The Obidient Movement which powered the Labour Party (LP) to a stunning performance in the February 25 presidential and national legislative elections is a golden event in Nigeria’s political history, according to Chijioke Edeoga, the party’s gubernatorial candidate in Enugu State in the election this weekend.
“The country has not seen anything near the Obidient Movement since 1999 when democratic rule was restored”, Edeoga, a lawyer and journalist, told journalists in Enugu today.
“It has broken sectional and ethnic as well as age and other demographic barriers in Nigeria”.
The movement started only eight months ago when Peter Obi, the popular Anambra State governor between 2006 and 2014 respected for his frugality, simplicity and humility, joined the Labour Party and energised mostly the youth across the nation yearning for an alternative to the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) which have at different times been ruling Nigeria since1999 with little to show for it.
Both major parties have squandered not just Nigeria’s resources but also the country’s future, said Edeoga who studied law in the United Kingdom after practising journalism for more than a decade in Nigeria and spent four years in the House of Representatives.
“Our candidate provided a glimmer of hope for the youth and other Nigerians who want a new social order, and so they voted for him overwhelmingly on February 25, but the forces of reaction and corruption who want the discredited staus quo to remain bandied together to frustrate a fundamental shift in Nigeria’s politics, history and development.
“We are confident of retrieving our mandate from the court which remains the last hope of our people”.
The Enugu LP candidate is proud of the efforts of the Obidient Movement that “resulted in Obi being officially declared the winner in the two most important and cosmopolittan states in Nigeria, Lagos, the country’s commercial centre, and the Federal Capital Territory of Abuja, the administrative capital.”
He told newsmen that the movement is bringing the primordial forces of tribalism and religious politics to an end.
“What we are seeing today”, he stated, “ is what someone has described as the last kicks of a dying horse”, decrying the “desperate efforts of the candidate of a particular candidate” in his home state of Enugu to introduce sectarian and clannish politics in the struggle for the governorship.
“He was roundly rejected and booed at in different churches even during service on Sunday March 5, and he managed to escape through the back door”.
Edeoga criticised his major opponents as crass opportunists for opposing Peter Obi and working for other presidential candidates during the presidential electioneering campaign, “but are now claiming to belong to the Obidient Movement.
“We saw their billboards two weeks ago advertising Obi’s rivals, and they now think our people have all of a sudden forgotten their awful antecedents”.
He advised Enugu people to vote LP in not just the governorship but also in the state legislative election.
“I need to work as the Enugu State governor with members of the House of Assembly who understand and share the vision of a new social order in our dear state.
“The Labour Party will do better than in the February 25 election that saw outgoing Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of the PDP beaten by Okey Ezea of the Labour Party who scored 104,948 votes as opposed to Ugwuanyi who managed to get a mere 46,948 votes”.
The Labour Party aslo won seven out of the eight House of Representatives and one out of the two senate seats declared. The Enugu senatorial election will be held this weekend following the assassination of the LP candidate, Oyibo Chukwu, a former Nigerian Bar Association chairman. Chief Chukwu has now been replaced by his younger brother, Kelvin Chukwu, a law graduate and entrepreneur.