What is it about Peter Obi? No, let me put it this way: that spirit-lifting scene where we saw Nigerians – young and old, small and big, Christians and Muslims, Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Idoma, Kanuri Gwaris, Beroms, Efik, etc – spiriting goods away from burning NEXT CASH & CARRY, Abuja, edifice to safety rather than to their homes (looting), was that because of Peter Obi (who is among the owners of NEXT)? Or had we just been handed the true character of Nigerians as a people (which had hitherto remained largely unexpressed), namely, that a mishmash of nationalities with diverse cultural and religious orientations could actually live together in goodwill to, and love of one another?
In other climes, including the more advanced countries of the world, what we have seen over and over again is that folks help themselves, with so much gusto, to goods from burning superstores – whether it’s in Los Angeles or Johannesburg. And it’s because we were used to such sights that when we saw folks spiritedly risking their limbs to remove goods from burning NEXT CASH & CARRY stores, Abuja, we cried that looting was in full swing.
But, as it turned out, folks, obviously moved by pity for owners of the business and umbrage at the public institutions whose combined failures must have led to the inferno in the first place, were only taking those goods out to safety at the foregrounds of the sprawling NEXT CASH & CARRY, Abuja premises. It was such a moving sight: from dishwashers, fridges to plasma TV, goods rescued by folks, who would have simply carted them home in other places, were neatly packed and secured at a safe distance from the burning edifice for the owners of the troubled business! Where else in the world has this ever happened?
And so, I ask: Did looting not happen at burning NEXT CASH & CARRY, Abuja, because folks didn’t want to hurt Peter Obi, an open-book kind of person, seen by many as a transparency-preaching and exemplifying politician, or because folks here, despite all the economic hardships in town, are simply too conscientious to loot distressed businesses such as the burning Next superstores?
Whatever be the case, one thing seems clear to me: Peter Obi has positive aura aplenty and it may well be good for Nigeria.