Members of the Nigerians in Diaspora Youth Coalition (NDYC) and thousands of supporters of the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi on Saturday took to the streets of Benin City, the Edo State capital, to rally support for the ex-Anambra governor.
CAMPUS GIST’s Publisher, Ogochukwu Isioma, who personally monitored the rally and joined in the movement by his team from start to finish, reports that the rally was generally very peaceful and free of rancour.
As early as 7:30AM, members of the NDYC and other support groups under the “OBIdient Movement”, gathered in front of the University of Benin main gate, in preparation for the march, on a day which marks the nation’s 62nd independence anniversary.
Despite the early morning downpour, the supporters showed enthusiasm to defy the weather. Security operatives were on ground to provide cover for the ‘OBIdients’ who later converged at the popular King Square, Ring Road, in the hearts of Benin.
The LP supporters chanted various pro-democracy songs as they marched from the UNIBEN main gate, Ugbowo; Adolor, Uwasota, Uselu Market, Uselu Shell, down to Five Junction axis, to converge at Ring Road.
The ‘OBIdients’ were joined at every point by senior citizens irrespective of age groups, ethnic divide, religious affiliations and occupation to rally behind the ambition of Peter Obi ahead of the 2023 presidential election.
At the famous Ring Road, the Obi’s supporters were joined by newlyweds waving flags of the Labour Party bearing photos of the LP Presidential Candidate and former Anambra State governor.
Addressing journalists, Comrade David Salami, Co-ordinator of the NDYC local branch, said the Nigerian youths have come out in their numbers to put an end to the strike in the country, adding that with Obi, there will be no strike in the nation’s universities.
“We are here for a two million man march for Obi and Datti, Labour Party presidential candidate and his running mate, but to our greatest surprise, Edo people have proven that they don’t take last.
“You can see the mammoth crowd. We are well over four million. King Square is locked down. Members of support groups from different platforms are all here. Ikpoba Hill, Ugbowo, Ekenwan road axis, Upper Sokponba, Airport Road, they are all here.
“So, Edo is fully Obi-dient. Even the governor knows that Edo is fully Obi-dient. We have told them to go and get their PVCs and vote for Labour Party, Peter Obi who represents the youths, who we know will change the narrative of the Nigerian people, who will not put us on strike again. We have been on strike for the past seven months without anybody addressing the issue. So, we are Obi-dient to labour Party”.
On his part, a former Attorney-General of the state, Osagie Obayuwana, who addressed the mammoth crowd at Ring Road, charged the people to go home and take the message to the nook and cranny of the state with the view of changing the narrative.
He said the country is rich and can afford to take care of its citizens, adding that just recently some individuals were refunding the money in millions all in the name of rent allowances.
Obayuwana said those who were given the money were already having their houses, stating that with Obi, such corruption will stop and the money meant for the people will no longer go into the hands of a few individuals in the country.
Several other demonstrators, who hindered vehicular movements within the Benin metropolis, said they decided to use October 1 to drum up support for Obi’s candidacy, who, according to them, was capable of liberating Nigerians from the shackles of poverty, mitigating the rising unemployment level, revamping the dwindling educational quality and delivering good governance.
Aggrieved with the current state of Africa’s most populous nation, the supporters, who wore “OBI/DATTI 2023″ branded t-shirts with “OBI/DATTI 2023” unanimously stated they will become the “structure” to catapult Obi to Nigeria’s seat of power.
Displaying placards with various inscriptions such as, “With Obi/Datti, a new Nigeria is possible”, “If symptoms persists after 62 years, please seek the help of a saviour”, the ‘Obidients’ reiterated their stance against accepting money in exchange for votes and pleaded with Nigerians in other states to do same and join the movement in reclaiming the country.
“They said we don’t have structure, but you can see for yourself that we have what it takes to boost Obi’s voting numbers. We are here for good governance to support the Obi movement and this is how we want to create awareness,” said one of the supporters.
“What can we show as a country at 62? No electricity, unemployment is on the increase, there is bad health facilities, pensioners can’t even enjoy their entitlements and benefits. What about the poor infrastructure? All I can say is Nigeria is in a mess.”
Meanwhile, the Labour Party (LP) Presidential Candidate, Peter Obi has acknowledged the massive support from his followers otherwise known as “OBIdients” who rallied round behind his candidacy across the country on October 1st.
Taking to his verified Twitter handle, the ex-Anambra governor wrote, “Dear OBIdients, today will go down in history as a day Nigerians spoke with one united voice; the message is clear and simple – A NEW NIGERIA IS POSSIBLE!
“From Lagos, Bauchi, Benin City, Warri, Osogbo, Kaduna, Uyo, Aba, London, New York and many more, OBIdients made a bold statement with generally very peaceful rallies. The very young, and old men and women in their millions marched in solidarity and in support of our collective vision of a New Nigeria.
“I salute Nigerian Youths. I thank you all most sincerely, for your passion, resolve and resiliency. You have shown the world that Nigeria is ready for change, and that the majority are ready to lead the way.
“Thank you all for the sacrifices. Our labours shall never be in vain and there is no stopping us now.
“May Almighty God bless you all and bless the Federal Republic of Nigeria. -PO.”