As the 2023 General elections draw near, young Nigerians are now more than ever, interested in the political situation of the country. But something must have triggered this wave by the youths who have lined up behind Mr Peter Obi, the presidential candidate of the Labour Party. With mass registration and sensitisation, social media campaigns, self-sponsored door-to-door campaigns and meticulous organisation at various levels, these self-called “Obidients”, tech-savvy young Nigerians are deploying their expertise and resources to ensure that their preferred candidate wins the 2023 presidential election. This then begs the question, why are young Nigerians head over heels for Peter Obi?
Below are 10 reasons for the Peter Obi movement championed by Nigerian youths:
1. They see the two main political parties as two sides of the same coin: Most young Nigerians view the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), and main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), as two sides of the same coin, especially as the political elites alternate between these two parties, they barely have any difference in terms of ideology and character. The political harlotry that has persisted between these two parties makes them alike and Nigerians have not seen a solution to the problems that have plagued this nation since its inception. Young Nigerians are now looking for a better alternative.
2. Obi seen as the best alternative: Among all the main presidential candidates for the forthcoming 2023 elections, most young Nigerians see Peter Obi as the best candidate that has their interests at heart. This is most evident in the age difference of the presidential candidates of the two main political parties whose flagbearers are in their 70s. Having witnessed Muhammadu Buhari’s incessant medical travels and health issues, young Nigerians do not want another absentee president who would spend most of his term in office treating old-age illnesses.
3. Proven background record: Amidst certificate and identity scandals that are rocking the two main political parties, Peter Obi is probably the only one who has a proven background record and has been vocal about people with doubts to “Go and Verify”, a phrase that has become popular among his supporters and seemingly shows the transparency of their candidate. As the presidency of the country is a very powerful and sensitive one, young Nigerians do not want a president who would later be outed as an identity thief, someone with a past criminal record or even a fugitive.
4. Justice for the Southeast: In Nigeria’s political landscape, people from the Southeast have always gotten the short end of the stick, with eight years of a Northern presidency, many Nigerians clamoured for power to be zoned to the Southeast in the principle of equity and fairness as the region has not touched the corridors of power since the return of democracy in 1999. With Peter Obi being the only main presidential candidate from the Southeast, young Nigerians only feel it is fair to support him as the two main political parties have failed to pick a presidential or vice-presidential candidate from the region, ultimately sidelining them.
5. He seems to be the only one with the magic wand for Nigeria’s problems: Among all the major presidential candidates, Peter Obi, to his young supporters, seem to be the only one who has constantly laid out his plans for a better Nigeria as the other candidates are on vacation abroad. Mr Obi has been seen granting numerous interviews, speaking at various events and telling Nigerians about his plan for the country. This was even glaring when he visited Egypt to understudy their electricity sector and how to replicate such in Nigeria to salvage the country’s abysmal electricity problems, a move highly criticised by the opposition.
6. His frugal nature, a model for Nigeria: It is established by economic experts that Nigeria has a revenue and spending problem. Young Nigerians, and indeed most Nigerians, have constantly complained about the high cost of governance that has served the country little benefits. With politicians feeding fat with humongous salaries and allowances as the country sinks neck-deep in debts with little revenue to pay workers’ salaries and tend to other pressing national issues that require funding like the health and education sectors. Mr Peter Obi’s reputation for frugality (no de give shishi), while he was Governor of Anambra State, is one that they believe should be a model for Nigeria.
7. Very relatable character: For a country like Nigeria where there is a huge divide between the political class and the masses, and governance in Nigeria is seen as a master-servant relationship rather than a service to the people relationship, young Nigerians want a president that is relatable and feels the pulse of the people, especially for a country where the political class is shielded from the sufferings and groanings of the people. Peter Obi is known for flying on commercial planes with the people rather than on private jets like his colleagues, waiting on the queue at airports rather than being offered special attention, pushing his own luggage and so on even while he was a governor and after.
8. Young people want to own the Narrative: Having been referred to as lazy youths, exploited by the political class and brutalised by state actors, the “Sọrọ sókè” generation now want to own the narrative and take charge of their destiny.
9. EndSARs Experience: In the aftermath of the “EndSARS” movement and the bloody massacre that abruptly ended it, the “coconut head” generation who have conquered other fields of endeavour now want to replicate such in the Nigerian political space and take back their country from the political elites who seem to have run the country aground. To take back the ship of Nigeria and set her on the right path, young Nigerians believe they have found a competent captain in Mr Peter Obi.
10. Events around the world: Young Nigerians watched in awe as young people around the world took back their countries, from France to Chile to Finland. Young Nigerians feel it is high time they took back their country from State Capture if they ever want to leave a better country for their unborn generations.