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Doyin Okupe’s resignation: Labour Party has shown the way, By Isaac N Obasi

Dr. Doyin Okupe

The resignation of Dr. Doyin Okupe as the Director-General of the Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council is a good and exemplary one, as it goes to demonstrate that the party and its “Obidient Movement” are committed to their avowed mission of changing the prevailing behavioural landscape of the Nigerian reactionary, retrogressive and corrupt political system. It is this system that turned Nigeria once regarded as the giant of Africa into a cripple. By this resignation, Dr. Okupe and the party have demonstrated unequivocally that the promise of transformational leadership which its flag bearer Mr. Peter Obi is anchoring his campaign manifesto, is possible and not just a political campaign gimmick. By his resignation, action has spoken louder than words in the Nigerian political landscape. This is a big plus for the Labour Party.

The Labour Party has indeed shown the way for a new political culture to begin to emerge. In our system, Nigerian politicians accused of corruption, and/or are facing corruption charges in court or even found culpable in the court of public opinion, hardly resign honourably. Resigning honourably, is a practice that is so scarce in Nigeria, as many politicians despise such, hence the popular saying that “Nigerian politicians have no shame.” By his resignation therefore, Dr. Okupe has properly situated himself as a leading light of the “Obidient Movement” pushing for radical behavioural change in our national political culture. Nigerians are looking forward to seeing more of such politicians after the 2023 general elections. Indeed, Nigeria badly needs a new political culture that sanitises the behaviour of politicians in our prevailing political system.   

It is the lack of shame that has made many Nigerian politicians to parade themselves as political saints even when their openly known acts of corruption are stinking to high heavens. For example, they find it very difficult to resign their appointments even when everyone knows that they have lost the morality to continue to hold political office. Again for instance, some former governors who are known to have looted their states’ treasury are sitting comfortably in the Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and offering at best rubber stamp value in making laws that govern us all. They have used all manner of tricks to evade justice because many of those who should prosecute them are themselves not clean. This is how bad the political culture of corruption has eaten deep into the fabric of our political system.

It would be recalled that Dr. Doyin Okupe was on Monday, December 19, 2022 found guilty of breaching the Money Laundering Act and therefore sentenced to two years in prison, with an option of paying a fine of N13m. Dr. Okupe was able to pay the fine within the stipulated deadline on the same day and thereby escaped going to prison.

Although it is not necessary for now to go into the details of the issues involved in this widely known case of collecting money from the former National Security Adviser, Col. Sambo Dasuki which occurred during the administration of President Goodluck Jonathan, but it is important to point out that selective justice in prosecuting those involved, has been the rule rather than the exception. Out of the many politicians who were implicated and listed in our national dailies to have collected huge sums of money from the former National Security Adviser for purposes that are not too transparent, only a couple of them have been tried and convicted in circumstances that appear to be politically motivated. But more importantly, the corrupt modus operandi of the old generation politicians are well known and many Nigerians are now tired of such. This is the major reason why the campaign message of the Labour Party resonates with many Nigerians whose eyes are now wide open and have risen above ethnic and religious manipulations of old generation politicians. 

There are many questions that could be raised on Dr. Okupe’s political past arising from this conviction issue. Many would for instance not be surprised at what has happened after all, he is from this old, corrupt and discredited political stock and therefore do not expect anything different. However, Labour party supporters would answer that yes he came from this old stock and was a key player also, but now represents something different. They would go further to argue that he is now serving as a vanguard of a new political order. This is why his resignation as Director-General of the Presidential Campaign Council of the party makes much sense and falls in line with the new vision and expectation of their teaming supporters. Another question is on whether Dr. Okupe is a pretender or hypocrite in the envisaged new order? Supporters would also reply that he is not, as he appears more of a repented politician of the old corrupt order who now wants a changed and prosperous Nigeria which the old order has for long kept down. 

Going by all that Dr. Okupe has been doing and saying since he joined forces with Mr. Peter Obi to rescue Nigeria from its corruption-ridden system, many people are prepared to give him the benefit of the doubt. Consequently, his resignation is in line with expectations of those in the “Obidient Movement.” This movement from what we can see wants a transformed Nigeria where justice and equity would reign in the implementation of its national development agenda. This is what I think Dr. Doyin Okupe represents presently, and like St. Paul (in the Acts of the Apostle of the Holy Bible), Dr. Okupe is a converted politician from the old order. And for those who are in the Movement and have not really converted, they are in a wrong political party. This is because the expectations of the “Obidients” and even “non-Obidients would make it impossible for them to use the transformational platform of the Labour party to transact their retrogressive and corrupt political business.  

There are many things that Mr. Peter Obi has been saying which resonate with the expectations of Nigerians. One of such can be exemplified in the following latest quotation of his while on a campaign visit to Akwa Ibom State early this week. In answer to a question touching on the “sins” of the old generation politicians, he said:            

“The structure they have today is the structure we want to destroy. It is the structure of criminality. It is structure that produced 133 million people living in poverty… It is the structure that produced 20 million out-of-school children. 

“It is the structure that has made Nigeria surpass India in infant mortality. It is the structure that will destroy Nigeria and we want to destroy that structure” (See Pilot News, December 20, 2022 via:https://www.westafricanpilotnews.com/2022/12/20/peter-obi-explains-why-he-wants-to-dismantle-existing-political-structure/.

Those who want Nigeria to remain perpetually down can continue to talk about structures which is part of what they use in pocketing our collective resources to the detriment of majority of Nigerians. The old generation politicians have looted and kept looting Nigeria’s wealth and care less for the lives of many Nigerians. This is why 133 million Nigerians are in poverty and this is also why the universities (among many other areas of national needs) are poorly funded.  

Prof. Obasi can be reached via his email: [email protected]

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