By Valentine Ozigbo
THERE comes a defining moment in the life of any country when all people of good conscience must stand up to be counted. Those times offer no middle ground; you are either on the dark side or on the side of the light.
For Nigeria, 2023 is such a moment. Nigerians will be divided into two classes – those who will work to entrench the forces that have destroyed Nigeria or those warriors of the light who will work to bring justice, equity, and peace to our beloved country. And next year, as we go to the polls to elect a new president, there will be no fences to sit on.
Under the incumbent president, Nigerians have suffered untold hardships. Never in this country’s storied history has it been decimated and devastated by a government as it has been under General Muhammadu Buhari’s All Progressive Congress (APC).
Our economy has practically crumbled before our eyes. Disunity and suspicion now define the fabric of our country. Obscene levels of corruption and looting continue to dominate our news headlines. Terrorists, bandits, robbers, kidnappers, ritualists, and cultists now operate openly and without fear of law enforcement. Infrastructure across the country has been left to decay. Our social safety systems have all collapsed.
All over Nigeria – from Abuja to Akure, from Bauchi to Benin, from Daura to Degema, from Enugu to Epe, from Jos to Jalingo, from Sokoto to Sapele, from Kaduna to Koko, from Nsukka to Numan, from Maiduguri to Makurdi, from Yola to Yenagoa – from North to South, it doesn’t matter where you choose, Nigerians are living under the siege of criminals, the siege of poverty, the siege of a collapsing nation. Nigerians have lost the zeal for life, and violation of human lives is the new normal.
Clearly, the All Progressives Congress (APC) has failed at leadership. They have failed on all their campaign promises. The party has effectively pushed Nigeria to the brink, and the 2023 election is existential, and we must make deliberate and conscious choices.
When we vote in February, we will have two clear options before us. Either we sustain the old corrupt brigade, an inept and outmoded class of politicians running on naked ambition and a raw desire for power, or we turn away from our past and embrace the new possibilities of a bright future.
THE YOUTH TAKE-OVER
Fuelled by an undying love for country and a burning passion for changing Nigeria, the youth have risen boldly and intentionally to get their voices heard. They have rejected the lust for power of politicians that ought to be in retirement. They have consciously chosen who they want to lead them into the next four years.
In taking a stand, the Nigerian youth have done what their grandfathers have refused to do. They considered fairness, justice, and equity. They embraced the path of unity for Nigeria. They have adopted a bold vision of a country where every kind of Nigerian is carried along irrespective of beliefs, faith, tribe, language, gender, and social status. They are committed to seeing that peace returns to Nigeria and that we experience the true promise of our founding fathers.
This magical movement, a youth-driven political revolution, is inspired by the candidacy of Peter Obi, a modern-day leader who we can all believe in.
Our country has never seen this level of passion in the youth. Instead of criticism and unfair attacks, these courageous and gifted youth deserve the support and encouragement of all Nigerians.
The Obi-dient Movement cannot be ignored, shamed, or waved away. It is the fastest growing and biggest political movement in Nigeria today. The forces that have imprisoned the dreams of the younger generations of this country are terrified because they know the unstoppable power of the youth.
THE PETER OBI I KNOW
His Excellency, Peter Obi was the governor of my home state of Anambra for eight years. The groundswell of support that his candidacy is receiving from Anambra, the South East, and the entire country is based mainly on the revolutionary, inclusive, and inspiring leadership he demonstrated as a governor.
Before he was 40 years, Peter Obi had created an enviable mark in the private sector. A multiple-award-winning banker, entrepreneur, and globally trained business leader, Obi took the helm of Anambra State after a long fight for justice. Eight years later, he had completely transformed the leadership culture in Anambra with his style of down-to-earth grassroots engagement, prudential management of resources, and keen vision for qualitative transformation.
Peter Obi is the Nigerian politician I have the utmost respect for. Having worked with him closely during my governorship campaign in 2021, I can attest that Obi is a thoughtful, kind, and generous leader who seeks excellence in all he does. After spending many months working with this phenomenal human, I am convinced that he has an abiding love for Nigeria and all Nigerians. He has the right vision for this country, the temperance, and the capacity and experience to take Nigeria out of these troubled waters and lead us to a land of promise.
I acknowledge the brilliant choice of His Excellency Peter Obi’s running mate, Dr Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed. Together, this is an unbeatable presidential ticket, and they deserve the support of all well-meaning Nigerians.
Pulled by the brilliance of the candidacy of Peter Obi and Yusuf Datti, inspired by the passion of the Nigerian youth, and driven by an undying love for Nigeria, I, Valentine Ozigbo, at this moment, formally join the Obi-dient Movement.
From what I know about His Excellency Peter Obi, if we join our hearts and hands and elect him as our next president, I can guarantee that he will be the best president Nigeria has ever had. I genuinely believe that his emergence has a divine inspiration. With his track record as one of the best governors in Nigeria’s history, he has the best character, competence, capacity, and compassion in the presidential race today.
A few hours ago, I informed His Excellency Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of my erstwhile party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), of my decision to resign from the PDP and throw my weight behind Peter Obi. I assured him of my abiding love and respect for him as a father, a leader, and a friend, even as I told him I had to follow my conscience and what I feel is best for Nigeria. We cannot afford to replace Buhari with any version of the same.
I call on all Nigerians to join hands with us as we work to transform the promise and dreams of Nigeria into reality. We must get it right in 2023, we can, and we must.
***Valentine Ozigbo is an inspirational Nigerian political figure who is a multiple-award-winning global CEO. He was the governorship candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the 2021 Anambra election. He can be reached via Instagram @valyntino.