By Sule Abubakar Lucky Mark
The throwing of verbal punches soars dramatically, and I don’t know when it will come to a screeching halt. These Obidients are radical but not tactical. To them, all that glitters is Obi, and all that is Obi glitters! And if it is not Obi, then it should not be any other person. All that is Obi should be deified, but all that is not should be demonised, demolished and desecrated. What insolence!
Of course, political wrangling is not bad. On the contrary, a sensible, harmless political dispute beautifies democracy, especially as it has almost become our culture in Nigeria during electioneering. However, if it is taken to the extremes, that is when such political culture becomes autocratically undemocratic!
When people declare their interest/candidacy, they automatically sign up for public scrutiny and surveillance. And as we all know, deep-seated criticism is one of the essential components of democracy. ‘It’, according to Professor Farooq Kperogi, ‘marks the difference between autocracy and democracy.’ Unfortunately, this central democratic constituent is subdued in Nigeria, especially by some of these Obidients.
Peter Obi has been literally deified (aka ‘godified’) by most of his supporters, especially the ones I have seen and met. Whenever Obi is subject to intense scrutiny, it is considered blasphemy. They have malevolently vilified me (and others, too) for harmlessly asking questions and even writing objectively on Obi. Some of them come up with unsubstantiated claims that some people have paid me to write what I write or that I have some political affiliations with certain presidential candidates. Some of the Obidients go as far as sending irritating, threatening and accusatory PMs to me. Funnily enough, an elderly Obidient told my first cousin that my cousin should not greet him again for supporting a different candidate from his.
This visceral deification of Obi was surprisingly taken to the extremes when I saw some Obidients threaten other people with metaphysical and extrajudicial threats of death. On Facebook and, especially, on Twitter, the more intense your criticism of Obi, the higher your threat. And the milder your criticism of Obi, the milder your invective from the Obidients!
Democracy, as I always say, is choice-driven. So, you can’t use asinine threat, weak-kneed verbal causticity, and the modern pejorative sense of rhetoric to compel others in a democratic setting. Coercion is an infringement on the democratic rights of people!
Every criticism hurled at Obi is considered by this set of Obidients as sacrilegious. When Obi is brought under even the littlest public scrutiny, such public scrutiny would be instantly met with their stiffest form of opposition. Their belief in the sacredness of Obi is as strong as they come, but I can unequivocally say that Obi, like every other Nigerian politician, is not some infallible demigod. So, the beatification of Obi should stop now!
If the ‘Obidient movement’ is for ‘political revolution’, as they say, why do they still tow the path of vulgarity which could eventually stymie their goals? Such hostility towards other people could make Peter Obi’s chance of winning the election peter out because the more they are hostile towards people, the more they unwittingly drive prospective supporters away.
Supporters are won over through brilliant persuasion, not through the usual throwing of verbal punches at other people and the hurling of rhetorical missiles at prospective voters/supporters!
Sule Abubakar Lucky Mark via email@example.com.