The billionaire owner of 2 pairs of shoes who fuels Nigerian youth – Corriere.it

The billionaire owner of 2 pairs of shoes who fuels Nigerian youth – Corriere.it

Armchair for three: Yesterday in Nigeria, the shaking giant of Africa, 93 million voters (out of a population of 220 million, 100 million of whom are poor and half are under the age of 18) were called to elect a new president after eight long years. Muhammadu Buhari’s order is useless.

The son of an elementary school teacher

For the first time, among the contenders of the two parties that have been fighting for the presidency since 1999, an outsider appeared who was able to galvanize the disenchanted youth audience (half of the electorate is under 30): Peter Obi is “only” 61 years old. A billionaire with a degree in philosophy who prides himself on having a primary school teacher’s son and only two pairs of shoes in the closet.

Chaos at the polling stations

As always, voting was an exercise in near-quiet chaos: many of the 180,000 polling stations opened in the afternoon (after the theoretical closing time), and voter queues were until late in the evening: there were no ballots, as Many voters struggled to pay for public transportation due to the monetary crisis gripping the country, with old notes not being used and new ones in short supply). As always, it was supposed to be a match between two power dinosaurs: Bola Tinubu, 70, the former governor (nicknamed “the Godfather”) of Lagos, and the candidate of the ruling party (All Progressives Congress) and rival of the main opposition group (People’s Party). Democrat) Atiko Abu Bakr, 76 years old, 4 wives and 28 children. It was supposed to be the typical Nigerian story: a challenge between two groups represented by two old, wealthy politicians often accused (and never convicted) of corruption, two otters who made their money in oil (Nigeria being the first). Poor product in Africa) and with public-private business deals or scams typical of the Abuja ruling class. Familiar faces of two Muslim notables: Abu Bakr on his sixth presidential bid (the first in 92), the favored Tenebeau with a program and status «à la Buhari» (security and economic growth) and a personal cover (two links of chain-breaking), the only noteworthy thing in his electoral baggage .

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The frugal billionaire

Peter Opie, the third wheel, has shown baggage as frugal as his reputation: a billionaire philosophy graduate wealthy in an import business (from beans to champagne) who campaigned without a courier, lugging his suitcase. Obi proudly says he prefers the $200 suits to the $4,000 suits of other sports. Four years into his tenure as governor of Anambra state in the southeast, he hasn’t left the coffers in trouble (no small feat, not only in Nigeria). Opie is a proud father of two boys, one of whom is an elementary school teacher (a rarity in wealthy families). In recent months, he has been able to ignite the hopes of a growing wave of supporters especially among urban youth (who call themselves OBIdients). Igbo Christians urged people not to “vote along ethnic or religious lines. It is the skill that counts.”

Hope Chimamanda

Writer Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie is delighted with him. “Never in our history has there been such a beautiful breath of hope.” Opinion polls are not reliable. A ballot can be made among the first secret. In five days, we’ll know if the billionaire with two pairs of shoes continues his journey.

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