‘Obidient’ Movement Is Far Beyond Any Political Party, — Peter Obi | #NwokeukwuMascot


 Peter Obi 

Peter Obi, a former Labour Party presidential candidate, has distanced his support group known as ‘Obidient’ movement from his political party or any other one in Nigeria.


Obi, who stated this in a statement shared on his X account, explained that the movement was not a directorate of any particular political party.

According to Obi, it is ‘far beyond’ any political party in the country.


It has been reported on May 30 that the Labour Party announced the appointment of eight people it said would pilot the affairs of the 'Obidient' Directorate.


The party described the appointment as part of its repositioning efforts towards integrating millions of Nigerian youths, particularly the 'Obidient' family into the larger family of the Labour Party.


Among those listed as its appointees are Mr. Marcel Ngogbehei – Director; Amb. AJU Elumelu – Deputy Director, (Diaspora); Mrs Mariam Ismaila – Deputy Director; Mr. Chukwuemeka Gerald Okafor – Deputy Director; Mrs. Angel Innocent – Deputy Director; Mr. Tony Ashekomeh Jnr – Deputy Director; Mr. Emeka Ezechi – Deputy Director and Mr. Josiah Omenuwoma – Deputy Director.


Announcing the appointment, the Labour Party National Publicity Secretary, Obiora Ifoh, explained that the directorate would coordinate the registration of all members of the Obidient community and integrate them fully into the structure of the party.

Ifoh also said it would ease diaspora participation in the affairs of the party, receive complaints and deal with same and where they are unable to deal with complaints, refer such to the leadership of the party.


Ifoh also said it would coordinate the collection of dues and donations to the party and ensure that all Obidients are financial members of the party.


“Work closely with the National Youth Leader, National Women Leader, and National Organizing Secretary in order to create programmes that will fully and effectively assimilate all members of the OBIDIENT family to the party," he said.


But reacting to this, Obi, a former governor of Anambra State, said that anyone claiming to be at the helm of affairs of what he described as a “non-existent directorate” is not a member of the ‘Obidient’ movement.


According to him, the movement is more than a mere political party and is devoid of ethnic and religious affiliations.

“I like to categorically state that the Obidient Movement is not a directorate of any particular political party," he maintained. "Any individual or individuals claiming to be leaders of this non-existent directorate are simply not members of the broader Obidient Movement."


He added, "There may be a youth mobilisation directorate in political parties but the Obidient movement is far beyond a particular political party. The Obidient Movement is a diverse and inclusive collective that transcends traditional political, religious, and ethnic affiliations.


“It is not domiciled within any particular party or headquartered in any particular part of the country. Its membership spans across Africa and the globe, comprising individuals from various backgrounds, including rural communities, and public, private, and corporate entities, united by a shared vision for a New and better Nigeria."


He, however, stated the guiding ethos of 'Obidient' movement, saying it is guided by the “principles of adaptive and transformative change, progress, discipline, and democratic values, the Obidient Movement advocates for fairness, equity, inclusivity, and justice.”


He added that the movement is committed to holding the government responsible and accountable while serving as a beacon of hope for a better Nigeria.


The statement added, “It is committed to a strictly accountable and responsible code of government. Our members are committed to contributing to the realization of a better future for Nigeria through the New Nigeria project, anchored on loyalty, integrity, and democratic values.

“The Obidient Movement seeks to foster positive change through a commitment to integrity, honesty, and accountability, rejecting deceitful behaviours.


“We serve as a beacon of hope for a reimagined Nigeria, where leadership is grounded in character, capacity, competence, compassion and the well-being of all citizens.

“Let this serve as a clarification that the Obidient Movement operates independently of any political party, and its membership is not limited to any particular affiliation. Our focus remains steadfast on driving positive change and promoting a New Nigeria for all. This is who we are and will remain for all time.”

 It has been recently reported that Nobel laureate Prof Wole Soyinka had accused Obi of encouraging ‘Obidients’ to attack him and others with opposing views online in the build-up to the 2023 presidential election.


Obi was the candidate of the Labour Party in the 2023 presidential election.

Supporters of the Labour Party and Obi are known as ‘Obidients’ and are notorious for trolling people with opposing views.

In May 2023, Obi visited Prof Soyinka days after the latter came under criticism on social media by LP and Obi’s supporters or ‘Obidients’ for faulting some remarks made by Datti Baba-Ahmed, vice-presidential candidate of the LP.


The literary icon had described Baba-Ahmed’s comments as “fascistic language”.


The renowned playwright had in a statement said ‘Obidients’ wore their refusal to “accept constructive criticism as a badge of honour”, while addressing the online attacks against him.


Obi later tagged the purpose of their meeting as reconciliatory which was denied by Prof Soyinka.


Soyinka, in a statement issued after the meeting, said there was simply no issue to reconcile between him and Obi or the Labour Party.


He said he wished to state clearly that the word “reconciliation”, inserted into some reports about Obi’s visit to him on Sunday, May 7, 2023, was inappropriate and diversionary.


“Let me clarify: I know the entity known as Peter Obi, presidential candidate of the Labour Party. I can relate to him. I know and can relate to the Labour Party on whose platform he contested elections. There are simply no issues to reconcile between those two entities and myself. 


“However, I do not know, and am unable to relate to something known as the “Obidient” or “Obidient Family”. Thus, albeit in a different vein, any notion of Reconciliation, or even relations – positive, negative or indifferent – with such a spectral emanation is simply grasping at empty air,” he said.


The Nobel laureate added that during that meeting, there was nothing like ‘reconciliation’.


“It simply did not arise. By contrast, there were expressions of “burden of leadership” “responsibility”, “apology”, “pleading”, “formal dissociation from the untenable”, all the way to the “tragic ascendancy of ethnic cleavage”, especially under such ironic, untenable circumstances. Discussions were frank, and creative. The notion of Reconciliation was clearly N/A – Non Applicable. It was never raised,” he stated.


Speaking further on that, Soyinka, in a recent interview with Noble Nigeria, said he realised that Obi was in control of the ‘Obidients’ who trolled him online.


Soyinka, who said he hoped Obi would not contest the next election because he and he and his team had proved to be incompetent to lead Nigeria, said, “I hope for the sake of the nation that he doesn’t express interest in the next election because for me as a leader, if there was any proof that he was unfit to lead that country, it’s in the conduct which he encouraged among his followers.


“I know for a fact, and I can give you an instance which proves that he was in control of those forces.”


Narrating an instance when he knew that Obi controlled the Obidient Movement trolling people with opposing views online, Prof Soyinka said, “It’s simply because when he first came to visit me, you know, he did come at one time. And I watched him. I watched his actions, body language, it seemed to be very conciliatory.


“I remember the moment when he took out his (mobile device) after he made a statement like ‘Oh don’t worry. You don’t have anything to worry about these people.’ He was talking about ‘Obidients’. I remember he took out his phone and he typed a message there. I was watching him very closely, I didn’t say a thing. And after that, everything seemed to be nice and cosy.


“And I saw and I read his statement about that meeting afterwards. The statement was a contrast to what actually happened, what we discussed and I mentioned it in my response.”


Soyinka said it “was a misrepresentation of what happened and I made sure that I put a statement out saying ‘No, I’m sorry, this is not what was said. This language never came into it”.


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