By Jeffrey Guterman
April 22, (Newshour.com.ng) – I have been asked countless times why I support Peter Obi and why I am interested in Nigeria and its politics. So I have decided to write a brief article explaining all of this. Whenever I am asked these questions, I can now point people to this article.
In 2021, I began listening to and participating in international discussions on Twitter Spaces, an audio conferencing function on Twitter. This gave me an opportunity to expand my experiences and understandings outside of the United States. In particular, I resonated to discussions by Nigerians. I would often be asked and I am still asked why a white man is interested in Nigeria. Soon, Nigerians started attending the discussions that I broadcasted.
On June 5, 2022, I learned of the mass shooting at the St. Francis Xavier Catholic Church in Owo in Ondo State, Nigeria. I was mortified. I saw an image of congregants laying face down in pools of blood that I still cannot get out of my mind and I felt a deep compassion for Nigerians that I continue to experience.
After the church attack, I began looking closely at the upcoming presidential election in Nigeria. I researched the major candidates and it became obvious to me that Peter Obi was the only choice for a better Nigeria. Bola Ahmed Tinubu, candidate for the All Progressives Congress, is a drug lord. Atiku Abubakar, candidate for the People’s Democratic Party, laundered money. In contrast, Peter Obi, candidate for the Labour Party, has an exemplary educational background and he served as Governor of the Anambra State with competence. There are no flies on Peter Obi. He has a positive vision for Nigeria.
When asked my opinion about the Nigerian 2023 presidential election, I would say that Obi was the only choice. And then suddenly it happened. It felt like electricity shooting through my mind and body. I became obidient and I proudly announced on Twitter my allegiance to Peter Obi. Needless to say, I was overjoyed when Obi followed me on Twitter. In early July of 2022, I began hosting online discussions to support the campaign with other supporters of Obi. On August 30, 2022, I had the pleasure of meeting Peter Obi in Houston at his presentation “Active Engagement by Nigeria Diaspora in Capacity Building and Civic Leadership In Nigeria.”
Some people have asked what’s in all of this for me. My interest in Peter Obi has given me something bigger than myself — even bigger than Peter Obi — to believe in. I have developed close relationships with many Nigerians. I have found Nigerians to be among the nicest people. Nigerians are brilliant, creative, beautiful people. Regardless of what happens in the 2023 election, I will always treasure my Nigerian friends.
Jeffrey T. Guterman, Ph.D. is a mental health counselor in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.