Home » Youth-Led Movement Faces Uphill Battle: ‘Obidient’ Movement’s Struggle for a Brighter Nigeria

Youth-Led Movement Faces Uphill Battle: ‘Obidient’ Movement’s Struggle for a Brighter Nigeria

by Victor Adetimilehin

Nigeria boasts a rich history of youth-led movements that have left an indelible mark on its political landscape, challenging the prevailing order and striving for social justice, democracy, and good governance. From the colonial era to contemporary times, young Nigerians have consistently taken the lead in various campaigns for change. Noteworthy among these movements are:

  1. Nigerian Youth Movement (NYM) in the 1930s: Advocated for self-government and inter-ethnic cooperation.
  2. Student Protests against Military Dictatorship (1970s-1980s): Fought against authoritarian rule and demanded democratic reforms.
  3. #OccupyNigeria Movement (2012): Opposed the removal of fuel subsidy and demanded government accountability.
  4. #EndSARS Movement (2020): Protested against police brutality and called for comprehensive security sector reforms.

While these movements have achieved varying degrees of success, they have not entirely resolved the deep-rooted issues plaguing Nigeria, such as poverty, unemployment, inequality, corruption, insecurity, and poor governance.

In the current political landscape, the “Obidient” Movement has emerged as a symbol of hope for Nigeria’s youth. Comprising passionate and optimistic individuals, this movement rallied behind Peter Obi’s 2023 presidential bid. Its overarching goal is to transform Nigeria by fostering a conducive environment, guiding support groups, and advocating for change through Obi’s leadership. This movement saw record-high engagement and turnout among young people since Nigeria’s return to democracy since 1999. Initially dismissed as “three people in a room on Twitter”, the movement has surprised many.

However, the movement is currently grappling with a crisis of faith following the election of Ahmed Tinubu as president and the disappointing verdict of the election tribunal. Many young Nigerians who had believed in the movement and its ability to bring about transformational change now find themselves disillusioned. They question the integrity of the Nigerian justice system and feel defeated by the outcome of the election.

The lack of faith in the Nigerian justice system has been a recurring issue in the country’s political landscape. Past elections and legal proceedings have often left citizens with a sense of injustice and a belief that the system is skewed in favor of the political elite. This disillusionment continues to erode trust in democratic processes and discourage political participation. The inability of these movements to bring about the desired change often led to many participants of the movement emigrating from the country often losing all hope in the nation.

Despite these challenges, it is crucial to remember that lasting change takes time and persistence. The passion and determination of young Nigerians should not waver in the face of setbacks. While the disappointment in the election outcome seems valid, it should serve as a catalyst for a renewed commitment to the principles of the “Obidient” Movement.

The movement can address these challenges and leverage opportunities by:

  • Realism and Pragmatism: Acknowledging the complexities of Nigerian politics while maintaining optimism and leveraging existing opportunities for civic engagement.
  • Inclusivity and Diversity: Collaborating with other youth movements and stakeholders to build a broader coalition for change.
  • Innovation and Creativity: Utilizing modern communication tools and alternative political strategies to galvanize support and create a groundswell of change.
  • Focus and Adaptability: Maintaining a clear vision and mission while remaining flexible and open to learning from experiences.

The “Obidient” Movement is part of Nigeria’s rich tradition of youth activism. It is a testament to the resilience and determination of young Nigerians to shape their nation’s future. Similar youth movements in Africa have demonstrated the transformative potential of youth-led initiatives, even in the face of adversity.

The “Obidient” Movement represents a call for change, accountability, and inclusive governance. While it faces unprecedented challenges, it reminds us that hope, passion, and the pursuit of a brighter future remain alive and well among Nigeria’s youth.

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