Without Doubt For We Believe6 min read
By Dr. Moses O. Paul
I once met a 20-year-old who wore the wreck of a life. He had had a hard life and was at the early stages of a criminal start. We saved him, rehabilitated hi,m and gave him a home in the tiny community we had built out of tears and pain and anguish of many talented young people taking their gazes away from the right path. His story would remind me of my journey and how much work, luck and faith went into becoming me. One thing stood out in all the stories – Nigeria had failed them. As a pastor, I have tried to guide the flock away from the path of self-absolution to the place of responsibility. To heap, the totality of the cause of the suffering in our lives in the country is to birth a generation that may never build anything.
Everyone I have met has their Nigerian story as I do have mine. As a church, we initiated creative events to arrest some of the issues through conversations featuring established names in the public and private sectors. We got some promising results. But the pattern remained. Until we widened the sample space of opinions, we did not realize how deep this blame mentality is buried in our national life.
Most Nigerians have no faith in the country and so do not see themselves as owing it any obligations or respect giving rise to a rat race to personal, tribal, or sectorial attainment. As a young undergraduate at the University of Abuja, I knew the taste of hardship and how much of the primordial idea of survival was applied by many students in my day. While some of it may be positive for those who survived, some were consumed in the needless struggle.
May I then say that I am a witness to the Nigeria that failed; a witness to survival in a failed Nigeria; a glitter of the hope that Nigeria will survive. I have held on to this belief since my first event in the early 2000s – a series of musical concerts featuring international art to raise national consciousness. I made sure to sneak in the then-not-too-known Dike Chukwumerije at strategic times during an event for a poetry rendition. His excellent Delivery made sure the audience who were mostly Nigerians got the message. Rev. Gbaja’s sermons on patriotism and nationalism cemented the broth. This has remained the course of my life since and will remain so till Nigeria is saved.
I have taken the liberty of the above detour to lay bare the foundation of my ideology and the basis for my unalloyed support for the presidential bid of Mr. Peter Obi. I have always dreamt of a formidable third force with an unpredictable rise uncultured in the ways of the political establishment represented by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and All Progressives Congress (APC), to lead the march to the new Nigeria. It would be forged and led by the people on a banner of competence, equity, and justice.
The emergence of Mr. Peter Obi as the flag bearer of the Labour Party, a hitherto unknown political party, gave flesh to my dream. I became an instant convert to his political ideology which embodies everything I have ever imagined the new Nigeria should be: self-sufficient, detribalized, religiously tolerant, gender inclusive, merit-based, and Nigerian. The latter is the base of his ideology – that Nigeria does not belong to Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, Ibibio, Begum, Efik, or any of the over five hundred tribes.
Nigeria belongs to Nigerians. And to truly reflect the core of the message, Nigeria should be led by a Nigerian at all tiers of government. Without a doubt, the only candidate that has exemplified the true qualities of Nigerianness is Mr. Peter Obi. For one, he has shown his readiness to share his message with the Nigerian voter with clarity and precision. He has also bared information about his life and journey with the Nigerian public leaving no doubt about his personal and public attainments.
This can hardly be said of his opponents especially, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar of the PDP and Asiwaju Ahmed Bola Tinubu of the APC who have variously turned down invitations to debates and town halls or sent surrogates in lieu. Any curious observer of national issues would agree that Nigeria cannot afford to leap from one absentee president to another in 2023. The implications will be worse than our current reality. We also do not need a sick president or one with a pending
allegation of criminality in the judicial system of one of our allies. Such a president can never earn the country the respect it requires. Rather, such an individual will cause the country embarrassment on an international scale and blackmail.
I know these things are hard to say and may be ridiculously described as hate speech by certain sections of the media. But they are truths that must be told to a country gliding towards a major election.
Unfortunately, most of our population is yet to grasp the reality of politics in the lives of the citizens of any country. The
influence is total. Politics is our entire life. So we must guard our choices with the utmost care.
As research results have shown, there is a positive correlation between political participation and national development. In countries with high political participation, citizens can elect credible candidates or recall inept officials thus affecting political decisions and contributing to governance.
The 2023 elections hold a gleam of hope in political participation as seen in the massive nationwide turnout during the Continuous Voter Registration (C.V.R) exercise. The bulk of this is driven by what is now known as the ObiDatti Movement – a group heavily populated by young Nigerians fed up with the incompetence of the PDP and APC, demanding better deals from the government. In this camp are some of the young people I mentioned in my detour and
older Nigerians like me who live every day with the hope of seeing a new Nigeria in our lifetime. I used to think that the dream may never leave my nightly sleep and meet me in the morning as the newness before my eyes. Now, I believe that it will happen in my time. It is already here and a Nigerian presidency led by Mr. Peter Obi is the key. His promotion of and consistent push on issues-based politics has changed the narrative in our politics. No more will anyone deceive Nigerians with lies and materials pilfered from our commonwealth. Nigerians are wide awake and ready to defend their votes. If there is any proximity to political sanity, this is it.
Now you know why we are unbothered by the lies of APC and PDP. Or the ill-fated diatribe from someone of the statue of Prof. Chukwuma Soludo, who has chosen to play politics with the truth. That letter remains one of the most disgraceful writs by a Nigerian public officer. It is dead in fact, impact and the evil motive roam mournfully in the heart of its author like the ghost of unsown remains. It is disheartening that a governor whose victory was widely celebrated as a testament to the hope for a new Nigeria would submit himself to the wiles of peoples and systems whose only intention is to see Nigeria in perpetual decline. Like them, he will not succeed.
I applaud our party, campaign council, and support groups who worked tirelessly to ensure that our manifesto, Pact with Nigeria, is released to the Nigerian public, as I encourage every Nigerian voter to read the document and make their decision based on the issues and the creative solutions proffered.
I close by saluting the doggedness, resilience, and dedication of Obidients all over the world to our cause which – is Nigeria. If we save Nigeria, we save ourselves. If we all leave Nigeria, one day the world will send us packing. There is no place like home. Literarily. We must build our country. It is where we truly belong. The old political system must be shown the way out if we
must make progress. We must make this possible. So, do not be deterred. Do not sell your birthright. You cannot afford to be an armchair voter. You have to go get your PVC, encourage others to get theirs, and come out on election day to cast your vote. Spread the ObiDatti message however you can. Be a hand.
Dr. Moses O. Paul is the team lead/presiding pastor at My Church Community Initiative, a member of, Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, National coordinator, Yell Out Nigeria and an Environmental remediation expert.