By Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu
Failure means different things to different people. Failure being talked about here refers to when we get an unexpected outcome in any venture. Every defeat, frustration or lack of success is a failure. The inability to meet an expectation is a failure. Peter Obi had his first shot at politics in 2003 vying for the office of the governor of Anambra State. He failed to win as was announced by the electoral umpire. He didn’t give up but was in court for 3 years before being sworn in on March 2006.
His determination and persistence after failure changed the narrative in the political History which was to be later abused by the judges. Nigeria now has a system of electoral fraud and brigandage which mandates various Election Petition Tribunals and the Supreme Court to declare who’s the actual winner in an election. Despite the abuses, it was Peter Obi who made some politicians realize that they could reclaim their mandate through the unbiased judicial process.
It didn’t end at that. After Peter Obi’s impeachment, he still did not cow or submit to the corrupt moneybags. We can see the fighting spirit in the man. So many competent and qualified individuals in Nigeria stay away from the murky waters of Nigerian politics because of unexpected outcome. Progress is impossible without change; and those who cannot change their minds cannot change anything (Benard Shaw). Most people accept defeat because they don’t want to take responsibility for what happens in their lives.
Having the power to fix whatever problem you encounter in life is what stands out Peter Obi. We are actually considering the mindset of the dogged fighter. One who is not willing to submit easily to undue pressure. Even after his tenure as the governor of Anambra State, the choice of a successor came with much pressure and forces from which he had learned from. Peter Obi may not be called a failure but he has constantly been in a situation or condition of not meeting his desired or intended objective.
On the 1st of March 2023, the INEC Chairman, Professor Yakubu Mahmoud, announced Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the APC as the winner of the Presidential election. In this, Peter Obi did not just fail, he failed to the third position. As a man who is everly prepared for any eventuality, he assured his supporters that he won the Election and that he would prove it.
That settles it! It was everywhere in the media that since the return of democracy in Nigeria that the supreme court has never removed any president from office and that it could not be possible. But the movement, call and mission of the man was to take back Nigeria and restore hope to Nigerians.
He has always changed the narrative in every venture. He is not only a game changer; he is a powerful transformer. He engineered a political revolution in Nigeria and everyone is feeling the heat.
It’s not just about Peter Obi; there is something very unique about an Igbo man. Any government that tries to stifle and oppress the Igbos causes a precarious and unexpected consequences for the rest of the country. Any man could be corrupt and any man could be genuine (sincere). To displace the Igbos completely in their own country has brought disastrous consequences to the people of Nigeria.
The recent proceedings at the ongoing PEPT – Presidential Elections Petition Tribunal, shows the caliber and nature of a man who handles failure effectively. His inability to get the sensitive materials used during the elections, the denial of the live coverage of court proceedings, the ban of mobile devices and gadgets in the court could as well be a failure due to his inability to achieve a particular purpose.
In the 1990s, a lot of countries were behind Nigeria economically, politically, socially and otherwise. The reverse and untoward drill was caused by leaders and it would only take a capable leader to restore Nigeria to her lost glory. Many competent personalities has withdrawn from politics entirely due to unexpected outcome (failure). Peter Obi has always fulfilled and met all the criteria for someone to win an election but was all the time shortchanged.
You cannot handle failure properly if you are not fully persuaded in mind and purpose-driven. So many politicians have either rigged the election to win or have failed to win. To win an election, certain conditions must be met. One of the primary reasons individuals fail to win elections is the lack of sufficient popular support. Elections are typically won by candidates who can garner the most votes or secure a majority.
If a candidate fails to generate enough support or fails to connect with the electorate, they may not be able to win the necessary votes to secure victory. Political dynamics play a significant role in elections. Factors such as party affiliation, political ideology, and public sentiment towards a particular party or ideology can greatly influence election outcomes.
If a candidate is running in an area where the majority of voters are aligned with a different party or have opposing views, they may face an uphill battle in winning the election. The effectiveness of a candidate’s campaign strategy and execution can have a significant impact on election results. A well-organized campaign that effectively communicates the candidate’s message, connects with voters, and mobilizes supporters is more likely to be successful. Conversely, a poorly executed campaign, lack of resources, or strategic missteps can hinder a candidate’s chances of winning.
The personal qualities and image of a candidate can also influence their electoral success. Factors such as charisma, credibility, experience, and public perception of a candidate’s character can shape voters’ opinions and impact their decision at the polls. A candidate who is seen as untrustworthy, inexperienced, or lacking in leadership qualities may struggle to win over voters. Incumbent candidates, those who already hold the position they are running for, often have an advantage in elections.
Incumbents have an established track record, name recognition, and may benefit from the resources and support of their office. Challenging an incumbent can be more difficult due to these advantages. The electoral system in a country can also affect election outcomes. Different systems, such as first-past-the-post, proportional representation, or electoral college systems, have different ways of translating votes into seats or determining winners. The specific rules and mechanics of the electoral system can impact the chances of a candidate winning an election.
External factors such as economic conditions, national or global events, or specific issues dominating the political landscape can also impact election results. These factors may be beyond the control of individual candidates and can influence voter sentiment and decision-making. Though winning an election is a complex process even with all the stated conditions, the case of Nigeria in 2023 was quite spectacular and different. Everyone in Nigeria expected a change and all were united by suffering.
Nigeria has been in a state of quagmire politically. A son of nobody can never be somebody in Nigeria. The determinant for winning elections so far in Nigeria is who you know, how corrupt you are and how much you are willing to spend. Money politics dominated in the political space as could be seen in primary elections in which delegates receiving thousand of dollars determine who becomes president in Nigeria.
Nigeria has been in a pitiable state politically and the entrance of Peter Obi to politics in Nigeria gave hope, opportunity and choice to a lot of aspirations. In the just concluded 2023 Elections in Nigeria, a lot of people who were not ‘politicians’ and who could never have won were declared winners. This is a great boost to the practice of democracy.
The effort of political moneybags to end democracy in Nigeria has met an opposition. While we see a lot of interest both nationally and internationally trying to end democracy in Nigeria, this must be resisted. The system of governance and ailing institution in Nigeria has caused a lot of failures both collectively and individually. In the various aspects of the national life, individuals fail for no reason at all. And not many people are like Peter Obi. So many students fail academically due to weak educational institutions.
Many people fail in business due to multiple taxation and unfavourable environment. So many are quitters in politics due to the dirty games. Financial institutions and the economy is crumbling due to inefficiency and misappropriation of individuals in them. So many families are broken due to the body language of our leaders. Friendships and alliance have failed due to betrayals and treachery. Buildings collapse due to sharp practices and lack of expertise. The list goes on and on.
Some people tend to be ruthless and frustrated in their success after experiencing butts of setbacks and failures. We could witness the likelihood in the immediate past administration in Nigeria. Peter Obi has always been focused and optimistic whenever he’s given what rightfully belongs to him.
Resilience is the ability to bounce back from setbacks, adapt to challenges, and maintain a positive mindset despite facing failures or difficulties. It is characterized by perseverance, determination, and the capacity to learn and grow from experiences. Such an individual demonstrates strength, tenacity, and a willingness to face obstacles head-on, using failures as stepping stones to success.
Every year students go into the examination hall. When these results are released, some students will rejoice and some will question God on why they must go through such a painful failures. Experiencing disaster or failure could be very challenging to the soul.
However, we could learn from Peter Obi who did not focus on the precariousness of the situation but on God. It could be a painful journey, yet perseverance in the Lord will bear good fruit. There could be many reasons behind failures or successes, but one thing is sure that the Lord has allowed it to happen and He will not abandon those who continue to preserve in Him.
In life, we tend to learn more from failure. If you fail, never give up because F.A.I.L means First Attempt In Learning. END means ‘Effort Never Dies’. If you get no for an answer remember that NO means “Next Opportunity”.
Obiotika Wilfred Toochukwu writes from Lagos