FEATURE ARTICLE

Wednesday, September 21, 2022
Ogul1@optonline.net
New York, USA
THE NON-VIOLENT PEOPLE'S DEMOCRACY UNFOLDING IN NIGERIA

Ex-Gov Peter Obi

igerians across generations are marching to demonstrate their resolve to take back their country from the control of the corrupt self-serving political class. Contrary to the twisted narrative of the establishment media and the political class, we see on the streets, peaceful, passionate, energetic, hopeful, and joyous Obidient rallies.

People under oppressive forms of governance have always employed various means to convey their discontent, challenge power, and press for change. Nigerians have used protests against various forms of repressive conditions pre- and post-colonial rule. There was the Aba Women's riot, the Abeokuta Ladies Club uprising, the Ali Must Go students' protest, led by the late Segun Okeowo against the then Federal Commissioner of Education Col. Ahmadu Ali; the June 12 protests against the military regime of General Sani Abacha, the 2012 protest against the removal of oil subsidy, the EndSARS protest, and others. Most of these protests involved violence and bloodshed.

Since independence, a majority of Nigerians dissatisfied with their hostage condition have been silent or acquiescent. However, the gales of change have been gathering pace and gaining momentum around the Obidient movement. Almost every weekend since the emergence of the Nigerian Labor Party presidential candidate, there have been youth marches in major cities across Nigeria. It is thrilling to watch the silent majority transform themselves into a visible and vocal majority.

The most striking observation about the Obidient movement is the peaceful marches that have been taking place. The reasons for the protest are incontrovertible. Their message to reclaim Nigeria from the corrupt and decrepit political class and build a better Nigeria is crystal clear. Yet the deep cleaving chatter by the Nigerian media elite is that the Obidient youth are harassing, bullying, and intimidating those who disagree with them on social media. The media elite, playing to their patrons, have regrettably positioned themselves as political hacks, instead of reporting the news and educating the people. As part of their hack job, they are sullying the Obidient youth with derogatory labels and pummeling their candidate, Peter Obi with tough questions, but thus far, have not subjected the other candidates to the same hard line of questions. In keeping with his capabilities, Peter Obi has held up superbly. The irony is that those who brought death, destruction, and excruciating hardship to Nigerians want to be allowed to wreck Nigeria unchallenged.

Regardless of the smearing and distortion, the Obidients and many other Nigerians can decipher fact from fiction and truth from fallacies. Contrary to the twisted narrative of the establishment media and the political class, we see on the streets only peaceful, passionate, energetic, hopeful, and joyous Obidient rallies. Nigerians across generations are marching to demonstrate their resolve to reclaim their country from the control of the corrupt, self-serving political class.

The veiled motives of those accusing the Obidients of abusive and violent behavior are becoming evident. The truth is manifest in the disparity between the media portrait of the Obidients and the peaceful non-violent marches on the streets. It shows that those accusing the Obidients are engaging in political blight to incite violence. They are trying hard to drive the Obidient youth into a dark corner where a confluence of tension could ignite violent clashes. They want to enact the cycle of destruction and decline that has marred attempts for transformation in Nigeria and other African countries. The violent attempt to disrupt the Obidient rally at Ebonyi State and the frivolous lawsuit in Lagos State to thwart the forthcoming rally on October first, is indicative of the evil machinations of the political class. It is regrettable that a governor of an Igbo state was used as the spearhead of the plot to violently repress peaceful Obidient rallies.

Though modern democratic practices have proven challenging for most African nations, the Obi-youth movement shows that Nigerians can embark on non-violent rallies to demand change. They are not only protesting against the system that has held them hostage but are simultaneously redefining democracy for themselves. The road to a new Nigeria is under construction with this movement. History has shown that a people united under a common purpose, can take on an incredible challenge and accomplish things they never dreamed possible. Now that the youth have found a way to leverage their voice and power, the task ahead is to ensure that they get the opportunity to build the Nigeria they desire and deserve.

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