason: the crime of betraying one’s country, especially by attempting to kill or overthrow the sovereign or government.

Looked differently, Treason in Nigeria is also: whoever levies war against the State, in order to intimidate or overawe the President. From the Biblical perspective, Treason is also seen as disloyalty towards the state. It can be found in several places in the Bible, including the Book of Kings.

Treason is a crime in Nigeria. The law states: “Any person who levies war against the State, to intimidate or overawe the President or the Governor of a State, is guilty of treason, and is liable to the punishment of death” (L.N. 112 of 1964). That is what the accusers are conjuring up against Peter Obi.

There is an adage which states that a tsetse fly that perches on the scrotum is killed in a unique style. Reason: if you kill the tsetse fly with force, you break the scrotum. If you leave it also, it will drain the blood. That’s the impression one gets while considering the desperation of the forces after Peter Obi since his unexpected showing at the February 25 presidential poll.

Despite all the ‘magomago’, INEC still recorded the Labour Party’s presidential candidate led in 12 states, equaling the performance of the ruling APC and the main opposition PDP that led in 12 states also. Premium Time report, which was based on the INEC uploaded results, also showed that Peter Obi was the one who led in Rivers and not Tinubu.

Initially, Peter Obi was treated like a mere irritant who is running for the records. Even phenomenal social media dominance was once written off by the Kaduna state governor MallamNasir El Rufai as “Four people tweeting in a room”. But since the presidential election, he was seen by the forces who believe they own Nigeria as a clear and present danger.

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His seeming competence, integrity and simple campaign message of moving Nigeria from consumption to production resonated with the masses especially the youths. It gave them hope that there is one man at last who is genuinely committed to lifting people out of poverty and transforming the nation.

Peter Obi said then: “Don’t vote for me because I’m an Igbo man or because I am a Christian…or because I am from Southern Nigeria. Rather Vote for me because I am a Nigerian, who is the most qualified in all positive indices of measurement amongst all 17 other Candidates”.

There is one message of Peter Obi that threatens the oligarchs – ‘Let’s take back our country’. Obi within months turned himself and his followers into a mass movement and phenomenon, thus scaring those who believe they are the owners of Nigeria and the rest are slaves. So, when kept saying Let’s take back our country; a new Nigeria is possible, the threat was real.

His 100-page presidential election petition raised issues that will bewilder any tribunal and rankle any president-elect. Peter Obi internationalized the conflict by drawing attention to the man Tinubu and his drug world. Even if the tribunal and ultimately the supreme court say the 460 thousand dollars forfeiture has been for over a decade and the forfeiter could have reformed and what is more, the matter happened outside Nigerian jurisdiction, the world now knows the would-be president of the world’s most populous black nation.

INEC had declared Tinubu as President-elect and asked all aggrieved parties, including Peter Obi to go to court and the main contenders – Peter Obi and Atiku Abubakar – have gone to court. But it is not going to court but the grounds is what the powers that be are bitter about.

Peter Obi has ultimately been accused of treason by the APC-led federal government within and outside Nigeria. One had to go through the activities of Peter Obi before, during and immediately after the fiasco called the presidential election and found not even a trace of treason.

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First,Peter Obi has always entreated his supporters to remain law-abiding and not to give up on the nation. Obi is irrevocably committed to building a Nigeria that will work for all Nigerians by reclaiming his mandate. He believes that not doing so would tantamount to abandoning millions of Nigerians who placed their trust in him by voting for him. As a humanist, Obi is also a promoter of universal social justice, world peace, and human progress.

Obi has shown he feels the deep insecurity, deprivation, unemployment, and untold hardships Nigerians are going through and assured that a new Nigeria is possible and they believed in him.

The initial mudslinging from those who are against the emergence of the New Nigeria and afraid they are about to lose relevance in the emerging equation has now turned into real threats and clandestine activities against the man and his dream.

Days ago, the story of the theft of Peter Obi’s identity also broke in the UK. This is just when deployment of the deep fake audio by dark forces was thought to be dying out. His identity theft, impersonation and fighting words, may be the climax but may not be the last. These clandestine efforts are conceived and deployed against him to break his resolve and disperse the movement. One of the 48 Laws of Power according to Robert Greene is: “Strike the Shepherd and the sheep will scatter”.

Yes, indeed a new Nigeria, which will be safe and secure for all Nigerians is indeed possible with Peter Obi’s kind of committed, courageous and visionary leadership.

The forces against this new Nigeria is strong. All lovers of peace, unity and development of Nigeria must not only pray for Peter Obi but also work with him towards it.

· Dr. Law Mefor is a senior fellow of The Abuja School of Social and Political Thought; Tel.: +234- 905 642 4375; e-mail: drlawmefor@gmail.com; follow me on Twitter:@Drlawsonmefor.

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