Classical historians agree that there comes a time in the history of a people when man keeps time or a movement symbolizes communal aspirations for inclusive change.
Nigeria appears to be on the cusp of that accepted saying with the recent emergence of the ‘OBidient Movement’ and former Anambra Governor Peter Obi, Labor Party, LP presidential candidate, in the upcoming presidential election on February 25, 2023.
With a broken political system that promotes mediocrity and self-serving politicians in every election cycle, Nigeria’s fortunes hang in the balance on the eve of this year’s general elections: with 133 million of its 200 million people multidimensionally poor, tormented by insecurity of life and property on a daily basis, torn by mutual ethnic mistrust and worn down by anomie, Nigerians yearn for a viable political alternative that will provide them with a rope of hope they can cling to and find a way to bring back the light in their lives. shattered lives. by the failed promises of deceitful politicians.
It is in this context of a darkened country that the arrival of the ‘OBidient Movement’ and Obi find a place. In traditional Nigerian political parlance, Peter Obi is an Igbo, but the ‘OBidient Movement’ is not an Igbo business. Since May 2022, when he became the LP’s presidential candidate, he has grown in stature and is now seen by many Nigerians as a politician different from the prevailing status quo.
For promoting a new vision for real change, THEWILL editors unanimously selected Obi and the ‘OBidient Movement’ as our 2022 Person of the Year.
ENTER ‘OBIDIENT MOVEMENT’
Still upset by the aborted #EndSARs police reform protest in 2020, many young Nigerians who blamed the country’s abnormal system for what they perceived to be a brutal and hopelessly corrupt police force, found a comfortable platform with the ‘Obeyer Movement’ , drive your change of view in a broader political arena.
‘Obidient’, of course, is a figurative language of the youth chosen to express their uniqueness as dedicated followers of Obi and also a poetic tag that has found resonance with millions of Nigerian voters yearning for progressive change through voting for this year.
With members drawn from hundreds of support groups scattered across the country with no sympathy for the ethnic, religious and cultural faultlines and barriers that have always divided Nigerians at decisive moments in pursuing, planning and carrying out crucial issues of the nation, the ‘Obidient Movement’, has sparked hope for a better and brighter Nigerian future powered by the next generation.
The young men and women in the movement are “considered very strong-willed, independent-minded, and contemptuous of older politicians who they say have done nothing for them.”
According to comrade March Oyinki, president of one of the movement’s most formidable support groups based in the Central North and South South areas, “the ‘Obientes’ are fighting against principalities and powers that are stubbornly fighting and unwilling to give up. power for a popular incoming government championed by Peter Obi. This is the reality of the challenges that lie ahead.”
He added: “It is the responsibility of the ‘OBidient’ movement, as the true change agent to deliver the new Nigeria of our dream against all odds, to redouble its efforts to rescue the nation from the clutches of our oppressors.”
OBI AS A BEACON OF HOPE
As a measure of the impact he is having towards a new Nigeria through the 2023 polls, opinion polls and some Nigerian political boosters have thrown their weight behind his ambition. Successive opinion polls conducted by NOI Polls established by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, supported by Atedo NA Peterside, ANAP, Foundation, have placed Obi ahead of three other leading candidates, namely Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDPs); Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress, APC and Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria Peoples Party, NNPP, plus 14 other presidential candidates.
As of early September 2022, NOI polls rated Obi at 13 percent out of 10 percent each for Atiku and Tinubu and Kwankwaso at 6 percent. In a recent one published a fortnight ago, the margin increased to 23 percent, 13 percent, 18 percent, and 10 percent respectively.
As an indication of the national support LP receives due to Obi’s phenomenal growth with less than 60 days to go for the general vote, this is the reason stated by former Federation Government Secretary Babachir Lawal when his faction of Northern Christian leaders declared their support for Obi/Datti’s presidential candidacy:
“As one of the leading critics of APC’s unife presidential bid, and also in deference to those who patiently awaited our guidance on where to set up shop, after careful review and analysis of alternative presidential bids, I now wish to recommend the bid. Obi/Datti Presidential
This same point of view has led Middle Belt Forum leaders to support the Obi/Datti ticket, along with Ohanaeze Ndigbo, the Pan-Igbo cultural organization.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his relative, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, who have become fanatical supporters of Obi’s candidacy, jointly expressed Dame’s point of view recently at the funeral of the late First Republic Aviation Minister Mbazulike Amechi. .
Pa Adebanjo, leader of the southwestern socio-political group Afenifere, which has declared its support for Obi, told reporters that he and Obasanjo have put aside their differences to unite and support Obi’s ambition because the candidate symbolizes fairness, the justice and equity that Nigerians so badly need. to rebuild his country.
Speaking rhetorically on the matter, Obasanjo said at Amechi’s funeral on November 1, 2023; “What I believe and what Chief Ayo Adebanjo believes is not ethnic, sectional and religious. It’s Nigeria and Nigerians.
“When I go out and people thank me, I say: What are you thanking me for? I believe in equity, justice and one Nigeria. I have shed blood for this country. I’ve been to jail for this country, so what are you going to scare or threaten me with? The only thing my older brother, Adebanjo, hasn’t done is that he hasn’t shed his blood, but he has gone to jail. Let’s leave it that way”.
Obi, the man of the hour, sums it all up succinctly: “Let me tell you what Ayo Adebanjo and Afenifere represent today and what will shape the future of Nigeria. They stand for fairness, they stand for fairness, they stand for fairness and only fairness, fairness and fairness will be the foundation on which we will build a united Nigeria.”