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The Peter Obi Challenge: ‘Obidients’ vs ‘DisObidients’

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By Eric Elezuo

The way the pre-campaign awareness for the 2023 Presidential Election is going presently, it appears the next election is set to split the candidates along ethnic lines.

For the first time since the days of Alhaji Shehu Shagari, Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and Chief Obafemi Awolowo in the Second Republic, Nigerians are once again faced with the unenviable assignment of selecting a president among three prominent personalities, each representing the three major tribes of the country, vis a vis Hausa/Fulani, Igbo and Yoruba. The candidates are Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP) and Asiwaju Bola Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).

As a result, as it stands, and from all available statistics, Nigerians are set to again vote along ethnic lines as fireworks from the supporters of the candidates, who have apportioned appellations to themselves, are flying in different directions, striking anyone who stands in their way. While the Tinubu camp says they are Beatified, the Atiku team claim Articulated and Peter Obi supporters hold on to Obidients as their means of identification. These appellations has become a verifiable means of knowing the origin of most personality and system attacks.

But among the three Frontline camps, the Obidients of Mr. Peter Obi seems to be the most vocal, especially on social media platforms as they boast of very young people, who are up and mobile, and have greater access to social media handles.

The Peter Obi (supporters) ‘obidients’ have laid more vocal claim to the presidency, arguing that their candidate has a better agenda for Nigerians, relying on the candidate’s promise of taking back Nigeria and giving it back to the youths. This has made it easy for youths, cutting across creed, who lament marginalisation, to identify with the group, much touted as a movement. The group has however, been accused of intolerance, unaccommodating and in most cases violent, by members of the batified and aticulated, most of whom has responded albeit violently as well.

But as it is, the fight has been narrowed between the ‘Obidients’ and a collection of everyone not under the Obidients umbrella, and better classified as ‘disobidients’. This group can also refer to the Batified and Atikulated.

Though none of the candidates can boast of hundred percent votes of their ethnic groups, the candidate, Peter Obi, has continued to encounter and throw up challenges that seem to put not only his rivals on their feet, but also give the generality of Nigerians a thorough sense of competition, and an opportunity to chart a new course and depart from the old ways. But Obi is facing more challenges as regards his candidature, and so are his Obidients. Among Obi’s challenges are the claims that he is an offshoot of the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra (IPOB), and that he is clamouring to actualize the Biafran mandate. This claim has been propounded and portrayed by no less individuals in the society including Mr Sam Omatseye, chairman, editorial board of the Nation Newspaper, owned one of the candidates, Bola Tinubu, in a lampoon he titled Obi-tuary; Reno Omokri, a former aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan and Segun Awosanya, also known as Segalink among others.

Peter Obi is also facing the challenge of being dismissed as running to become an Igbo president by a cross section of persons, who are miffed by his candidature, and the quantum of followership he has amassed within a short period, especially in the social media.

But the major challenge before him is the fact that most of the prominent politicians of Igbo extract are yet to queue behind him in the quest to defeat the two other heavyweights, and wrestle the presidency from the APC-led government.

Speaking in one of the interviews he granted a television station, a former Chairman of the PDP, Anambra State chapter, Dan Ulasi, dismissed Peter Obi’s chances of winning the election, arguing that Obi’s candidature will open up avenue for Tinubu to carry the day.

Ulasi reasoned that as at the present, no prominent Igbo man has identified with Obi and his cause because they believe it is not worth it. He mocked Obi, saying he has no plans to win the votes of the northerners since only the votes of the southeast cannot make him win the election, more so, as the Labour Party failed woefully in the just concluded Osun governorship election

Ulasi said: “The danger of what he is doing is that if our people accept to vote for him, it is equivalent to voting for Tinubu…because to touch a core part of PDP which is the South-East, and they vote for Peter Obi. If there is no way that vote leads us to victory, it is an advantage for Tinubu to win. I don’t see the hard core of APC where it is going to touch. The first election happened in Osun, they failed woefully. The vote you will get in Lagos will be core Ibo votes. They may be up to 20-25 percent. You can mark today’s date and see what the Yorubas will do when it’s time to vote because it is becoming tribal, and every group is now defending their person. If we assume we will defend Peter, where would it lead us to? We would be removed more from the government. We will not be part of the system. But in PDP, not only is Atiku positive for us, he has married an Ibo woman, who has about 4 or 5 children for him. And there is an adage in Ibo land that says ‘your in-law is your god’. This means that once you marry a woman from Ibo land, you are part of us. Also, he has a vice-presidential candidate who is a brilliant medical doctor, a former senator; from Asaba who is a core Ibo boy.

“My people say if your cow is running away, at least if it’s the tail you caught, cut it and hold it. This will tell you; that you still have part of the cow. Looking at APC, we have no touching point at all.

“I spoke to about three governors before coming to Abuja, and I told them that for the sake of our people, they (the five Igbo governors) should call Peter Obi to a meeting, and let him reveal the things he knows that we don’t know. He should explain how he will use our votes to get the vote of other parts of the world to win. And I am asking our 15 Senators from the East to call Peter Obi, and let him tell us how he will win. This is not about personal. Presidency is not a personal issue.”

It is therefore obvious that much as Nigerians may likely vote along ethnic, or religious lines, the battle line is drawn between between the Obidients and the rest of the voters, otherwise unofficially known as disobidients. It is basically a race between those that prefer Peter Obi and those that do not.

But one thing is imperative; the campaigns, programmed to commenced in September, will surely prop up issues and merits under which each each candidate will be sold to the Nigerian voting public.

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Ebonyi Rally: Atiku Reiterates Commitment to Restructuring, Devolution, Says APC Deceitful

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Former Vice President of Nigeria and presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Thursday, pledged his total commitment to power devolution and restructuring if elected the president, next month.

Atiku spoke while addressing a mammoth crowd of PDP supporters at Pa Ngele Oruta township stadium Abakaliki, Ebonyi State capital.

While noting that the people of the South-East zone, had been clamouring for restructuring to enable them have more powers to deal with their local affairs, the presidential hopeful assured the people that restructuring and devolution of power would be a major policy of his administration.

He described the rulling All Progressives Congress (APC) as a deceitful alliance and not a political party, even as he claimed the alliance that brought APC had collapsed.

He said the APC promised to restructure the Nigeria but failed to do so.

Atiku said: “I am committed to power devolution and restructuring. All the South Eastern states have been yearning and have been propagating for restructuring of this country because they want to have more powers, more resources to deal with their own local affairs. We agree entirely and that is why it is a major policy of our government, if you support us and if you give us the opportunity.

“APC had promised the same. Did they do it? They abandoned the issue of restructuring, they are very deceitful alliance, very deceitful.

We are committed and we mean what we say and if you give us the support, we will deliver.

They said some people formed a party, it is not a party. It is an alliance and the alliance is collapsing and it has collapsed”.

He promised to empower women and youths to take over power from old politicians if given the mandate to be president of the country.

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Niger Delta Will Benefit from Our Resource Control Agenda – Atiku

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Presidential Candidate of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, on Tuesday said if voted into office, his administration would change the security architecture in the country and grow the economy.

He gave the assurance at the party’s Presidential Campaign in Delta held at the Stephen Keshi Stadium, Asaba.

Abubakar said that between 1999 and 2015, PDP grew Nigeria’s economy and made it the largest in Africa, but that the All Progressives Congress (APC) destroyed it with its inept leadership.

He said that with adequate security and right economic policies, a PDP administration led by him would attract Foreign Direct Investment that would grow the nation’s economy, adding that the security of the country was paramount because no nation could develop without security.

He told Deltans that the team was not in the state to campaign, saying “we are here to show our gratitude and appreciation to say that we are with you in all respects because of the support we have received from you from 1999 to date.
“All through my political journey, Delta state has always supported me and I want to promise you that I shall not betray the trust of Delta and the entire Niger Delta.

“That is why in my modest appreciation, I chose one of you as my vice presidential candidate and you know that a running mate is always a stepping stone.

“Therefore it is up to you to show your support by giving Governor Okowa the massive support to enable us to rescue and rebuild our dear country.”

On his policy document, the PDP Presidential flag bearer stated that his administration would pay attention to developing the education sector, and promised that under his watch, strikes by members of Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU) would be eradicated.

“The Niger Delta and other parts of the country will benefit from our resource control and restructuring agenda because it is our intention to devolve more powers to the states and local governments to tackle peculiar challenges facing the people.

“The APC government has disunited Nigeria in all aspects and it is our commitment to restore the unity of this country by ensuring that every part of this country has a sense of belonging.

“You must believe in PDP because as a party we built the biggest economy in Africa until the APC came and destroyed it in 2015.
“Why vote for the same party that has suffered us in the last seven years plus? Let us vote them out to unite and rebuild our country again,” he said.

The Vice-Presidential Candidate of the party and Governor of Delta, Sen. (Dr) Ifeanyi Okowa, said that Atiku knew how to address the socio-economic challenges bedevilling the country and urged the people to vote for the party.
According to him, we all know that the APC-led Federal Government brought poverty to the nation; they destroyed our economy to the extent that Nigerians are now hungry, without food to eat.

“How can a bag of rice be sold for almost N50, 000? It is only Atiku that can solve the problems in the country because when the PDP took over the reins of power in 1999, Atiku and Obasanjo were able to restore the nation’s lost glory.

“Atiku has assured Nigerians that he will revive the economy of the country and reposition it for optimum productivity in all sectors of the Nigerian economy.

“For over 20 years, Atiku has been advocating for the restructuring of Nigeria where states and local governments will get more money that will stimulate growth and development and this is what we want in the Niger Delta.

“Atiku has also promised that his administration, if elected, will put in place a constitutional framework that will enable states to have State Police so as to stem the tide of insecurity in the country.

“Atiku is an experienced politician that has the capacity and pedigree to reset the country and I call on all eligible voters in the state to ensure that they have their PVCs to enable them vote in the forthcoming general elections,” Okowa stated.

National Chairman of the party, Dr Iyorchia Ayu, on his part, congratulated Deltans for the choice of Okowa as Vice-Presidential Candidate and lauded previous governors of the state for their contributions to the growth and development of the state.

He called on sons and daughters of the state to vote massively for all PDP candidates in the general elections.

The rally was attended by former Vice-President, Namadi Sambo, former President of the Senate, Dr Bukola Saraki; Governors Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State, Udom Emmanuel of Akwa-Ibom, Godwin Obaseki of Edo, Douye Diri of Bayelsa and Ahmadu Fintiri of Adamawa.

Earlier, Atiku Abubakar had held a meeting with traditional rulers in Delta, at their Secretariat in Asaba, and assured that if elected, he would ensure that clear constitutional roles were given to monarchs in the country.

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Atiku Campaigns in Bayelsa, Promises Devolution of Power, Restructuring

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The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, has promised the Niger Delta people that his administration will devolve powers from the centre and restructure Nigeria if elected.

Atiku, who spoke at the campaign rally of the PDP in Yenagoa, Bayelsa State, on Monday, noted that the people of the region had been clamouring for resource control and the restructuring of the country and that his government, when elected, would accede to their demands.

He reiterated the implementation of his five-point developmental agenda for the nation, which he listed as the unification of the country, tackling insecurity, the economy, ending the strike in universities, and restructuring.

He said, “I promised to tackle insecurity. Here in Bayelsa State, you have faced a number of security challenges. You have lost so many people due to breaches of law and order. I promise I will restore security in this country.

“We proposed to restructure this country. You people in the Niger Delta need more restructuring than any other part of this country. We will give you more resources and more powers to deal with your problems. You don’t have to always start begging the Federal Government.”

In his remarks, the Bayelsa State Governor, Douye Diri, said Atiku was the only presidential candidate who had pledged to give the Ijaw people, and indeed the Niger Delta, restructuring.

Diri said partly, “Now, the only candidate who has keyed in and who has talked about what the Ijaw people want and what the people of Bayelsa want is Atiku; we have been talking about: resource control, Atiku is the only candidate that has talked about the restructuring of this country. Therefore, Atiku and the PDP are the only candidates and parties for which the Ijaw people will vote.”

Also speaking, the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and governor of Delta State, Ifeanyi Okowa, called on the people of Bayelsa State to give the party no fewer than 700,000 votes, while the geopolitical zone should deliver at least five million votes for the PDP at the presidential polls.

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