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Who Are These ‘Obidients’? By Femi Fani-Kayode

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Let me make this clear from the outset. I am a member of the APC and a supporter of Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

This contribution does not in any way derogate from that and my analysis is more of an academic and intellectual exercise than anything else.

I am NOT a supporter of Peter Obi and I have NO intention of becoming one. I am however interested on what his supporters represent and stand for and that is the subject of this essay.

They are worthy of my attention only because their rise and relevance in the political configuration of our nation, just in a matter of weeks, is meteoric and phenomenal.

In order to counter and defeat them or to keep them in their place we must at least attempt to understand them and figure out how their minds work.

The following are my findings.

Those that are the supporters of Peter Obi, the Labour Party presidential candidate, are known as ‘Obidients’ and they are EVERYWHERE.

Those of us in the larger political parties like the ruling APC and the opposition PDP, treat them with contempt and ignore them at our own peril.

The truth is that they are far more dangerous to our collective cause as a ruling class than many of us can possibly conceive or appreciate.

Only the discerning can appreciate this and know precisely where this whole thing may be heading.

They may not have structures or elected representatives in the legislative and executive arms of Government but they have IDEAS and VISION coupled with a clear ideological and philosophical bent which can and will endure for far longer than mere political platforms and structures.

Unknown to them as well as virtually everyone else, therein lies their power. As they say, an idea whose time has come cannot be stopped.

Long after we are all gone they will still be here because structures and political alliances rarely endure but IDEAS and VISION last forever.

Again they will outlive and outlast us all because they are not a political party in the true sense of the word but rather a growing national movement which scales and spreads across ethnic, religious, political and regional lines and traditional boundaries.

They also represent a generational and paradigm shift which is increasingly attractive to many and they are bound tightly together by a common purpose, common cause and common objective: namely to rid Nigeria of the old order and usher in the new.

That is really what they want to do and that is the primary and strongest source of their inspiration and motivation.

They are far more dangerous to what the French describe as the ‘Ancien Regime’, the old political class and the entire system itself than anything we have ever seen before because most of them, bar their leader and a small handful of political tried and tested veterans and old war horses around him, are NOT politicians and have never ventured anywhere near the political arena or the circles of power.

In the main they are an innovatively aggressive and frightful array and association of angry and determined young men and women who clearly have the courage of their convictions coupled with the audacity, fury, daring, rage and firm resolve of those that were involved in the Endsars protesters and the fiery foot soldiers that effected the 1917 Russian Bolshevik revolution led by Vladimir Iliyich Lenin.

There is also something Rawlingesque and intimidating about them.

That is to say they are like the late, great and mighty son of Africa and leader of Ghana, President Jerry Rawlings, who also led a successful revolution in his country in 1979 and who, on his second coming in 1981 when he toppled yet another Government said, “if there is no justice there can be no peace!”

That is the spirit that is in the Obidients and that is what moves them.

Yet though they do not like to hear it their chances of winning the presidential election next year, short of a miracle, are very slim and deep down they all know it even if they refuse to publicly acknowledge it.

Despite that they are determined to fight to the end, hope for the best, work hard and give it their best shot and, of course, therein lies their victory.

In this game courage is the key. As they say, ‘he who dares wins’. Again as they say, ‘fortune favours the bold’ and these young people are both daring and bold.

That they can challenge the status quo and vie for the sacred and awesome power that has been shared by the two major political parties or their ancestral variants over the last 62 years is commendable in itself. I am not part of them but I certainly commend and applaud their efforts.

They too have a right to fight for their rights and future and to be heard. They too have a dream and a story to tell and we must never begrudge them that.

Yet if the truth be told they are not only interested in winning an election but, perhaps even more importantly, they are interested in making a profound and defiant statement, registering their protest against the status quo and the powers that be and triggering and engendering a full scale, comprehensive and all-embracing social, cultural and political revolution.

They want a real and fundamental change and not a fake one. They want to pull the whole house and system down with everyone in it and rebuild a new one in their own image, with their own values and on their own terms.

Most important of all they want to see the back of those of us that are in any way associated with the old order or that have been in Government or the corridors of power at ANY point in time over the last 62 years.

That desire and sentiment is the force that is driving and propelling them and that is kindling their fire and swelling their ranks.

They are like the Robspiers and the Marats of the bloody French revolution between 1789 and 1799 whose battle cry was “liberty, equality and fraternity”, who brought an end to the French monarchy, Royal family and nobility, chopped off their heads and established a proud and strong new order and proud Republic.

Like Robspier’s tiny cabal of French revolutionaries they are led by a small cell of intellectual and idealistic hardliners and are bolstered, girded and supported by a volatile, massive and increasingly dangerous support group and power base who threaten violence and hurl insults at their perceived detractors at the drop of a hat and as a consequence of years of pent up anger and frustration.

If they ever get power many heads will role and many of today’s and yesterday’s leaders will run into exile or go into hiding.

This is especially so of those who have something to hide or who have skeletons in their cupboards.

That is what makes them so threatening and I repeat, those of us that are in the larger political parties or that are members of the existing and ancient ruling class underestimate them, ignore them and display disdain for their firm resolve and rising anger at our own peril.

Most of my political associates, friends and colleagues across party lines tend to dismiss them with contempt.

They regard them as being inconsequential and argue that they only exist on social media. I beg to differ. I see them in the streets and I see them in the Churches.

I see them amongst my staff and amongst those that regard themselves as being amongst the oppressed and downtrodden. I see them amongst the professionals and those that are bankers, lawyers, doctors and artists.

I see them in the North, West, East and South. I see them everywhere and not only on social media.

I see them as being a very powerful and potent rising force which, if properly managed, will develop into a major political power over the next few years with a strong ideological and electoral foundation and massive structures.

That is the potential that they have and that is how dangerous they can be.

The sooner those of us that are in the larger political parties get off our high horses, display a little humility, try and understand their mindset, reach out to them, take them more seriously, appreciate their anger, restore their hope, make the necessary concessions and try and abate their rage and rising angst the better it will be for us all.

They may not have today but if we do not play our cards right they may end up having tomorrow.

May God help us all.

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Opinion

Osun: The Power of the People is Under Attack

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By James O. Bamgbose

At the mention of democracy, what easily comes to mind is the fact that it is a system that places the power to decide leadership on the people. But the experience of the people of Osun state has been the entire opposite of this enticing feature that endears people to democracy. Politicians who fail to get the mandate of the people seem to have found a way to use the court to impose themselves power.

The most recent instance of such a repressive approach is the Justice T.A. Kume led Election Petition Tribunal decision that waved aside the will of the people for a different choice. In the majority judgment read by Justice Kume, the panel made a sweeping attack on the power of the people to choose their leaders as envisaged by the democracy.

The judgment was a clear indication that the law court is now an abode for politicians rejected at the ballot to sneak into power. Before now, violence and manipulations are the tools for politicians to force their way to power, but judges, who are obviously compromised, are the willing tools for politicians to boycott the people to power.

For anyone who followed the Tribunal proceeding up to the point of judgment, they will hardly be surprised by the verdict reached by Justice Kume and his colleagues. This is because Justice Kume never hides his bias against the respondents to the point that you wonder whether he is an arbiter or the petitioner counsel.

It got worse in his judgment, where he maliciously attacked the 2nd respondent (Governor Ademola Adeleke) by making a veil dismissal of his (Adeleke) as a dancer. “The 2nd Respondent cannot “go lo lo lo” and “Buga won” as the duly elected Governor of Osun State in the election conducted on the 16th day of July 2022. See Kizz Daniel’s song,” Justice Kume noted in his judgment.

This is not only a new low for a judicial officer but a clear statement of bias. It is evident that this bias weigh heavily on his decision, which by every indication, was perverse. Or, how can one reconcile the conclusion made by Justice Kume in the judgment that the Exhibit submitted by the respondents after the Exhibit BVR “amount to tampering with official documents” without any clear evidence adduced in that regard?

A judge is not a superman, and this is why most times, they rely on the presentation of an expert to have a clear understanding on the matter before them. One would have expected an unbias arbiter to seek the advice of an expert on the BVAS technology so as to make a sound decision that will ensure true justice.

This was not the case in the Osun Tribunal case, as Justice Kume, relied more on his opinion, rather than evidence that is before it to arrive at the judgment. Or, what could have informed the decision to ignore the BVAS machine physical examination ordered by the court, and go for a server report that has been disputed as incomplete by the maker, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

It is known to the whole world that the BVAS machines were the device used in the polling units and hold more credible data than a server in far away Abuja. What Justice Kume did with the judgment is beyond injustice, but a serious attack on our democracy. With a decision as the one done by Justice Kume, voters will no longer be encouraged to participate in an election because their votes may not actually matter but the whim and caprices of a judge who was not anywhere near the place of the election.

This unfolding reality will be devastating. In other words, politicians will no longer be interested in what the voters think, but be sure to manipulate the judiciary and find their way to power irrespective of what the people decide at the poll. This is a great setback on our democracy and to imagine that the judiciary, which should ensure the sanctity of the ballot, is the same fouling it, is to say the least a demoralising.

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Opinion

The Oracle: Ethics and Discipline in Law: Akin to Waiting for Godot (Pt. 3)

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By Mike Ozekhome

INTRODUCTION

A nation is said to be developed when the standard of her discipline and ethics are measured in comparison with others in the developing society. Where this is lacking in Nigeria for instance, is what has led her to fail to measure up with other developed nations of the world. Today, we shall continue our discourse on this.

ETHICS AND MORALITY (continues)

To analyse law, refers must be made to a classic tale, originating in India, of a group of blind men and elephant even though there are numerous variations of the story, but I enjoy the Jain’s version in particular:

“Once upon a time, there lived six blind men in a village. One day the villagers told them, “Hey, there is an elephant in the village today.”

They had no idea what an elephant is. They decided, “Even though we would not be able to see it, let us go and feel it anyway.” All of them went where the elephant was. Every one of them touched the elephant.

“Hey, the elephant is a pillar,” said the first man who touched his leg.

“Oh, no! It is like a rope,” said the second man who touched the tail.

“Oh, no! It is like a thick branch of a tree,” said the third man who touched the trunk of the elephant.

“It is like a big hand fan,” said the fourth man who touched the ear of the elephant.

“It is like a huge wall,” said the fifth man who touched the belly of the elephant.

“It is like a solid pipe,” said the sixth man who touched the tusk of the elephant.

They began to argue about the elephant and every one of them insisted that he was right. It looked like they were getting agitated. A wise man was passing by, and he saw this. He stopped and asked them, “What is the matter?” They said, “We cannot agree to what the elephant is like.” Each one of them told what he thought the elephant was like. The wise man calmly explained to them, “All of you are right. The reason every one of you is telling it differently because each one of you touched a different part of the elephant. So, the elephant has all the features of what you all said.” 

Because of the multi-dimensional and interdisciplinary nature of law several theories and schools of law have been propounded to wit: the Naturalist School, the Socialist Theory, the Positivist Theory, the Realists Theory, the Utilitarian Theory and so on, but we are not going to wear ourselves out with the various theories. For the sake of this write-up, we shall adopt the definition proposed in the Black’s Law Dictionary above, that is:

“As that which is laid down, ordained, or established. A rule or method according to which phenomenon or actions co-exist or follow each other. Law, in its generic sense, is a body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by controlling authority and having binding legal force. That which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. Law is a solemn expression of the will of the supreme power of the State”.

“WAITING FOR GODOT” is a term coined from the story – Waiting for Godot – to describe a situation where people are waiting for something to happen, but it probably never will. Simply put, it is to engage in wishful thinking or to build castles in the air. The phrase is coined from the play by Samuel Becket. The play is basically two clowns waiting for someone who never shows up. It’s a metaphor for humanity waiting for some revelation of God’s presence amid horror, destruction and chaos.

They never get it. At the end a messenger boy comes to say Mr. Godot is very sorry but he’s unable to come today, but perhaps tomorrow. That’s life. Waiting for Godot is a tragicomedy in two acts by Irish writer Samuel Beckett, published in 1952 in French as En attendant Godot and first produced in 1953. Waiting for Godot was a true innovation in drama and the Theatre of the Absurd’s first theatrical success.

NATIONAL ETHICS

National ethics simply means a set of conduct and behaviours expected of every citizen, the breach of which attracts punishment. National ethics is defined as a system of morals, rules, and behaviour which every community in a country is bound to abide by and a breach of such rules usually attracts punishment.

National ethics is stated in the Constitution of a nation to guide the behaviour and conduct of citizens in their places of work. It serves to establishment of law and order and attainment of meaningful development in a country. The present Constitution of Nigeria states the national ethics to comprise the following: Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

Discipline, Integrity, Dignity of Labour, Social Justice, Religious Tolerance, Self-Reliance, and Patriotism.

By discipline the Constitution meant Nigerians should try not to be corrupt, disobedient to laws or embezzle government’s funds when they found themselves in a position of leadership. Citizens are expected to be disciplined, always observing self-control and associating themselves only with people of good character. The importance of discipline which cannot be overemphasized include but not limited to the following: Discipline builds good habits; Discipline helps one stop procrastinating; Discipline helps one manage one’s time better; Discipline helps one achieve your goals; Discipline boosts one self-esteem; Discipline helps one master things; Discipline makes one more reliable; Discipline improves one’s ability to manage challenging emotions. When you have discipline in your life you can make small sacrifices in the present for a better life in the future. Discipline creates habits, habits make routines, and routines become who you are daily.

Like a muscle, discipline can be trained. The more you work on your discipline the stronger it becomes. You see this in sports all the time, the more disciplined team ends up beating the undisciplined team with greater talent. Disciplined teams can see the big picture and use restraint during adversity. Teams who aren’t as disciplined lose their cool and end up costing themselves a shot.

By integrity the Constitution states that Nigerians should try to be firm and honest in all their activities. They should not allow others to drag them into illegal and dishonest activities.

Integrity is a characteristic that many of us value in ourselves, and it’s one we look for consistently in our leaders.  But what does it really mean to have integrity? It is the quality of being honest and strong about what you believe to be right.

One could say that integrity is always doing the right thing, even when no one is looking, and even when the choice isn’t easy. Or, one might see integrity as staying true to oneself and one’s word, even when one is faced with serious consequences for the choices that you’re making.

When we have integrity, we gain the trust of our leaders, our colleagues and our team. We’re dependable, and, when we hold ourselves accountable for our actions, we become role models  for others to follow.

All of this, in turn, directly impacts our success in life.

Dignity of labour entails that Nigerians should be proud of the work they do irrespective of its nature provided it is legal. It also means labour should be rewarded accordingly. That is, we should have respect for those who work for us. The dignity of labour is the philosophy that all types of jobs are respected equally, and no occupation is considered superior and none of the jobs should be discriminated on any basis. Regardless of whether one’s occupation involves physical work or mental labour, it is held that the job deserves respect. Simply put, any form of work, manual or intellectual, is called labour and respecting any kind of job (manual or intellectual) is called “dignity of labour”. Dignity of labour, in a nutshell, is the experience of self-worth and achievement that a person derives from his or her work. It is experienced when a person is treated as an equal in the workplace and when they feel useful to their company and to society in general.

By social justice the Constitution implies that Nigerians irrespective of where they come from should be treated fairly and rightly. That is, they should be given equal opportunities in terms of access to justice, employment, education, etc. This could help to bridge the gap between the rich and the poor to the barest minimum.

Justice is the concept of fairness. Social justice is fairness as it manifests in society. That includes fairness in healthcare, employment, housing, and more. Discrimination and social justice are not compatible. Now, social justice applies to all aspects of society, including race and gender, and it is closely tied to human rights. More specifically, what does social justice mean?

Social justice means that everyone’s human rights are respected and protected. Everyone has equal opportunities. This doesn’t guarantee that society will be perfect, and everyone will always be happy. However, everyone will have a fighting chance at the life they want. They aren’t held back by things out of their control like systemic obstacles or discrimination.

By Religious tolerance the Constitution simply means that Nigerians should learn to stay together without violating each other’s right in their practice of religion. That is, they should learn to believe that the religion of every person is important to him. Therefore, every Nigerian should consider the religion of another Nigerian important to the believer. That is, we should learn to believe that, much as we value our religions other people, too, value their religion no matter the pattern of worship.

This goal is a complex one due the great diversity of religions and spiritual beliefs existing in the world today especially in our society. Religion is also a very emotional topic. It can often be difficult for individuals to put their personal biases aside and consider ideas or situations objectively. (To be continued).

FUNTIMES

“Chatting with a Nigerian girl is like interview, if you don’t ask her question, she has nothing to tell you”.- Anonymous.

THOUGHT FOR THE WEEK

“In just about every area of society, there’s nothing more important than ethics”. (Henry Paulson).

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Opinion

How Atiku Abubakar Will Become the Next President of Nigeria by Dele Momodu

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I have read with bemusement many of the polls about the forthcoming Presidential election on February 25, 2023, and have come to the conclusion that the elitist polls have failed monumentally due to the over-reliance on technology in a largely illiterate population.

I have decided to help situate the forecasts based on the established polical history of Nigeria and empirical data.

A Presidential candidate cannot depend totally on votes from outside his home base to win this election. It is a fact of history that whenever the South produced two strong candidates, the dominant Nothern candidate won, such as in 1979 and 1983, Obafemi Awolowo and Nnamdi Azikiwe versus Shehu Shagari.

Bola Tinubu is far weaker today in the South West and Awolowo was by far more formidable, while Obi is the new Azikiwe (the first Governor General and President of Nigeria) in the South East, and Kwankwaso is the current Aminu Kano.

Atiku Abubakar will dominate the North East, North West, North Central and South South. Tinubu may pick a few states in the North and South West but won’t have enough to win. The bridges required to cross to victory has taken Atiku 30 years to build. Tinubu has not been able to lock down the entire South West not to talk of the whole of Nigeria. Over-reliance on bribing the electorates will fail. Hoping to rig brazenly will also fail spectacularly. I repeat, the entire North and the South South will make Atiku the next President. Atiku will still be competitive in the South East and South West. Wherever Obi is number one in the East, Atiku will be number two. Wherever Tinubu is number one in the South West, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. Atiku will be the first to cross the line of recording 25 percent in 24 states. He will get 25 percent automatically in the 19 states of Northern Regions and will pick six in South South automatically. He will pick more 25 percent in all of the five states in the South East, a traditional base of PDP, and same in the South West. Wherever Obi is number one, Atiku will be number two or vice versa. I do not know of any state PDP will not record 25 percent and eventually win the overall popular votes. Nigeria has become so polarizingly divided (pardon my tautology) that the “peoples” are going to vote majorly along ethnic lines as well as primordial sentiments. The North will not vote a “fake Muslim” in the name of a pretentious and mischievous Muslim/Muslim ticket. The scam is dead on arrival. The North East will never vote for a number two position when they’ve been chasing the number one since 1966. The North West will not abandon an Atiku for a Tinubu who’s well known for his iron grip on Lagos State since 1999. The South West itself knows it has the most controversial and palpably weakest candidate in this race this time and would humbly and readily accept its fate with equanimity. It will also dawn on the South East that Obi’s raving popularity alone cannot carry him across the winning line and many of their traditional voters will willingly settle for ATIKU ABUBAKAR and IFEANYICHUKWU OKOWA, the cerebral man and gentle giant of Igbo ancestry. I predict that former President Atiku Abubakar will be the next President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He is the most prepared, experienced candidate in the race who’s ready to hit the ground running from day one…
Nigerians will experience real politicking in the days ahead.

Chief Dele Momodu is the Director of Strategic Communications PDP Presidential Campaign Council

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