Millions of Nigerians earlier today spent the Independence Day on the streets, marching in support of Mr Peter Obi, Labour Party’s presidential candidate for the 2023 elections.
The rallies were held in Lagos, Benin and Auchi, Edo State, Aba, Abia State, Zaria and Kafanchan, in Kaduna State, Asaba and Warri, Delta State, and Uyo, in Akwa Ibom State.
The enthusiastic supporters marched through the streets in their various towns to show support for Mr Peter Obi.
Obi supporters have been derided by the major political parties as structureless and a social media noise. The rallies are countering those perceptions.
In Lagos, the rallies tagged #4MillionMarch4PeterObi, held in many parts of the city, including Lekki, Surulere, Ikeja, Festac, and others. The marchers brandished the logo of the Labour Party on their shirts, caps, head cover and even hijabs. They chanted solidarity songs and boasted that they would give Peter Obi the biggest votes in Lagos, which is the home state of the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu.
In Benin, Nigerians, irrespective of age groups, ethnic divide, religious affiliations and occupation, trooped out, and defied the morning showers to rally behind the ambition of Peter Obi and Datti Baba-Ahmed, the Labour Party (LP) presidential and vice-presidential candidates, respectively, for the 2023 general elections.
Tagged the “Obidient movement”, the residents, including senior citizens, marched from the different routes across Edo State to converge at the Oba Ovonramwen square popularly called ring road to commemorate Nigeria’s 62nd Independence day celebration.
Amid the presence of various security agencies, the demonstrators, who hindered movements within the Benin metropolis, said they decided to use October 1, to drum up support for Peter Obi’s candidacy, who, according to them, was capable of liberating Nigerians from the shackles of poverty, mitigating the rising unemployment level, revamping the dwindling educational quality and delivering good governance.
Aggrieved with the current state of Africa’s most populous country, the protesters, who wore branded shirts with “OBI/DATTI 2023” written on it, carried the Labour Party flags, chanted pro-democracy songs and unanimously stated they will become the “structure” to catapult Peter Obi to Nigeria’s seat of power.
Displaying placards with inscriptions, thus “With Obi/Datti, a new Nigeria is possible; if symptoms persists after 62 years, please seek the help of a saviour”, the protesters reiterated their stance against accepting money in exchange for votes and pleaded with Nigerians in other states to do same and join the movement in reclaiming the country.
“They said we don’t have structure, but you can see for yourself that we have what it takes to boost Obi’s voting numbers. We are here for good governance to support the Obi movement and this is how we want to create awareness,” says Osabuohien Nosakhare, a legal practitioner.
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“What can we show as a country at 62? No electricity, unemployment is on the increase, there is bad health facilities, pensioners can’t even enjoy their entitlements and benefits. What about the poor infrastructure? All I can say is Nigeria is in a mess,” he added.
Clementine Akpoguma, a 68-year-old grandmother, said “I am not hausa, I am not Igbo but I am a Nigerian. The rally is for my grandchildren and children. We want to get it right by force for our children. In 1984, we entered England with little cash but you cannot do that today. Presently, prices of food stuff is on the increase and the masses are suffering.”
Jane Okokomon, an aged mother of three, said “A new Nigeria is possible. A new dawn is possible. I am joining in this movement and I am the structure for Obi. I want a better life for my children. We can’t continue like this with the current cost of living. We are tired and must change the narrative.”
For Patrick Ogiefa, Edo State deputy chairman of Labour Party, the movement is not for pecuniary gains but a rally for enlightening the masses on good leadership and how the dividends of democracy can be delivered to the citizenry.
“A time comes in the life of every nation. We are now awake to rescue Nigeria. This call is divine and blessed by God so we can change the narrative. Where are we? We are supposed to be the giant of Africa but it’s a shame we can’t boast of our status. We have prayed and God has answered, it is now in our hands to rescue this nation. This is a moving train,” Ogiefa said.
Also in Effurun Warri, in Delta State, #Obidients came out en masse to show support.
As in Asaba, the state capital, the supporters who came out in huge numbers, countered the affirmations of an aide of the delta State Government, Success Ovie who boasted that Deltans will not come out to support Mr Peter Obi.
In Kafanchan and Zaria, Kaduna State, #Obidients also marched in the spirit of Independence and better Nigeria to support Obi. Recall that the Kaduna State Governor, Mallam El Rufai had said no Peter Obi would hold in his state.
Yesterday in Bauchi State, thousands of supporters had taken to the streets to welcome Mr Peter Obi, who paid a visit to the state.