By Promise Adiele
Overwhelming excitement. Sheer euphoria mixed with anger. Ecstatic frenzy sustained by passionate commitment. That is the story of Nigeria’s current revolution predicated on the ideology of omniscient humanitarianism. Peter Obi is the proponent of that ideology and millions of Obidients are the protagonists. Make no mistakes about it, there is a battle for the soul of Nigeria. While millions of youths are determined to save their country from all the spiralling contradictions of suffering and hardship, the human principalities responsible for these conditions are also fighting back. Thus the war rages. It is class struggle, the cornerstone of Marxist sensibilities. Within four months, the Peter Obi story has become folklore, upsetting the subsisting narrative in Nigeria’s political terrain. The historical peregrination of revolution across the world follows a familiar pattern with what is happening in Nigeria now. However, the Nigerian revolution transcends nebulous categories such as ethnicity and religion. Indeed, it is a new beginning in Nigeria.
On October 1st, Nigeria’s Independence Day, under the bright, Saturday sky across the country, Nigerians were in thousands, their voices saturating the air. In Lagos, they were in millions. In faraway London, they were in thousands. A few days back in Abuja, they were also in millions. They joyously shouted, sang, danced, waving the national flag and celebrating the rave of the moment, Nigeria’s beacon of hope, Mr Peter Obi. The scenes looked like that of a country celebrating freedom from colonial rule. They sang like birds set free from a restrictive aviary. They were organized and orderly. Hope was written all over their faces, the hope of a new beginning, a new country different from the oppressive, insecure, enervating, economic-hellish country they have been used to for many years. It was the day despair gave way to hope, ennui birthed revival, and languor transmuted to vitality.
It didn’t matter that Arsenal, Chelsea, Tottenham, Manchester United, and Manchester City, English football clubs with an intoxicating, maniac followership, were all playing that weekend. It also didn’t matter that Big Brother Naija, the TV reality show that activates the interest of millions of youths in Nigeria was about to end. No, many Nigerians had something more important to attend – a rally of hope and renaissance. For many of them, there is something divine about the new awakening in Nigeria. Some are convinced that the hand of God is in it. Mortar and pestle, the ant and antelope, land and sea, and life and death are all witnesses to the new political developments in Nigeria. It has never happened before, not in the history of Nigeria. Such support, enthusiasm and hope have never been seen in Nigeria. The face of that hope is Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential flag bearer.
Certainly, there are justifiable indications in Nigeria’s political evolution that the people are currently steering the ship of their destiny through a bewildering sense of unity and oneness. Given the fractious nature of Nigeria’s socio-political atmosphere over time, it was unthinkable that millions of youths, hitherto balkanized by religion, ethnicity, and political differences will be united by a single consciousness geared towards the emergence of a new country. It is encouraging, even to the most committed detractors of the Obidient Movement, to see millions of Nigerian youths demonstrate an uncanny enthusiasm and hope anchored on Peter Obi in the revival of an ailing country. Those who think that the groundswell of support for Peter Obi is cosmetic are in error. What is happening in Nigeria is an angry response to the many years of ruin carefully and primitively orchestrated by the PDP and APC ruling class. The current revolution across the land has unsettled existing power protocols. The demagogues and potentates assume that Nigeria is their private property therefore they have the right to manipulate all the indices of nationhood.
The political class has been caught unawares. They didn’t envisage what has come upon them. From the East to the West, North to the South and all the remote corners of the country, the message is the same – a New Nigeria is possible, anchored on Peter Obi. His popularity is daily propagated by those who think he is inconsequential, yet they can’t ignore him. His critics and detractors dream about him. They eat him and see him in their dreams. They derive a certain measure of pleasure by talking about him and flooding social media platforms daily with spurious, unfounded information about him, yet they insist he is an outsider. Insanity has many dimensions that have not yet been researched by psychiatrists. There must be a name for a mental disorder which explains a person’s disregard for something yet can’t do without thinking or talking about that same thing.
Peter Obi’s emergence accounts for the collective resurgence of political interest among millions of Nigerians. His appearance on the stage has freed millions of youths from the constricting chambers of despondency and inertia within which their political consciousness has long been subsumed. Initially, the lame argument was that Peter Obi did not have the political apparatus to win elections across Nigeria. Those inclined to such base argument are only rehashing the existence of corrupt structures of political crime and immorality which has over time accounted for electoral criminality all over the country. I understand the argument that a political party must have structures across the country in terms of representatives at the ward levels, local government levels, state levels and regional levels. The structures do not refer to architectural wonders but human beings, flesh and blood. These human traditional structures personify Nigeria’s political tragedy over time because they negate the wishes of the people by influencing them wrongly. Let Nigerians march to the polls, monitor their votes and ensure their votes count.
Something is happening in Nigeria which has never happened before. Millions of Nigerians are awake and ready to take charge of their destiny. Fortunately for Peter Obi, he represents that lost hope for millions of Nigerians but it goes beyond him. Today, events in Nigeria are a perfect corollary of the real meaning of democracy which, as we were taught in school is the ‘government of the people, by the people and for the people’ – kudos to Abraham Lincoln, the 16th president of the US. Today, Nigerians are taking charge of their political destiny with Peter Obi as the anchor. He is a verified product of zero tolerance for corruption. Nigerians know this fact. Is Obi a saint? Absolutely No. Is he different in many ways from the rest of the contestants? Yes and Nigerians are duly aware of these facts.
The political class has been caught unawares. They didn’t envisage what has come upon them. From the East to the West, North to the South and all the remote corners of the country, the message is the same – a New Nigeria is possible, anchored on Peter Obi. His popularity is daily propagated by those who think he is inconsequential, yet they can’t ignore him. His critics and detractors dream about him.
I have read many stale arguments that Peter Obi is an outsider in the race because Labour Party is weak. These arguments are unfounded, lack merit, and hover over the chaotic senses of grudge and envy. What is happening in Nigeria now is a peaceful revolution which seeks to overthrow a superstructure that has castrated the Nigerian potential and blighted the future of millions of young people. PDP and APC have grounded Nigeria. There is no better way to say it. If Peter Obi is the flag bearer of APC or PDP, will millions of youths across the country support him? The answer is no. Those who still argue that PDP and APC should return to power must stop for a minute and take a second look at Nigeria’s socio-economic realities. When a bird is used to crawling, it assumes that flying is a crime. Nigeria has the potential to fly but has been crippled by successive governments spearheaded by the PDP and APC in the last twenty-three years. Therefore some people think that crawling is Nigeria’s allotted portion. PDP apologized to Nigerians after they were chased out of power in 2015. APC has stubbornly refused to apologize for devastating the Nigerian entity rather, they are impudently asking Nigerians to reinforce and revalidate their failure. Perhaps they are minded to lead over 200 million people to Golgotha for the ultimate crucifixion. No, Nigerians will not be spectators to their final annihilation by APC or PDP.
The Buhari administration and the electoral umpire have a responsibility to ensure that the 2023 general elections are free and fair. Millions of Nigerians cannot be wrong. Their disenchantment with the twenty-three years of PDP and APC conspiracy is resonating across the world. The world is aware Nigeria is on the cusp of a new beginning. Nigeria is setting a pace for other African countries that are victims of socio-political trickery by old, expired persons who see their countries as conquered fiefdoms. Those who oppose the Obi Movement have the right to do so but let the opposition be informed by reason. That he is Igbo is a retrogressive argument. That he was once in PDP is a discredited sophistry. That he should be blamed for the insecurity in the South-East and his state Anambra is blatant ignorance of ancestral proportion. The insecurity in the South-East is a prime example of the failure of the APC government to secure the country or is the South-East not part of Nigeria anymore? So those who mock Peter Obi with the security situation in the South-East deserve pity. In the Nigerian constitution, is security in the Exclusive list, Concurrent List or Residual List? Regrettably, the consistent antagonism among the different political interests in Nigeria is far from ideological but rather pedestrian and hackneyed. While the Obi Movement celebrates new converts every day, it is believed that these changes will reflect on the ballot boxes next year for the revolution to be complete. A New Nigeria is possible. God bless Nigeria!!!
Promise Adiele PhD
Mountain Top University