Supporters of Labour Party presidential candidate, Peter Obi, are demanding immediate withdrawal of the name of a former Nigeria Defence spokesman, General John Enenche (Rtd) from the presidential campaign council list following his denial of the killing of Nigerian youths during the October 20, 2020, Endsars, Lekki massacre in Lagos.
Newsonline reports that the supporters of Peter Obi, called Obidients, are angry that one of the ‘establishments’ that denied the killing of youths during the Endsars campaign was included in the race for a new Nigeria being campaigned by the youths.
Peter Obi, former governor of Anambra State left the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to join a small political party, Labour Party in May. His joining the Labour Party was seen as political suicide by political experts.
At Labour Party, Obi was made the consensus candidate of the Labour Party ahead of the 2023 general election. LP has no political office holder in elective and appointive positions across the nation.
Nigerian youths, however, have through their support brought Peter Obi into the limelight as one of the major contenders for the 2023 general election.
The support of the youths arose from Obi’s transparency at the time he was Anambra State governor, from 2006 to 2014. A two-term tenure he finished without any corruption charges. A fit rare among Nigerian politicians. Another reason for the support of the youths is their call for good governance of the country, which they were unable to get during the October 2020 Endsars movement which led to the death of many Nigerian youths.
The announcement of members of the Labour Party presidential campaign council on Wednesday and the inclusion of former Nigeria Army spokesman, Gen. Enenche have been seen by the youths as an inclusion of the old order by Peter Obi. An order the youths believed was responsible for bad governance in the country since the return to democracy in 1999.
Most annoying to the youths, Obidients, was that as Nigeria Army spokesman, Enenche denied and described the evidence of the killing of youths at the Lekki massacre in Lagos on the 20th of October 2020 at the Endsars protest by men of Nigerian Army as photoshop.
The Nigerian Defence Headquarters’ Director of Information, Maj. Gen. John Enenche, reacting to the video of Lekki massacre said, “These videos were cropped and photoshopped.
“If not that I am not permitted I would have forwarded it to you. Up till this morning, I got analyst to analyze the video and they said it was cropped and put together.”
Expressing their displeasure at the inclusion of the name of Enenche, Professor Abdul Mahmud, Professor of Law, said, “What do we really want in this country? Remove the bad and replace them with the ugly!
How can anybody defend General Enenche who was part of the false narrative of the deep state/military industrial complex that masked the truth of the #Lekkitollgate massacre?
“It is ridiculous for anybody to claim that he was acting on the command of the military HQ. Where was his conscientious objection?
He added that “I focus on issues and not personalities. I stand with the cores of my beliefs and project them. I’m not in the business of doing propaganda or supporting wrong for a partisan cause. If I support Obi for justice, I’ll stick to justice in pursuit of my support.”
He further argued that Eneche cannot prove he denied the killing of youths at Lekki because he was defence spokesman stating “we had a General Ishola Williams
“How about my good friend, Col Abubakar Umar Dangiwa who 1993 resigned from the Army over the annulment of the June 12 polls.
“These were conscientious objectors. These are the people we seek in the New Nigeria that is POssible.”
Prof. Mahmud said, “It is people like General Enenche who’ll stay inside government and lead it on dangerous spins, lies, obfuscation, and utter falsehoods.
“Defend him as you like; his name and infamy are already in history’s judgment-book.”
David Hundeyin, founder of West Africa Weekly, an independent investigative journalist, said “I support Peter Obi because I believe in his mission and candidacy.
“I also believe that anyone directly involved in Lekki Massacre denialism should be drowned in a vat of hydrochloric acid.
“Both of these statements are true at the same time, and I mentioned only one name here.
“Also, I don’t want to hear anything about “compromise” or “realpolitik.”
“If I wanted either of those things, Atiku and Tinubu offer them in vastly greater quantities.
“The entire point of the Peter Obi movement is the rejection of those things. This should be obvious.”
Farooq Kperogi, Professor of journalism, at Bennsaw University in the United States said Peter Obi who was brought to the limelight by the youths and depicted as a saint among Nigerian politicians ought to have verified every name in the PCC list for publication having the interest an desire of the youths at heart.
Farooq said, “If I were a man that idealistic young men and women have elevated to near sainthood as Obi has been, I would look through the list carefully, ensure there are no clerical errors in it, think through the optics that the names in it will communicate, & be careful to not come across as indistinguishable from the establishment parties because it’s the first hint of what he’ll be as a president.
“He (Peter Obi) failed in that elementary duty–much like Buhari. That’s why former Defence spokesperson John Enenche who said two years ago that “videos of shootings in Lekki tollgate were photoshopped” was appointed to Obi’s presidential campaign council.
“The inclusion of Enenche on Obi’s campaign list is significant because the core of Obi’s youthful supporters who’re engaged because they’re enraged are drawn from #EndSARS agitators for whom the cover-up of the massacre of protesters in Lekki is a sore point.
“To put a denier of the mass massacre of their comrades in the campaign council of a candidate they support and campaign for is both insensitive and disrespectful. And why does a campaign that is fueled by a desire for difference need nearly 1,300 people to sit in a council? That’s unwieldy. How is it different from APC and PDP?
“In fact, APC and PDP are better. APC’s initial list was just 422 and PDP’s was 520.
“If Obi’s presidential campaign council was going to be worse than APC’s and PDP’s, why did it take him so long to unveil it? This sends off uncomfortable Buhari vibes.”