By Elempe Dele, Edo.
Obidient is now the stubborn chant, not like the then vexatious Sai Baba of 7 years ago or the tepid emi lo kan of that self-entitlement of today, that is gaining popularity each second in Nigeria. This is coming from indoctrinating zeal of all manners of disenchanted youth looking for alternatives and revolutionary solutions to the oppressive contradictions as occasioned by the political leaders of the nation. Of course, these youth consists of a huge population of bearers of a new political illumination, like the original illuminati. There are the future of the almost hopeless nation. If you go around and you are keen enough to observe, you will find out that these youth has formed very compact pacts of solidarity as the marginalized but are not yet graduated, as it might not happen, into practical anarchic demonstration of their collective anger. And this is where attention must be paid, as it was not done during the #EndSars Protests.
The ruling class have not been fair, as a matter of fact. They have only been able to protect themselves from dangers. And the overthrow of the Kuje Maximum Prison has proven that they might not even be save, especially those within prison confines such as Abba Kyari and Hon. Lawal.
The idea behind Obidient is the repudiation of the wealthy political class and an intended overthrow through democratic means. They are exploiters, an Obidient follower said to me in anger that their wealth emanate from the immoral exploitation and the extra labour of hardworking ordinary Nigerians.
However, the Obidient followers have a favourite slogan – all politicians are thieves – no innocent ones. They label everyone as socially disruptive and are advocating for the overthrow of the ruling class.
I do not share in this zone of gospelling even when I agree with the lamentable lapse of the ruling class. I do not believe that the restoration of the country can be ‘restored to the rightful owners’ by the collection of the Obidients as rapidly as possible in 2023. Yes, the movement is noble, but social and political revolutions without anarchy takes time.
Nothing can dissuade these ‘hot-body’ youth of the gospel of ‘quick restoration’ of their ‘ownership’ of the nation as promised by Peter Obi. Some have abandoned the virtue of modesty in their approach in living such act of restoration to the ‘slow’ political process that have began. They have constituted themselves to ‘quick agents’ of that promised restoration, without which, they are ready to die.
Should we continue to allow these agents of restoration, agents of political rhetorical hysteria that blinds and binds others dominate our political space? How are we not sure this could lead to unreflected agenda just the way the #EndSars Protests eventually dovetailed into near anarchy when it was hijacked by the relics of the society – the Mujahideens.
We must not look at this issue obliquely, we must be objective and understand the commitment to equitable dealing in addressing this very issue that is before us. The nature of what assail us politically today must take more than just our passing interests. The impassioned period of indictment of all political persons, the rhetorical triggers and the zone of gospelling that all of us in politics are criminals or guilty must take a front seat at the table of dialogue and group discussions.
The youth has received exemplary message of instruction in Obidient with a devastating potential that can spread and effect the entire political class of the nation if care is not taken. For an intense period that began recently after Peter Obi left PDP under which he served as a governor, the social media have been bombarded with chants and messages about his Messianic abilities, sometimes, at the level of superstitious transcendentalism. Yes, Obidient for some, aspire to religious faith. Some of these near hypnotic messages are based on wrong premises and facts. Yet, thousand are swept up in this hysterical mantra, Obidient, that was stimulated by the conditions of existence of the youth, has grown wide and far, even in some areas here in the north. Predictable, it is a matter of time before these hailing acquire a national anthem to replace the common one chanted half-hearted by citizens of this devastated nation. Individuals who disagree with the Obidient assigned reality are either abused or scorned. They look at it as unpatriotic act and sometimes account it as treason – the damning tag unNigeria activity. Yes, this is intervening belief is for the co-opting of the unwilling or the total rejection. This are made possible with ‘holding devices’ where other politicians are labeled criminals. They don’t wish to be contradicted, they are unaccustomed to it – they don’t accept it. It amounts to heresies not to believe in Obidient and say it publicly.
Let no one underestimate the Obidient factor especially now he has chosen a vice presidential candidate that is recommended to the desires of the youth. I have spoken with a lot of youth, the fervency of the mantra is very alive. The formerly detached youth of before are now politically conscious. They now talk, form compact groups and mobilize the electorates even if for now it is mostly on social media with less of equal on the ground structures to complement their efforts. Their natural inherent revolution against the political class has found a vent. These are choices of responses that is expected of such hopeless and striken citizens as the case of bad leadership came to its crescent under Buhari and the APC led administration.
I believe the idea behind Obidient, and it is necessary for socio-political awakening of the sleeping youth, but I do not agree all must follow the mantra blindfolded. I do not believe everyone must fall in line blindly. I don’t believe we should foreclose interrogative dialogue. I do not believe we can’t have moments of lucid intervals to interrogate the imperatives. I do not believe we should discard the unwilling. We must never stop talking about the dangers of monologue as against the potentials of dialogue especially in this symbolic timing in our nation’s history. A new spirit of dialogue must be encouraged as prescription against the dangers of continuing like zombies.