Peter Obi: A political Ali Dia

For the umpteenth time, the former Anambra State Governor, Peter Obi, has taken to his characteristic self-destruct button in a shameless attempt of wanting to defame an opponent who is utterly heads and shoulders above him, yet like an unskilled artist, he ends up screwing up his lines, shooting himself in the foot.

This has happened on many occasions and has consistently lent credence to his vacuous intelligence and crude political ingenuity that are antithetical to the calibre of a leader the country needs. Obi has severally been seen and heard making statements that whenever verified are either bereft of accuracy, practicability or ingenuity.

But as often as he puts out such vain strategy, it has always been met with failure as Nigerians have continually showed him how much of a studious, researchable, investigative and pragmatic class of people we are not to embrace whatever gets thrown at us hook, line and sinker.

In the latest hackneyed counterproductive attack, Obi was seen comparing the All Progressive Congress candidate, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, to Brazilian legend Pele who had a glorious footballing career but not fit to play competitive football of today. In other words, the Labour Party standard bearer thought it canny to compare the presidency of the country to football in his “witting” and “witty” attempt at disparaging an opponent. Let’s even assume for a while that truly the presidency is akin to football, Obi’s attempt was vacant of who he is in the world of football. Is he attempting to call himself a Kylian Mbappé? Or a Vinicius Junior? Or even a Neymar? He failed to let us know. However, it was not without a source as the man himself clearly knows that his analogy does not see him as better than the footballer he compared Tinubu with. He could not reel out which contemporary footballer he has similarities to because he knows where he belongs in the league of footballers that are considered fit and gracious in the round-leather game.

To help him, looking at his antecedents and the characters he has consistently arrayed to Nigerians over his political career, it won’t be far-fetched to draw a comparison between him and the Senegalese Ali Dia who hoaxed his way into the English Premier League and would later be found out to be a charlatan.

Dia, as the story goes, reportedly claimed to be George Weah’s cousin, hired someone to put a phone call put through to Graeme Souness, the then-coach of Southampton, making him believe it was Weah speaking to him and recommending Dia to the coach as a “good” footballer.

On the stock and weight of Weah’s recommendation, Souness decided to give the trickster Dia a chance in the team—a decision that never ended well as the first game Dia played for Southampton coming off the bench was horrific and raised questions amongst fans of the premier league on whether or not Dia was a footballer with his weird styles of play on the pitch.

He is regarded today as the worst-ever footballer to have played in the premier league as he never cut who a footballer should be from his skills, fitness and whatnot.

Obi is unequivocally in similarity to this Senegalese in our assumed instance of likening national leadership as Obi embarrassingly did to football. Dia never built his career on competence and sincerity. Rather than learning from the best, growing with the best, Dia just desperately wanted to be the best, mindless of jumping ropes to achieve his dreams. Unfortunately for him and for anyone who builds a career out of dupery and deception fuelled by desperation, he ended up with no achievement but that of being the most infamous player in the history of the premier league.

In the understanding of his mismatch in the league of Pele who was and still remains one of the best footballers to have ever played the game of football, Obi shied away from naming whom he is in the world of football knowing that when it comes to achievements he is way down the pecking order; when it comes to skill, he falls short of the standard, all of this Pele boasts of unlike the trickster, Dia.

And to properly school Obi, it is a national affront to liken the job of a president to that of footballers. Presidency goes way beyond that, higher and weightier than that; and even if at all, there is a part in football which presidency assumes, it will be that of management and coaching, not kicking balls.

  • Ademuyiwa Taofeek, the DG, ABAT Media Centre, writes from Abuja

Sodeeq Olaitan is a passionate blogger, and internet marketer.

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