Peter Obi’s greatest strength is what he lacks — fixed structure — By Emeka Ugwuonye4 min read
I have read almost everywhere as people predict that Peter Obi would lose in the elections because he lacked structure. I think they are wrong. In fact, I predict that if Peter Obi wins, it will be because he had no structure. Structure is not always good. Sometimes it is a huge liability. Structure provides you a fixed shape and form and you need it for protection. But also, structure and form hinder fluidity. You need to be fluid so you can move with speed. To be structureless or formless is actually an advantage. It is helping Peter Obi today. In this brief analysis, I will show you how lack of structure has helped Peter Obi. In fact, he is about to win big just because he lacks structure. At the same time, I will show you that Tinubu and Atiku are suffering badly and will likely lose to Obi because the two are slowed down and burdened by the structures they are confined in.
In nature, as in politics, structure acts like a shield of protection. It insulates you from certain problems. It ensures that you have a vast source of funding. It ensures you have a network of structured and predictable source of support for mobilization, rules and settled order you need to regulate many competing interests within your party. It ensures that you have some institutions working for you because your people are in charge of such institution. So, structure acts like a shell that protects you, just like the shell that protects the tortoise. It is difficult for predators to chew tortoise. Lions and tigers and leopards and large snakes can’t devour tortoise because it has impenetrable armor of shell. That is the structure that protects the tortoise. But this shell also imposes a huge cost on tortoise. And quite often the shell becomes a prison for the animal it protects. Have you seen a tortoise that accidentally turns over on its back? It is impossible for such tortoise to roll over back on its feet. Its shell cannot allow it roll over and reposition itself. Now, can you imagine the tortoise trying to escape from a burning bush? It is impossible. The shell that protects it also slows it down. Look at everywhere: you will see that animals with protective shells (structure) are slow. On the other hand, animals without shell are fast and nimble.
Today, Tinubu and Atiku belong to parties with structures. But the structures of their parties have become their greatest undoing. Look at Tinubu. The structure of his party forced him into the calculations that resulted in a Muslim-Muslim ticket, which has become his greatest setback. Look at Atiku: the structure of PDP forced him into rejecting Wike as his Vice President and that decision has continued to threaten his chances. Compare them with Peter Obi, who has no such structure. Peter Obi is fast and nimble. He is fluid and formless. Like water, he can pass through any space. Nothing stops water from maintaining its level because water is fluid and formless. Peter Obi can go anywhere, meet any group, go to a church, go to a mosque, visit PDP Governors and APC Governors. He doesn’t have to hire imams. He is formless. That is because he is not burdened by structures. He is free and he needs to be free and unrestrained in order to win. That is his winning strategy.
On the general lessons on power and success, we are taught the importance of fluidity and formlessness. In the 48 Laws of Power, Robert Greene put it this way:
“By taking a shape (form), by having a visible plan (structures), you open yourself to attack. Instead of taking a form for your enemies to grasp, keep yourself adaptable and on the move (Obi’s greatest weapon)…”
Greene further to state:
“In the evolution of species, protective armor has almost always spelled disaster. Although there are a few exceptions, a shell most often becomes a dead end for the animal encased in it; it slows the creature down, making it hard for it forage for food and making it a target for fast moving predators. Animals that take to the sea or sky, and that move swiftly and unpredictably, are infinitely more powerful and secure”.
I liken the party structures of PDP and APC as shells constraining, restraining and encasing their candidates. The fact that Obi does not have such structures is a plus and source of strategic strength for him. Indeed, Obi escaped from PDP structure to breath free and once free from that structure he became hundred times bigger than before. After seeing what happened at the Dunamis Church when Obi appeared, it became clear that Obi will win the popular votes. What we are wondering now is the margin of victory. Obi’s presence in the coming election has changed Nigerian politics forever. Things will never be the same again. His is a high mobility politics that has galvanized the electorates like never before.