That Remarkable OBIDIENT-FOR-Ai SYMPOSIUM. Where WOW Is Understatement.

by Amos Kalu
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The Good Governance Advocacy Group called Obidients for Ai (Asue Ighodalo) held a massive symposium in Benin City on 15th June 2024. The theme of the Symposium was Obidients For An Edo That Works For All: The Asue Ighodalo Phenomenon.

The hugely successful symposium has come and gone but its significance and impact will for long be remembered. Just how well did it go?

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This advocacy group that has announced its presence and seriousness with unmistakable billboards and massive presence in orthodox Press and Social Media added an intellectual feather to their cap that Saturday. The venue in a serene part of the ancient city was superb in itself and the décor alluringly complimented by beautifully branded hanging Obidient mini umbrellas, posters and banners of the highest print quality and colour combination.

Attendance was highly impressive as the hall was filled to capacity and attendance management professionally handled. Every attendee got a pack of souvenirs on registration and got seated in a hall with a cool ambience. What a quality audience! With excellent traffic control, vehicle packing management and security arrangements, the neighbourhood and commuting public was not inconvenienced.

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The arrival of the candidate (Dr. Asue Ighodalo) who the Obidients have declared fit for purpose in the next election to manage Edo State energized the quality audience. A people’s man any day with no superiority airs, he hugged, chatted with and took selfies with close to fifty cheering guests from the entrance to the table reserved for him and the carefully selected Professors who were Speakers at the event.

The Deputy Governor, Engr. Godwin Marvelous Omobayo, a bonafide Obidient with a winning pedigree (whose victory was magomago’ed and manafiki’ed by rigging forces) arrived to what to him was natural habitat. The Director General of the State PDP Campaign Council arrived with a loaded entourage to put a stamp of authority to the alliance with Obidients who have rightfully identified their candidate worthy of their support. The Commissioner for Culture and Tourism, the delectable Dr. Uyi Malakai arrived to add diversity to the High Table.

The presence of Professor Chris Mustapha Chukwudumebi Nwaokobia Jnr. provided a National Obidient voice of approval to the proceedings. His sartorial turnout with the unmistakable image of Queen Idia (FESTAC symbol) added a cultural sensitivity and imprimatur to the event. Professor Matthew Aziegbemhin Izibili of Ambrose Alli University turned out in a black national outfit that matched Asue’s favourite dress colour.

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Austin Isikhuemen’s welcome address explained the group’s vision and mission as well as the overriding imperative that made Asue Ighodalo of the PDP their choice in the gubernatorial election billed for September 2024. Justice. Fairness. Equity. Then the candidate’s pedigree and track record of performance and integrity. Austin asserted that Asue stands head and shoulders above the pack of other qualified runners in the race and stated, as he has been quoted to have said in several fora, that Asue is a Presidential Material running a gubernatorial race!

Prof. Nwaokobia whose speech nearly brought the roof down, gave enough reasons why Edo people cannot afford to toy with their future by electing the wrong candidate. He got emotional in his advocacy, and at some stage, stepped down from the podium and faced Asue directly calling on him to take Edo to the exemplary height that will create peer pressure among other state governments which can raise the standard of governance nationally.
The Professor has always been an excellent speaker and analyst of national affairs, but his exhortation at this Obidient symposium was in a different class all together. He wowed the audience and touched their souls. He explained that Obidients preached Justice, Equity and Fairness and supported Peter Obi from the South East in 2023. He said they cannot now turn around to support a candidate of Labour Party who is from the same local government and senatorial district to take over from Governor Obaseki. Edo North was in the saddle for eight years before Edo South whose tenure of eight years is coming to a close. He jocularly asked “Edo Central come wash plate?”

The deafening intermittent applause indicated the audience’s agreement with all he said. The LP and Obi’s not too pleasant encounter at the Royal Palace, happening at the same time while the Symposium was on, added some cosmic approval to the Obidients’ choice of Asue Ighodalo. That Obi’s reluctant visit to LP was shifted to coincide with our Symposium so as to take out the shine and swallow the event, has now become a strategy that massively backfired. We sympathize with His Excellency Peter Obi. He is torn between where his heart is – Asue Ighodalo – and his 2023 campaign platform – Labour Party. LP is now unrecognizable with dollarized electioneering processes, infighting and law suits as well as their unwise rejection of Edo’s accepted fairness, justice and equity, a brotherly tripod that matters to the People.

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Asue’s response, with unmistakable nationalistic fervour and competence-packed analytical review of Nigeria’s undignified match to development regression, was a motivating spectacle to behold. He spoke about Lin Quan Yu and his Cambridge University days with Remi Fani-Kayode who became his ‘tutor’ because of the latter’s exceptional brilliance. The Singeporean leader was shocked when he later visited Nigeria and found it in a state of arrested development. Singapore, Asue said, in a voice laden with regret, has moved to the first world while Nigeria is apparently on a backslide. We have had oil revenues enough to build seven Dubai’s but where did all the money go? He said choice of wrong leaders has been the cause of Nigeria’s development crisis.

Asue did not stay put in complaining and analytical mode. He soon moved over to feasible solutions. The solution, he said laid in the choice of leaders by the citizens especially the Obidients and the youth. They must continue the next phase of the peaceful revolution to change Nigeria for good which they have started. He stated that the desired change will be a mirage if wrong, incompetent and visionless leaders are elected. He promised to move Edo state to a first world state once elected. According to him, a few competently run States can change Abuja for good. He exhorted the youth not to be afraid to do what is right.

Goodwill messages were received from the Deputy Governor, DG PDP Campaign Council and Commissioner for Arts and Culture. Professor Izibili’s Guest lecture on Leadership and its role in attaining the Edo of our dream, was well received. He defined leadership and showed the relationship between purposive leadership and governance outcomes. He successfully linked leadership perception and the quest for Edo State of our dream. He highlighted the critical impact of character on the performance of a leader and concluded that leadership must not be left to chance but deliberately chosen with expected outcomes in mind.

The panel discussion session was anchored by the delectable Joice Daniels of AsueTV and that brought the Symposium to a close. This was an excellent outing for the Obidients for Asue Ighodalo and the AiO² ticket. It showed who the real Obidients, who stand for Justice, Equity and Fairness as well as choices based on Competence, Capacity, Compassion, Track Record, Intellect and Integrity, have endorsed and will vote for in September.

Austin Isikhuemen
Co-Convener
Obidients For AI
A Good Governance Advocacy Group.

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