The All Progressives Congress (APC), has disclosed its plan to neutralise the influence of the Labour Party presidential aspirant, Peter Obi and his ‘Obidients’ movement as the 2023 general election approaches.
According to the party’s campaign team, plans are underway to adopt strategies to curb the ‘Obidient’ movement ahead of the 2023 general elections. Naija News gathered that a party chieftain, who is also said to be the party’s presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu’s strategists, who pleased anonymity confirmed that the party has truly intended to devise a strategy to break Obi’s influence. According to him, Tinubu doesn’t intend to ignore the growing popularity of Obi and his Obidients movement. The source said, “let me tell you what we are considering now to neutralise the movement. Two things will be involved in the electoral campaigns: issues and sentiments. There is always voter apathy in the South-West and if at all there is going to be an increase (in voters’ turnout) in the South-West now, it is going to be pro-Asiwaju because the Igbo people are stamping on our authority in our zone. I am not joking. Let me tell you about the ‘Obidients’, the ‘Obidients’ are a movement that cannot be swept under the carpet and I can tell you that they will shift the political terrain of this country. The campaign method of the Obi supporters will help the APC in Lagos. The average Yoruba in Lagos, even if they don’t like Asiwaju, they are bent on voting for him to silence the Igbo in Lagos at once. They reduced Obi’s chances by saying Lagos belongs to everybody; it is not a bonus for Obi. If there is going to be any increase, which I am sure voter apathy will reduce in this election, tribal and religious sentiments will play an important role. The turnout won’t favour Obi.” Tinubu’s strategist advanced that “the average Igbo man is also not talking about Biafra or IPOB now; they are talking about Peter Obi. So, definitely, the Igbo will come out to vote and they will vote for Obi (of the LP) and the PDP in the East. Our campaign now is that we don’t have a choice in Yorubaland and the South-West apart from the APC. The APC is the only party that has given us the opportunity to have a candidate. So, apart from Asiwaju, the South-West does not have any other person (in the presidential contest). That is the campaign I am going to personally lead now sentiment. Without Asiwaju, the Yoruba will have nothing (after 2023). It is not about Asiwaju being good or bad, the Yoruba are stuck with him. I am not joking; it is common sense,” The Punch reported. Meanwhile, the APC’s Presidential Campaign Council (PCC) spokesman, Festus Keyamo was also reported to have said there was no way Obi will win Lagos and some of the South-West states, adding that it was no news that the average Nigerian is aware that the ruling APC will emerge winner in the forthcoming election. Keyamo pointed out that the success of the LP rallies held in Lagos by the ‘Obidient’ movement and all the party’s foot soldiers is not an indication that Tinubu is losing his stronghold of the South-West. The campaign spokesman in a Punch Newspaper report noted that “we are having no sleepless night at all. We are sleeping very well as we are confident of victory. Nobody is losing sleep that Lagos or any of our strongholds will be lost.” In support of Keyamo’s stand was his deputy, Hannatu Musawa, who also maintained that the Obidient movement is just a regional and social media creation. According to him, as much as Obi enjoys popularity in the South, doesn’t mean he is popular in other parts of the country, and that is why constitutionally, one must have a geographical spread. “This election is going to be won and lost in the North. That is the bottom line. It is the reality, whether we like it or not. The Constitution and the Electoral Act’s requirement for election are not just to have a million people march for you. You need to have a fair number of votes coming from a certain number of states. And for us in the APC, we know Obi doesn’t have that. I cannot see him winning any state in the North, except Benue, Plateau and, maybe, Taraba, which are needed to win a national election. I can’t even see him getting 25 per cent in any of the North-West states. We all saw the number of registered voters in the INEC register when it came out, didn’t we? You will also agree with me that the majority of them are in the North. That is the reality on the ground and we have to work with that,” Musawa added.
This article was originally published on Naija News