The hugely attended rallies, which saw the supporters, known as Obi-dients, marching through some major cities of Lagos, Delta, Abia, Osun, Kaduna, Akwa Ibom, Edo, and Bauchi among others, caused traffic snarls in some of the areas.
The rallies also took the shine off the 62nd Independence anniversary in some states, especially in Delta.
In Lagos, the rallies, tagged #4millionmaforObi/Datti, were held in Festac Town, Ikeja, Lekki and Surulere.
The supporters marched along Lekki-Epe expressway chanting “Obi, Obi-dient!” They began the walk from the Admiralty Junction moving through the major road in Lekki towards Jakande, Elegushi axis, to avoid confrontation with the police stationed at the Lekki Toll Gate.
A Lagos High Court, on Thursday, ruled that the Obi-dients should not hold a rally at the toll gate and ordered the police to ensure rallies were not held there.
The supporters brandished the logo of the LP on their shirts, caps, chanting solidarity songs and boasting that they would give Obi the largest votes in Lagos, which is the political base of the All Progressives Congress, APC, presidential candidate, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Opponents of Obi are accusing him of being ‘structureless’ and a social media tiger. The passion-driven supporters, mostly youths, said they are Obi’s structure and boasted that they will take back their country in 2023.
Two Redeemed Pastors join the Obidients rally in Amuwo-Odofin
Two Redeemed Christian Church of God, RCCG, and Pastors joined the rally in Festac, Amuwo-Odofin Local Council of Lagos.
Mr Surveyor Bassey Omole, an assistant pastor in the Community Parish of the church, could not contain his joy when he saw the crowd and said he never expected it. “My wife and children are with me in this rally. We all have our PVCs,” he said.
According to him, they were driving out to visit a family friend when they were stuck in traffic by the rally and decided to change their plan by joining the event.
Also, Pastor Alex, an area pastor in Redeemed, told Sunday Vanguard that though he was stuck in traffic, he loved the rally and prayed for a fruitful election next year.
Mr Nduka, a businessman, who was found spraying money at the rally in Festac, told Sunday Vanguard: “I’m an ordinary person when it comes to this rally. I closed my shop today and told all my workers to join in the march. I am spending money on this rally out of joy not because of anything but the excitement.”
From Festac, the Obi-dients, who took off at about 7 am from the popular FHA field, marched to the Apple Junction axis and to the National Stadium axis of Surulere. The supporters said that a new Nigeria is possible with good leadership as they marched in a motorcade and sang solidarity songs for Obi.
Ugochukwu Nwanguba, an engineer-turned trader, said the state of affairs compelled him to turn to trade. “I am obediently yusuful to myself and to the nation,” he told Sunday Vanguard.
“Today being Nigeria’s independence anniversary, we have nothing to show but only political hatred everywhere, selfish leaders squandering our resources. That is why we urge concerned Nigerians to make the narrative change come 2023 by voting Mr. Peter Obi of the Labour Party.”
March in Asaba disrupts Independence Day celebrations
In Delta, the Obi-dients also marched in Asaba, the state capital, and Warri.
In Asaba, the One-million-man march disrupted the 62nd Independence Day celebrations as the huge and intimidating crowd, which marched from the Inter-bus roundabout along Nnebisi Road, kept increasing as they shut down the city for over seven hours.
The youths came out from different communities of Delta North Local Government Area around 8 am to embark on the march in Asaba.
One of the Obi-dients, Mr Donatus Ebere, said: “We are having a one-million-march in solidarity with Peter Obi but what we saw today is no longer one million. You see that the crowd here is about two million. Before we chose between two evils, now, we have Peter Obi over the two evils. So, in 2023, the youths will massively vote for Obi.”
He said that the one-million-march would become one million votes in Asaba, and urged supporters to ensure they get their PVCs so that the one-million-march will not be in vain.
In Osun State, LP supporters and Obi-dients thronged major roads in some towns marching in support of Obi.
The solidarity rallies were held in the state capital, Ile-Ife and Ilesa with supporters carrying different placards with inscriptions: “We are the structure”, “Ile-Ife walks for Obi”, “A New Nigeria is possible”, among others.
The solidarity walk in Ile-Ife took off from Enuwa square through different parts of the town to Mayfair roundabouts. The Osogbo rally started from the stadium roundabout through Ayetoro to Old-garage.
Addressing journalists in Ile-Ife, a Chieftain of the party, Olamide Awosunle disclosed that the party decided to embark on the rally titled, “March for New Nigeria” on a symbolic day like Independence Day.
He said Nigerians cannot continue to wallow in abject poverty, hence, the move to enlighten the populace on the need for a new set of leaders.
His words: “If one dissects Nigeria properly, going by what we have been experiencing in the country, you will know that everything is not right with this nation, so we chose today which happened to be our Independence Day to really march prophetically for a Nigeria of our dream because we cannot continue like this. We need a new Nigeria that’s why we chose today our Independence Day as a very symbolic day for this kind of March.
“Our motive more importantly is to let people know that Nigeria needs a new set of leaders. We cannot continue with the set of people who have taken Nigeria as their personal entitlement. People that feel Nigeria is their own continue to mismanage Nigeria. Our motive is to send messages to those leaders that Nigerians are tired of them and also to let people know in their various communities that we now have a party that can deliver Nigeria from the mess we are in now.
“What we were having in the past is selection mixed with small elections. Now Nigerians have selected a leader and we rally around that leader, so it’s not the usual practice in Nigeria where someone is picked and is forced on us.
“In this case, Nigerians chose Peter Obi as their leader and they are spending their money to ensure that he becomes their leader. So, definitely, Peter Obi is not the usual leader we are used to in the country. We don’t need a Godfather as a leader, but someone with a track record of transparency.”
Ikpeazu’s support group spotted as ‘Obidients’ lock down Aba
In Abia, supporters of Obi locked down Aba, the economic honey pot of the state as they staged one million-man march for Obi and his running mate, Dr Yusuf Ahmed Datti.
The enthusiastic crowd comprising youths from different political parties marched through major streets in the commercial city.
The presence of one of Gov Okezie Ikpeazu’s main support groups, Okezie Victor Ikpeazu (OVI), at the rally sparked speculations that Obi might have been adopted by some People Democratic Party, PDP-controlled states loyal to Gov. Nyesom Wike of Rivers State.
The Obi/Datti supporters gathered at different locations in Aba, marched through major streets before ending up at Asa Road where they had a major rally.
The ‘’one Million March for ObiDatti”, in Aba, started at Osisioma Ngwa flyover from where the crowd marched through Aba-Owerri Road, Asa Road, Factory Road, Azikiwe Road and down to the Ogbor-Hill axis of the city.
They chanted solidarity songs for Obi/Datti while others carried placards with various inscriptions such as: “Nigeria settle us with Peter Obi”; “If you are Obi-dient, you can be useful”; and “INEC please allow God to use you.”
Others were: “Obi-dient all the way”; “Vote out bad leaders”; “Nigerians take back your country”; “We are the structure, “We no dey give shishi.”
Motorists and other road users had hectic time navigating the mammoth but peaceful and jubilant crowd.
Speaking with Sunday Vanguard, the Coordinator of Peter Obi Support Network, POSN, Comrade Prince Solomon, described the rally as a referendum on the forthcoming presidential poll.
He said that the swelling support for Obi across the country was a confirmation that he is the desire of Nigerian voters.
Similarly, the General Leader of all Obi’s support groups in Abia, Madam Maltida, said a new Nigeria was on the threshold.
She described Obi’s supporters as an unstoppable mass movement propelled by the finger of God and predicted landslide victory for Obi in the forthcoming presidential election.
Meanwhile, the Coordinator of OVI, Chisom Amalahu, said it had become expedient to support Obi’s candidature irrespective of one’s political sentiments.
“We’re here to tell people that we’re tired of how things are done in this country. As you’ve seen today, the expectation was for a million march but we’ve recorded above the expectations because almost everybody came out for Obi.
“We don’t care about anything else, be it a party or whatever as long as the presidential election is concerned. What we the OVI Organization did today is to show others what should be done. It is authoritative and nobody can fault it.
“This action has shown that the Governor of Abia State cannot because of his party lose sympathy for the desire of the majority. Obi-dient is a movement. It’s not a political party. It covers non-members of the Labour Party. So, it’s not about the Labour party.”