Peter Obi, the Labour Party’s presidential candidate, has said that it isn’t enough to denounce the actions of agitators in the country without also examining the root causes of those actions.
On Monday, January 16, 2023, in Chatham House, Obi strongly condemned the actions of all agitators who are resorting to violence and property destruction to achieve their goals.
The LP candidate made this statement in response to a query about whether or not he condemned the actions of the Indigenous People of Biafra (IPOB) in the region’s southeast.
Nigeria designated IPOB as a terrorist group in 2017, and the United Kingdom acknowledged that designation in May 2022.
Many Nigerians think Obi is afraid to speak out against the banned group whose primary goal is to break off the southeast from the rest of the country through violence and disruption.
On Sunday, January 15, 2023, this opinion appeared to be reinforced when the presidential candidate named ISWAP and Boko Haram as terrorist organisations but left IPOB off the list.
But Obi insisted he has always opposed all agitators, including IPOB, which has been repeatedly blamed for violence and property destruction in the country’s southeast.
He said, “You are not following me, even yesterday; I spoke about Biafra being ended 53 years ago. I condemned all agitators, but in condemning them, you have to look at what brought these agitations all over the place. So, we have IPOB, the Yoruba Nation movement; we have all sorts. It’s all over the place in the space.
“When you have created this level of massive poverty, where 63 percent of your population is poor, you’re going to create all sorts of problems. I was speaking to a British minister this morning, I said we have about 40 percent unemployment, about 60 percent youth unemployment, young people in their productive age doing nothing, if you have 15 percent unemployment in Britain today, you’re going to have massive agitation. Nobody will be able to leave his house”.
He said that a lack of leadership caused agitations in many parts of Nigeria.
“What you have seen is a cumulative effect of leadership failure over the years, which will be solved by good governance, When people start seeing justice, fairness, and inclusive government and doing the right thing, all those things will start reversing itself (sic),” he said.
Many young Nigerians support Obi’s presidential campaign, and these supporters are known as Obidients.