* X-ray of voters register, INEC
The high-flying Peter Obi Support Network, the group firmly backing the aspiration of Mr Peter Obi, the flag bearer of the Labour Party in next year’s presidential poll, this afternoon converged at Asaba, the Delta State capital where they held summit on *”Developing Grassroots Structures for Effective People Oriented Democracy”* as part of their voter education and sensitization efforts ahead the 2023 poll.
The summit, planned to coincide with a free medical outreach organised by its cooperating partners, Diaspora Medics 4 Good Governance (DM4GG) and Doctors for Peter Obi (D4PO) called on the electorate to reject and subtly resist every form of inducement, vote-buying/manipulation, and electoral insincerity to be able to hold their ground effectively while protecting their votes.
In her opening address, POSN Global Coordinator, Augusta Nneka went down memory lane of the inauguration of the Network in early May shortly after Obi declared interest in the 2023 presidential race.
She disclosed that POSN, which was founded in 2018 by die-hard Peter Obi supporters already have more than six thousand, seven hundred (6700) coordinators nationwide. Augusta also disclosed that POSN exists in every Ward, hamlet, and family in Nigeria currently.
Nneka said it is defeatist, the disused political argument by the band of opposition claiming that Obi and Labour Party lack ‘structure’, whatever that means.
According to the Global Coordinator, “…we are presently starting, ‘Sponsor-Your-Ward Project’, targeted particularly at our people in the diaspora who are not physically resident in Nigeria but has stakes in the forthcoming elections.”
The Asaba conference coming after the POSN Northern Summit at Kaduna, and Middle Belt Conference, and now held in Asaba, were geared towards sensitizing and training coordinators, other leaders and unit heads to enable them to recruit voters, train the electorate to recognize the LP symbol, how to vote and protect their votes.
“That it’s why all the 11 state coordinators from the southeast and southsouth were invited to the summit”, she said.
In his keynote lecture, Professor Pat Utomi who spoke on ‘Developing Grassroots Structures for Effective People Oriented Democracy’ admitted he had never witnessed anything like this tornado-like political movement called Peter Obi Support network, otherwise called “Obedients”.
“We are seeing people volunteer to come out, print fliers, t-shirts, banners, etc on their own.”
Prof Utomi who was represented by the Delta State Chairman of LP, Tony Ezeagwu noted it’s a first time Nigerians would do this, and it catches like a wildfire in a harmattan season.
He admitted that this stands out the candidate, “Peter Obi as unique, same for the Labour Party and its symbol, that mark us out as human/people oriented”.
Other speakers including Capt Augustine Okon raised issues to watch out for before, during and immediately after casting their votes to ensure that no one manipulated any part of the voting and collating process.
These include- “Endeavour to register in Labour Party, in the same way we did PVC.
“Labour Party is the container and the labour movement is the precious liquid content.
“Establish Lp in all wards/Labour pledge… on my honour/”Mobilize Workers, Farmers, self-employed.
Artiste, comedians, teachers, unions, churches, actors, acting out a simple message/We no de give …We no de take poverty.”
“The other parties boast about having structures and Labour Party not having structures. They are not kidding. They are talking about the structures of corruption which is vote-buying and voter intimidation. They are serious about it, and they intend to deploy these forces in the coming election. We must prepare and have countermeasures against them.
“Many members of our PO Movement belong to other political parties too. We are now at crossroads and the time to make up our mind is now. The concept of voting our conscience and at the same time reaping the fruits of corruption that is vote buying must be resisted. The temptation is great, and the best thing is don’t even go there. They have wicked plans. The fight is on two fronts: the mental pangs of Hunger, and the physical inducement of cash. You are the target. The plan is to provide you some mind bogging amount to declare sick and be absent on election day and someone who can be manipulated will take your place.
“We must pull down all Structures of corruption. Vote buying is the current subject.
“Provoke discussions and offer solutions on the Poverty trap in our locality.
“Identify with ideas expressed by Femi Falana SAN at Labour Party National retreat Abuja last week.
“Who are our candidates for the forthcoming elections for Governorship, National/State Assemblies
“As we promote Peter, we should also promote other candidates. If we have doubt of any candidate, we should not present him at all.
Participants at the conference were drawn from Delta, Edo, Bayelsa, Cross River, Rivers, and Imo states.
Others were from Anambra, Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Akwa Ibom states.