Obidient Movement And Its Ethno-religious Colouration


I was at a mechanic village inside Central Business District, Alausa Ikeja a few days ago where I spent a day to fix my car.

The village is dominated by Yorubas but there is one Igbo guy who sells spare parts to them within the premises. He sells and also campaigns for Peter Obi. They call him “Obidient” and with his enterprising mode, he has hypnotised many of the Yoruba mechanics in there to vote for Obi.

He did the job to a level that he sold on credit to some of his Yoruba customers to win their hearts for Igbo president in 2023.

At the place some of his customers told me that the Igbo guy had saved their mobile numbers and that he sent to them Obi news. There is no doubt that social media has changed the face of politics in Nigeria.

However, this Obi social media movement as a factor may not be able to change the face of democracy as many of its followers are thinking now. This is because the biggest factor of ethnicity and religion is becoming louder everyday.
A few days ago, some APC federal lawmakers threatened to defect to other parties. Almost all of them preferred PDP to Labour Party even though it is the LP that is sounding louder now.

On Friday, a group of northern Christians led by former Speaker of the House, Yakubu Dogara and former Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Babachir Lawal announced that they would not vote APC Muslim-Muslim ticket over religious issue.
Pronto, both flew to meet the Governor of Benue State, Samuel Ortom of PDP whose presidential candidate is a Muslim, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar with a Christian running mate, Ifeanyi Okowa.

For me, the best option for these Christian politicians would have been LP whose presidential candidate is a Christian and can serve their interest 100 per cent. Why settling for second fiddle if truly they want respect for Christian agenda.
Dogara and Babachir preferred a northern Muslim presidential candidate to a southern Christian presidential candidate. This calculation is a pure ethnic affair with religious colouration. Simple.

Why not Obi? Why Atiku? This alignment shows the minds of politicians and it is basically on what they will gain from de-marketing APC with Muslim-Muslim idea to align with PDP no matter how lousy LP had been on the social media.
Obi is a movement now but he is more popular in the church and has failed to convince the Islamic community that he will be a Nigeria president instead of a Christian president. His name is being announced in churches.

Let us go back to the mechanic workshop. Before I left the place, I interviewed the Igbo spare parts seller and his Yoruba customers. I gathered that the Igbo guy had only created awareness about Obi movement but had failed to highlight the candidate’s manifestos.
One will be stupid to think that “mechanics” are not educated. One of them said in Yoruba language, “Obi is the kind of person I would like to be Nigeria’s president but his people have turned this issue to religious and ethnic thing. That is why all of us at this workshop will vote for Tinubu. Almost all of us are Muslim Yoruba.”

Another engineer as they call themselves said, “Nobody can mention Tinubu in Alaba and Ladipo markets, the Igbo will tear him into pieces. So nobody should come and mention Obi to me here. We will vote along ethnic and religious line.”

In a video released shortly after the defeat of APC in Osun governorship election, a group of voters said that the fact that they voted for Senator Ademola Adeleke of PDP did not mean that they would vote for Atiku Abubakar in the presidential election.

They said, “Tinubu laaa dibo president fun. We will vote for Tinubu in the presidential election.” As bad as this tone is sounding tribalistic, it is an agenda being sold by politicians and consumed by electorate.

On Friday, a call went to the police about INEC officials registering people for PVC inside a Catholic church in Lagos. The video that trended on social media platforms with underneath commentary was that hoodlums stopped “Obidient” supporters from exercising their rights.
However, a verified news showed that the INEC officials actually compromised by taking machines to register people inside a church, which is against the electoral rules.

The names of the INEC officials who allegedly hid at the Catholic church are all Igbos. Why?The INEC staff including Mrs Rita, Mr Ikechukwu Izuchukwu and Miss Agbokhna Ebigun.

What if this had happened in the mosque, I’m sure the noise outside will be deafening by now. Obi movement is good for democracy but it should not be painted in religious or ethnic colour. Why attaching Obidient with Catholic Church?

It is a new order and thanks to the advent of social media. This online campaign is a current idea that can become the biggest strategy in the future but definitely not now due to ethno-religious factor.

The Muslim believers are watching the drift and in another video, I saw where an Islamic Cleric was telling his members that the 2023 election is between Islam and Christianity.
He said that no matter how Tinubu is being painted, the Muslim community will vote for him because he is representing the faith.


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