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Without doubt, for we believe – Dr Mo

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 him 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 that 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. For to heap the totality of the cause of the suffering in our lives on
the country is to birth a generation that may never build anything. Everyone I have met has their
Nigerian story like I do have mine.
As a church, we initiated creative events to arrest some of the
issues through conversation 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, there are those who 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 artists but with the
goal of raising 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 of his political ideology which embodies everything I have ever imagined the new
Nigeria should be: self-sufficient, detribalized, religious tolerant, gender inclusive, merit-based,
Nigerian. The latter is the base of his ideology – that Nigeria does not belong to Igbo, Hausa,
Yoruba, Ibibio, Berum, 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 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 to 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 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 of 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 are able to 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
which 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 for 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 life
time. 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 belief 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 facts, impact and the clearly evil motive roams mournfully in the heart of its author like the
ghost of an 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 – 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. Our duty is to make this possible. So, do not be deterred. Do not sell your
birth right. 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.

About Author.

Dr. Moses O. Paul is the team lead/presiding pastor at My Church Community Initiative,
member, Labour Party Presidential Campaign Council, National coordinator, Yell Out Nigeria
and an Environmental remediation expert.

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