With the Governorship and State Houses of Assembly elections rescheduled for Saturday March 18, 2023 and the threat posed by the Obidients’ Movement, the All Progressive Congress (APC) and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have been thrown into panic mode as they intensify their campaigns in what now appears to be a make or mar battle in some of the States of the federation.
The States where the Obidient Movement, supporters of Labour Party Presidential candidate, Peter Obi, have upturned earlier predictions include most of the Southern States, especially South-East, South-South and Lagos State.
Members of PDP and APC, the ruling parties in the region who are uncomfortable with the Peter Obi tsunami which swept away many of their candidates during the National Assembly election, increased the momentum of their campaigns in the past few days.
The one week extension of the election date by the Independent National Electoral Electoral Commission (INEC) has provided an opportunity for the parties to make further efforts to win the hearts of the masses.
In Lagos State, Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu is now everywhere, trying to win the hearts of the Obidients who made the APC Presidential candidate, Bola Ahmed Tinubu lose Lagos to Peter Obi.
That singular loss appears to have boosted the morale of the Labour Party candidate in Lagos State, Gbadebo Rhode-Vivour, that it was indeed possible to dislodge the APC in Nigeria’s economic capital.
Sanwo-Olu has been spotted in many strategic locations, including the Akere Market which was set ablaze by suspected political thugs, a visit to the victims of the Train/BRT bus collision, as well as some other public places.
In Rivers State, it is not a different scenario, with Governor Nyesom Wike trying to assuage the feelings of the Igbo people in the State. On Thursday, he hosted a delegation of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, during which he claimed he did not support Peter Obi because nobody told him about Igbo presidency.
Besides, Wike who is believed to have worked against Obi, is now claiming that the LP presidential candidate is the hero of the just-concluded election.
Speaking while addressing a town hall meeting with Igbo traders in Port Harcourt on Saturday, Wike said Obi recorded victories where the PDP would have won.
“In this election that we just did, Obi is my hero, as far as I’m concerned. If he didn’t contest, power would have remained in the North,” he said.
It is believed that all his recent comments are meant to assuage the feelings of the Obidient Movement.
The APC in Rivers is not left out, with former transport minister, Rotimi Amaechi, promising Ndigbo of a fair deal if Tonye Cole emerges winner of the guber poll.
The moves are said to be in an attempt to counter the popularity of the LP candidate.
In Enugu State, down South-East, PDP’s Peter Mbah has been visible in several places, including churches, markets and streets trying to woo as many voters as possible. This is unlike the Enugu of the past where whoever emerged the PDP candidate for any election is adjudged elected.
But all that changed with the Obi tsunami which swept away the party’s candidates during the presidential poll.
DAILY POST reports that the party has gone ahead to engage a former governor of the State, Barr. Sullivan Chime who is moving from one radio station to another campaigning for Mbah. Though Chime, a member of the APC said the PDP is dead, he told the Enugu electorate to vote for Mbah based on his personality.
In Anambra State, Governor Soludo is now all out, doing everything to have a majority of APGA members in the State House of Assembly. In a recent video, he was seen telling residents to vote in APGA lawmakers as he would not work with a member of any other party. He said such a lawmaker would only collect salary and go home, but would not get his attention for infrastructure.
The Governor had earlier claimed the video was doctored but in a statement through his Press secretary, Mr Chris Aburime, he said Obi’s call on the people to vote in LP candidates was rather deceptive, and was meant to lay landmines for him (Soludo).
He said: “That call was meant to deceive Anambra people. Obi cannot be talking about development in Anambra and also be talking about asking Anambra people to elect lawmakers from the opposition party to work with Soludo.
“He worked with a legislature that was dominated by lawmakers from the PDP, when he first came in as governor, and he knows that it was not easy for him.
“He even suffered impeachment because of that, and we hope it is not the same thing he wants to set Soludo up for.
“Anambra people should go all out next Saturday and vote for APGA, if they want the developmental strides of Mr Governor to continue.
“You can not be talking of development and at the same time talking of electing opposition politicians into the House of Assembly, it is not done. It is deceit.
“Anambra people supported Obi during the presidential election, and besides, Soludo refused to interfere as the people trooped out to vote for Labour Party, and that was even before Soludo made the environment conducive for people to come out and vote.
“We have voted for the Labour Party in the presidential election, but for the House of Assembly election, we are voting for APGA, and we want Anambra people to know so.”
It is fresh how Soludo rubished Obi’s emergence as the Presidential candidate of the LP. He wrote an open letter then insisting that Obi would not make an impact in the election. But Obi won over 90 percent of the Anambra votes without his (Soludo) support.
In Abia, the fear of the Obidients is also the beginning of political wisdom. The LP candidate, Alex Otti is no doubt gaining more popularity, a development troubling the PDP.
Speaking to DAILY POST, a highly placed source in the state said, “the Obidient Movement is no doubt a worrisome. Nobody can wave aside its impact, that is why we in Abia wish that Peter Obi should stay aside and allow the people make their choice. His presence will influence the votes and it won’t be in the interest of the PDP.”
It is not a different scenario in Delta State where Governor Ifeanyi Okowa’s daughter, Marilyn Okowa-Daramola has been spotted begging Obidients for votes.
The PDP candidate for House of Assembly, IKA South East constituency, was seen in a video begging LP supporters to please vote for her in the elections.
She said she knew they were angry but that they should forgive her and cast votes for her during the elections.
Peter Obi won Delta State during the presidential election despite the fact that the PDP vice-presidential candidate is from the state.
Analysts believe that the Obidients hold the key to who would emerge the next governor of the oil rich state.
In his remarks when contacted, a former National Chairman of Alliance for Democracy, AD, and National President, Njiko Igbo Forum, an affiliate of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Rev Okechukwu Obioha said there was no question of whether the Obidient Movement would spring further surprises.
He said. “Already, they gave a shocker during the Presidential/National Assembly elections. A lot of sceptics never gave the Obidients any chance; at a point they said it was four persons tweeting in a room; at another point they said, precisely El-Rufai, that they won’t get up to 200 persons; both Dino Melaya and all other people also said we are not going to sustain the steam, that it will evaporate with time.
“So, they were busy telling themselves lies until the Obidients took over the entire place; it has happened and God has used Nigerians who are tired to teach them a lesson.
“God came in himself and shocked the powers that be, particularly the PDP and the APC; the few that survived the tsunami are very happy; they escaped by the whiskers.”
Okechukwu stated that more shocker awaits the PDP owing to how the party treated Ndigbo.
“The way it treated Ndigbo right from the time of Ekwueme is not good at all; even though the South-East gave the PDP their all, they have never been fair to them.
“It was a kind of shock that they changed the goalpost in the middle of the game; APC also did the same thing. If you are talking about equity, everyone knows where the power should go, but they never wanted Ndigbo.
“Like Wike, you can see him making a lot of contradictions to himself, saying that he wanted power to come to the South, he is preaching equity. But it appears that as a lawyer he doesn’t any longer know what equity is all about.
“One is even wondering whether he is a lawyer or an agbero. If he is talking about equity, what is difficult in knowing that down South only South-East has not produced the president? That is why the centre could not hold for the G-5,” he added.
On the impact of the Obidient Movement ahead of the guber polls, Obioha had this to say: “because the PDP cheated us, we told them they are not going to even get 5 percent and that is what happened to them.
“In the guber election, it is going to be the same scenario, nothing is going to change; unfortunately, some good individuals will not make it because they are in the PDP.
“People are angry and they are going to demonstrate it by the 18th of March. Obidients are going to take over everywhere.
“Our principal, Peter Obi has been in Enugu, Abia, Edo, among others in the past few days and his message is clear- ‘vote for LP candidates’, and that is what all Obidients are going to do.
“We are going to vote LP top to bottom; by the time they see it, they will know we are serious. All those in PDP and APC are now politically accidented because we are going to vote LP all through.
“The one week extension is a blessing in disguise because it is giving Peter Obi the opportunity to run round the states. Yesterday he was in Enugu, today in Abia, he is like being moved by electricity. We want to make sure we deliver at least 13 states to LP.”
First published in DAILY POST