• Thursday, July 25, 2024
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BusinessDay

Peter Obi, Obidients are on the right path

Peter Obi, Obidients are on the right path

Mr. Peter Gregory Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, is not an unknown political quantity. It was he, who used the judicial means to retrieve his stolen political mandate, and went ahead to rule Anambra State for eight years, recording unprecedented giant strides in diverse areas like education, agriculture, security, economy, infrastructural development, and others. His belief that he possesses leadership qualities, probity, fealty, political cum economic ideologies, and courage motivated him to contest Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election.

And it was on the political platform of the Labour Party that he vied for the most exalted political diadem in Nigeria in February 2023 after he had defected from the troubled PDP. His membership of the Labour Party caused that political party to undergo positive metamorphosis: it transformed from being a small and unpopular political party to being a big and popular political party.

Peter Obi was able to wrought that change in the Labour Party owing to his achievements in the area of political leadership and his possession of charisma, knowledge, moral scruples, political cum economic ideologies, political vision and sagacity, and courage.

More so, before the conduct of our 2023 presidential election, Mr. Peter Obi’s rhetoric and electioneering speeches found resonance with millions of Nigerians, especially the youthful demographic of the population. Those young Nigerians, who are disillusioned, dispossessed, and disenchanted with the ugly status quo ante in Nigeria, perceive Mr. Peter Obi as an anti-thesis and foil character of the quintessential Nigerian politicians, who are corrupt, unscrupulous, unknowledgeable, and unpatriotic.

While other presidential candidates utilized the factors of money, religion, and ethnicity to woo the people, Peter Obi, who is passionate about re-making Nigeria, espoused his plans about transforming our economy from being consumptive to being productive. And it is evident to us that he is not predisposed to condoning any acts of corruption, which will be committed by politicians if the baton of leadership is thrust in his hands.

So the army of obidients- the followers of Mr. Peter Obi- came into being owing to the people’s disillusionment and disenchantment with the lackluster, uninspiring, visionless, and punitive government of President Muhammadu Buhari. But those dispossessed and underprivileged Nigerians repose trust in Mr. Peter Obi. And they believe that he is the political Messiah, who can right the wrongs in our body politic and set our country on the path of irreversible and sustainable economic and technological development.

But the obidients have been described as an irreverent, violent, and unthinking horde of young people, who are given to impulsive actions. And it is said that the obidients are intolerant of opinions that are critical of Mr. Peter Obi, that they are uncouth, and that they have fascist tendencies. Those unflattering characterizations and portrayals of the obidients are not wholly true, though they have their failings, failures, and shortcomings.

But the fact is this, members of the obidient movement want a change for the better in Nigeria. And they have stood solidly behind Mr. Peter Obi in the aftermath of the 2023 presidential election, which was deeply flawed, because Mr. Peter Obi is symbolic of the change they earnestly desire. They have made condemnatory comments regarding that presidential election, which was characterized by massive rigging. Both foreign and local election observer teams gave thumbs down to the presidential election, too, because it didn’t pass muster. And it fell far below the acceptable global standards.

So have Mr. Peter Obi, and his running mate, Baba Ahmed-Datti, done any wrong by criticising and faulting the electoral processes that threw up Bola Ahmed Tinubu as the winner of the Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election? They have done no wrong. Rather, they are exercising their right to the freedom of expression, an inalienable fundamental human right, which is enshrined in our constitution.

That is why the punishment meted out to the television station that granted an interview to Baba Ahmed-Datti should be condemned. That action of our government is emblematic of the doings of a fascist government. And it is unbecoming of a government that brands itself a democratic government to engage in deeds that are aimed at muzzling the voices of dissent. So what is happening in Nigeria now is a throwback to happenings during the dark days of the Sani Abacha era.

And it is saddening that the APC panjandrums, who hold the levers of government, cannot make a distinction between comments that border on treasonous offences and the ones that do not border on treasonable felony. So the APC attack dogs like Bayo Onanuga, Festus Keyamo, Dele Alake, and others have gone for broke, framing Mr. Peter Obi and Baba Ahmed-Datti for treasonable felony offence. And they are relentlessly dishing out falsehoods to the people so as to present the duo in bad light and bring them to the obloquy.

Read also: We’re ready for debate – Obi-Datti movement replies Soyinka

But it should be noted that when the Abacha junta maintained an asphyxiating stranglehold on us, the activists at that time- Bayo Onanuga included- fought Sani Abacha with everything in their arsenal. Thankfully, today, the military had returned to the barracks. And we have been enjoying democratic governance, uninterruptedly, for twenty four years.

But it is inconceivable, incredible, and ironic that some of those activists of yore, who made names for themselves by fighting the Abacha military junta are, today, defending the 2023 presidential election, which was characterized by violence and electoral malpractice. So I would like us to answer these pertinent questions: are those asserting that the Nigeria’s 2023 presidential election was free and fair true democrats and activists? Or are they pretentious and hypocritical myrmidons, who are motivated and swayed by pecuniary, religious, and ethnic considerations?

In conclusion, I would like to state it emphatically that members of the obidient movement are not fascists, as they are alleged to be; neither are they the unruly partisans people are making them out to be. Rather, they are the disgruntled and dispossessed Nigerians, who are short-changed in our scheme of things. That’s why they are fighting to reclaim their country from the jaws of destruction and underdevelopment.

So Mr peter Obi, Baba Ahmed-Datti, and the obidients are doing the right thing, which every patriotic Nigerian ought to do. They are on the right path; and they deserve commendations, and not condemnations.