By Mubarak Shu’aib Hardawa
With the 2023 general election underway in a matter of weeks, it turns out that William Shakespeare was right about sound and fury, signifying nothing: All the ObiDient social media noise and online activism will ultimately amount to zilch, zero, and zip. And here’s why!
The ObiDient online movement is still ongoing but packed significantly less of a punch, especially in the Northern part of the country where Obi needed to do a lot of backbreaking work to sell his candidacy. The fan base alone cannot push a candidate to the glory. Suppose there’s one general rule about winning Presidential Election in Nigeria. In that case, the candidate must have the luxury of time, money and a bare-knuckled brawler, which Mr Obi is trying to midwife at the moment.
Remember in 2015, when President Muhammadu Buhari was contesting against then-President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan? Despite commanding the respect of the masses, he had to make an alliance with some political parties and run to the support of Atiku Abubakar et al. to make it to the finish line. That’s the trick Mr Obi wants to get up his sleeve by romancing Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State. But, unfortunately, it is a move many ObiDient find uncanny, as some reactions suggest in the aftermath of his meeting with the Rivers State Governor.
In a piece titled “I think this romance is dangerous”, Princewill ODIDI, a staunch ObiDient and a public figure, wrote: “Obi’s romance with Wike and the likes is gradually killing the ObiDient message of change.” He added, “I strongly feel as a leader of Labor party, Obi is playing a dangerous game. When the chips are down in February next year, all these guys will abandon Obi and return to their parties.”
I have never been one to jump on the ObiDient-hate bandwagon, but the fact is that Obi has to form allies with the people you, again and again, castigate if he means business. That’s politics for you. I’m saying this with neither glee nor sorrow, merely as an absolute political fact. The Obi’s goose is cooked.
But whether romancing with those whom ObiDient consider ‘corrupt’ affects his popularity among the fan base is another thing altogether. After all, the former PDP vice-presidential aspirant has reshaped the Labor party in his image and still commands the loyalty of a deeply devoted core of die-hard fans, for whom he can do no wrong.
Money, mo what? Money. Money plays a significant role in Nigerian politics. The last gubernatorial election held in Osun State was mainly seen as a repudiation of the claims that money isn’t a factor. ‘You no dey give shi-shi? Nigerian politics is not for you! You have to spend, spend and spend. Downplaying this fact is defined as “perilousness.”
Although I understand criticism such as this one pointed at Obi’s way, among the ObiDient is like criticising Jesus in a rural evangelical church. I guarantee you; it would change no views.
But these are hard pills which Mr Obi should make his supporters swallow. And that’s what real politics is. Breaking the duopoly of APC & PDP will cost not only Shi-Shi but also Bullion vans. I hope that didn’t ring a bell, Lol.
So rest in peace, ObiDients, it’s been a wild ride, but it looks like the world will finally return to normality again. And as much as it’s been fun, sooner or later, Mr Obi will be out of the closet by choosing between you or the power brokers.
Mubarak Shu’aib Hardawa wrote from Misau LGA, Bauchi State, Nigeria, via email@example.com.