Over the weekend, in two different rally locations in Washington DC, United State, Nigerian-Americans and friends of Nigeria gathered for a massive rally to celebrate the potential of a new Nigeria and show support for presidential candidate Peter Obi and his vice Yusuf Datti. One of the rally was organized by Peter Obi Support Group DMV (POSGDMV), BigTent Diaspora DMV in collaboration with Diasporas for Good Governance at the US Capitol grounds and dubbed President’s Day Weekend Rally: A New Nigeria is POssible “#Obidient Movement,”
The Nigerian-American diaspora community plays an increasingly important role in leading nation-building efforts that bring about positive socio-economic and political developmental outcomes. Despite their contributions, the diaspora has long faced issues of exclusion, underrepresentation, uncoordinated and limited access, and participation in the nation’s political processes. The rally aimed to show strong support for the Nigerian American Diaspora community and advocate for a peaceful election in Nigeria.
The top issue for many Nigerian voters is escalating insecurity, ranging from kidnappings for ransom in the Northwest to the 13-year insurgency in the Northeast, separatist violence in the Southeast, and decades-old ethnic tensions. Despite his age, Peter Obi is seen by supporters as more dynamic and in tune with what younger people want, making him the candidate of the youth.
The World Bank said remittances flow to sub-Saharan Africa grew an estimated 5.2 percent to $53 billion in 2022, with Nigeria being the largest recipient. The importance of diaspora participation in politics cannot be overstated.
The rally saw about a hundred Nigerian diaspora in attendance, with Americans and friends of Nigeria joining in the rally. Rally-goers were seen parading the PODatti banners and carrying placards and signs with inscriptions reading; “Join the movement for a new Nigeria with Obi-Datti.” Despite the cold weather, attendees, both young and old, gathered cheerfully, singing and dancing to Afrobeat songs. Americans and other country nationals joined the rally and engaged with the group to wave the Nigerian flag and join in the fun moment.
Philip Njowusi, Coordinator of POSGDV group, shared his passion for the change he wanted to see in the country. He said, “We need to get it right this time; we cannot afford to miss this opportunity.” Dr. Stella Ujunne Asoanya-Akpuaka, a healthcare provider and psychiatric nurse practitioner, was seen carrying a sign which read “WE MOVE! WE WIN!! OBI-DATTI LEADERSHIP FOR NIGERIA”. While Ify Bozimo, 30s, Attorney who works in the DC commissioner’s office energized the crowd in chants and dance.
The rally was an opportunity for the Nigerian Diaspora to come together and advocate for a peaceful election in Nigeria, sending a strong message to the current administration to ensure free and fair elections in Nigeria. The #Obidient movement has inspired a zealous movement of mostly youths and disrupted Nigeria’s traditional two-man presidential contest.
Whether or not the rally will go a long way to inspire and mobilize people in the country remains to be seen as Nigerians head to the polls on Feb 25th. However, the rally provided a platform for participants to voice their perspectives and thoughts about the upcoming election. The event was an opportunity for attendees to learn more about the PO Movement and the 2023 presidential elections in Nigeria.
For more information on the #Obidient movement, visit www.posgdmv.com.