Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential candidate in the February 25 election, has responded to Professor Wole Soyinka’s accusation that his supporters, known as ‘Obidients,’ are fascists.
During an interview on Arise Television’s Prime Time program on May 1, Obi expressed disappointment in the exchange and stated that he regards Soyinka as a father figure.
Obi clarified that the ‘Obidients’ are not exclusively his supporters, and that members of the opposition have also adopted the name. He acknowledged that young people have been disenfranchised by a system that is supposed to support them. Soyinka had accused the ‘Obidients’ of promoting fascism in an interview with Channels Television.
In response, the former Anambra State governor stated that his supporters have been driven to the brink and that society is not providing them with any alternatives. He said, ”Prof is a well respected, revered personality in Nigeria and globally. And I have always respected him and he is a dear father to me. For me I was very sad that there was such an exchange.
”Some of the ‘Obidients’, I must tell you, or people they mentioned that they are ‘Obidient’ are not entirely people who are with us. “The opposition have also come into it. We don’t worry about that. But I was very sad there was such an exchange.
“I respect a father, but you have to understand this, these young people are people who have been so deprived by supposedly a system that is supposed to care for them. “They have been pushed to the wall.
Even me, the way they even react when I say things, I could feel their pain. I could feel it because I live in the same system that they are living in. “When we were young, things were working. All of a sudden, it became a worse situation.”
“My own comment on that is that Prof remains a revered father, and I have kept respecting him for that. “And of course the young ‘Obidients’ I feel for them, I wish you can feel what they are feeling, the pain.
“There is nothing the society is offering them, even when they try to do it on their own. This is a place you move around with a laptop, you will be arrested and labelled all sorts of names. “This is a place where people are thrown into jail for even making comment, when people who have stolen billions of the country’s money, done worst things are moving around and celebrated.”