The presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, has faced widespread criticism and mockery over his comments about Nigeria’s non-participation at the forthcoming football World Cup in Qatar.
Speaking at a poorly-attended political rally in Nasarawa State, the former Anambra Governor drew an unrelated parallel between the country’s population and its football prowess, leading many Nigerians to question his understanding of sports in particular, and governance in general.
Obi was in Nasarawa earlier today to attempt to revive support for his unlikely presidential bid after repeated controversies, including financial scandals over the management of donations and his poor defence of a lack of governance manifesto, drained support for the campaign, including among his core base of some young Nigerians.
Whilst addressing the scanty crowd that gathered, he expressed dismay at the country’s failure to qualify for the World Cup despite possessing a population of over 200 million people, a parallel which according to many revealed his ignorance about the peculiarities of sports and why any nation’s population figures does not necessarily imply expertise.
“I assure you, a country like Nigeria, a country of 200 million people did not qualify for World Cup. How can they play World Cup without Nigeria,” Obi said.
In reaction, Don DD who tweets via the handle @Doysol_ said: “The more he speaks, the less he inspires.”
Ismaeel Adam with the Twitter handle @Aismerh said: “India and China with a billion population didn’t also qualify,” apparently questioning the logic of tying a country’s footballing – and indeed sport – outcomes to its population strength.
Igbomina with the handle @Optimistic_Ade demanded to know Obi’s record in the sports sector during his two-term tenure as the Governor of Anambra State with a comment that read: “Since Peter Obi has used football as his campaign point in Nasarawa, so we should also ask him to tell us success Anambra recorded in football at the national level when he was the Governor. Did any football club from Anambra win the Nigerian Premier League btw 2007-2014?”
Meanwhile, the candidate also showed signs of fatigue, with several images showing him dozing off during an event making the rounds on the internet.
Obi seeks to brand himself as the country’s political third force, although that image has been undermined by the emergence of a better-followed and more prepared politician in Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso, the former Kano Governor whose run on the NNPP platform has excited segments of the northern population, amid reports that he could be joining forces with the APC to aid the emergence of Bola Tinubu.