How Anambra Gov. Obi’s misguided politics supporting Akunyili, Nzeribe and other PDP turncoats backfired. By Prof. Okey Ndibe

Special to USAfricaonline.comCLASSmagazine, The Black Business Journal, USAfrica e-group, AnambraPolitics e-group, IgboEvents and Nigeria360@yahoogroups e-group

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It’s sad to see how Governor Peter Obi of Anambra has made himself a bewildering figure. That a man whose political stock was once solid

PeterObi-shakes-Andy-Uba-feb2010.pix-via-USAfricaonline.com

would so abjectly fail to rise to people’s expectations is – there’s no other way to put it – a matter of profound tragedy.

Mr. Obi rose to the nation’s admiration when he rejected all entreaties to forego the gubernatorial mandate that the people of Anambra had given him in 2003, and which the PDP and its candidate, Chris Ngige, had usurped. Spurning misguided pleas to “leave everything to God,” he sought the reclamation of his mandate with a stubbornness that was refreshing to encounter in a Nigerian politician. In the end, he (and the people of Anambra) secured victory. His profile rose even further when he persuaded the Supreme Court to dismiss Andy Uba, a former presidential aide, from Government House, Awka. Mr. Uba, thanks to Obasanjo and Maurice Iwu, had been enthroned as Anambra governor.

Given his history, Mr. Obi’s political currency ought to lie in how jealously he guards his reputation as an espouser and defender of electoral integrity. Instead, with former Information Minister Dora Akunyili as his accomplice, Governor Obi has all but wasted this particular currency. And he has squandered this resource, paradoxically, in pursuit of power by all means. This particular obsession has magnified the governor’s shockingly small-minded statecraft.

For a man who has been a victim of electoral fraud, Mr. Obi’s conduct in the April 9 National Assembly elections is, quite simply, appalling.

Let’s begin with the campaigns. Mr. Obi and his team of handpicked candidates had entered the campaigns on a huge deficit. The governor’s political crisis was self-inflicted.

First, the governor’s party, the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), had alienated party faithful by handing its tickets to elements that had just landed – expediently – from the PDP planet. As I wrote here a few weeks ago, Mr. Obi  (along with APGA’s chairman, Mr. Victor Umeh) betrayed Anambra when he invited Chuma Nzeribe, an unpalatable political figure, to take one of the party’s senatorial tickets. Mr. Nzeribe was a prominent – and to this day unapologetic – member of the cabal that was empowered by former President Obasanjo to turn Anambra into what I once called a theater of absurdity.

It was bad enough that APGA fielded the likes of Nzeribe. That treachery was then compounded by the fact that, before choosing the PDP turncoats, the party had collected steep fees from longtime party members interested in the various elective posts. Is it not repellent conduct to collect fees from would-be candidates when the party’s plan was to embrace an all-PDP slate?

What’s more, Mr. Obi’s political capital in the state had become terribly meager. In the state’s governorship election of February 2010, many Catholic priests had made the deplorable blunder of proclaiming from the pulpit that Mr. Obi was the beloved political son both of God and the Pope. But soon after the election was concluded, many of Mr. Obi’s ecclesiastical supporters   began to regret ever championing him. They suddenly beheld a man who is in the main self-absorbed, with scant concern for the well being of the governed.

As I write, medical doctors as well as judiciary workers in the state have been on strike for several weeks. Yet, a governor who was sold to voters as commissioned by God and the pope has not deigned to enter into serious negotiations in order to resolve issues. Does the governor derive perverse pleasure from watching patients go through agonizing pain and even death because he’s too preoccupied to talk with striking doctors? How about the fact that he’s treated with disdain the state workers’ demand for the implementation of minimum wage standards?

If his nonchalance towards striking workers is ghastly, the way he conducted the campaigns for his legislative candidates was unbecoming of a man and governor. In fact, I was so ashamed of the governor’s reported utterances that I made efforts to ring him up and tell him that he ought to know better.

Several witnesses told me how, at campaign stumps with Mrs. Akunyili, Governor Obi told his audience not to vote for Mr. Ngige because the man is too short. Then he permitted campaign posters to be circulated in which the image of Mr. Ngige, a medical doctor and candidate of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), was aligned with those of the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former Governor Bola Tinubu. By contrast, the governor’s candidates were lined up with the late Owelle Nnamdi Azikiwe and Ikemba Emeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu. The sordid idea was to portray Ngige as belonging to a “Yoruba team.”

It beggars belief that a governor, any governor, would see fit to make his opponent’s height a campaign issue. Such an untoward focus on somebody’s physique is utterly immature and speaks to a bankruptcy of ideas. Does it mean that Mr. Obi believes a person’s height to correlate to ability? Does he consider himself more intelligent, more capable or morally astute than everybody who’s shorter than he? For that matter, does he believe himself to be inferior to all taller people? For if height is a criterion of stellar leadership, then we must wonder how Mr. Obi became a governor. Alas, Anambra boasts many, many men and women who are taller than he is.

It is similarly appalling that a governor who reportedly has ambitions for higher political office could not restrain himself from disparaging Mr. Ngige as a Yoruba candidate. Even if we accepted the silly argument that the ACN was a Yoruba party – so what? Is the governor allergic to forging political alliances with the Yoruba? Is he not aware that such appeals to base, ethnic sentiments would return to haunt him if he ever seeks to be a political player at the national level? At any rate, was Mr. Obi not chastened by the fact that the ACN is sweeping the southwest and making inroads elsewhere in the nation, while he and his cohorts have left APGA bereft of electoral prospects anywhere? If any proof is needed, it suffices to see how Andy Uba trounced Obi’s man, Chuma Nzeribe.

Campaigning for Mrs. Akunyili, Governor Obi often reached for cheap blackmail. He threatened to deny, or pull projects as political appointments from communities that failed to vote for his candidates. In making these threats, he forgot that the people hired him for the job – and that he serves at their pleasure.

Apparently, the people of Anambra were determined to take the risk. Most of the governor’s candidates were thrashed. Many people in

Okey-Ndibe.USAfricaphoto-by-ChidoNwangwu-300x274

Anambra are certain that Mrs. Akunyili, the candidate most after the governor’s heart, was also decisively defeated. The haste with which she’s seeking a re-run of the senatorial race with Mr. Ngige suggests that she knows, deep down, that she was roundly beaten on April 9.

It would amount to a monumental injustice to the voters of Anambra to revisit an election that became competitive only after the shameless manipulation that took place in Anaocha Local Government Area. The APGA team should not be rewarded with an undeserved re-run. INEC chairman Attahiru Jega should insist that the investigative panel he set up deploy forensic technology to probe the votes in Anaocha. I believe such a test would unmask a narrative of stuffed ballots.

It’s odd and disturbing that Chukwuemeka Onukaogu, the Resident Electoral Commissioner for Anambra, would appoint Charles Esinone, a professor of pharmacy, as the new returning officer for the Anambra Central senatorial zone. The fact that Mr. Esinone and Mrs. Akunyili were colleagues in the same department at the University of Nigeria casts serious doubt about the returning officer’s impartiality.

Mr. Obi’s less than inspiring performance as a governor is, ultimately, responsible for his candidates’ electoral misfortunes. Rededicating himself to the service of the people of Anambra – rather than gubernatorial threats to his employers and obtuse politicking – is the only way to rebuild his tarnished political career.                                                                                                                                                                                  •Ndibe, a professor of English at Trinity College in Connecticut, is a contributing editor of USAfrica multimedia networks since 1995. He recently wrote a column here at USAfrica: Why Nigeria’s Jonathan should not make a deal for Ibori. http://usafricaonline.com/2011/02/21/why-nigerias-jonathan-should-not-make-a-deal-for-ibori-by-okey-ndibe/

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2 COMMENTS

  1. Prof Ndibe,
    I will agree with you on one thing ,,EKPERIMA CHUMA NZERIBE has seen that he is social reject,even as APGA tried to wash him with SUPER BLUE OMO and VIN DETERGENT with Parozone bleach and yet he is unwashable.
    Mana isi na odi Gov Peter Obi na aka is something i don,t understand.
    Peter Obi won his election clean ,free ,fair and square even Ngige himself voted for him.Plus he is not contesting but trying to help and campaign for his party ,and ima na onwelu candidates that are not marketable ,but i digress on that.
    Peter Obi is not the Chairman of APGA and even APGA chairman is not APGA ,he is just the head ,if members of Executive of APGA allow him to fill electable positions in APGA with tired and retired clowns ,then i don,t see how it should be attributed to GOV OBI AND UMEH ,this is democracy ,if members of the party are not consulted and the Executive did not use democratic style to elect candidates ,then it is the fault of APGA as a party ,after all this is democracy nke putara ochichi ntunye aka and not time of imposition of candidates.

    Back to Chuma Nzeribe losing to ANDY UBAH ,gwa onwegi eziokwu ,are you not happy that CHUMA got the chance and contested ,then got BUHARIED sorry that word means beating blues by opponent.He won,t say had he been giving the chance na oka eji ukwu welu gbatuo walls of jericho ,now he went he saw and was rejected by the populace.Did you see Chuma Nzeribe,s campaign poster ? ,if you see it there is no need to ask why he lost.But ,if you ask me i will also think that CHUMA may have even voted for Andy Ubah ,that Ekperima enwero grace so he is not scared about dis-grace.
    Between Andy Uba and Nzeribe ,i am sure Nzeribe will vote for Andy Ubah..

    Now between Dora and Ngige ,come on we all know that Ngige will be happy to carry Dora,s bag ,after all ife Dora jiri kari Ngige na politics is like swimming from Atlantic to River niger and as Idenna ,i would,ve loved to have an Idennite representing us but when a great ijelle comes to showcase ,we know that ulaga will always make a detour.Dora is superior to Ngige on Nigerian Politics ,,,,do not take my words for it come with me..
    Ngige conspired with Okija ,he got some dirty slaps and finally he got erected ,i did not say elected into our Government house.
    Then he outsmarted Eselu Uga,because nobody taught Eselu that you do not take onye ka gi malu ife eje nta ogini …
    Ngige tried to bury dogfatherism in our state ,he tried to build roads and he tried many other this and that which is plus ,mana .chelu let me introduce DOra ..

    Dora by Professor to start with ,she worked with PTF even though i cannot see the effect of PTF outside the fact that Buhari used the mooney to contest for Presidency 3 times.
    Dora for the first time reversed the FAKE DRUG mafian trade in Nigeria ,he made us to swallow APC as APC and not as chalk as it use to be.
    Dora fought Fake drugs and fake foods and she has A BULLET scar to prove it.After that war ,she was pencilled down for Minister of Health but trust awusa politics ,one thing led to another and she was thrown to INFORMATION ministry ,she stepped up and gave that place a face lift,,,,,then ..
    DO not forget that Ngige is still leading somehow with his cutting to size the local champion called dogfather ,,,,,

    Then Dora stepped in and ground to dust the NATIONAL dogfather called Adedibu of Ogun state, the man shake like banana leaf ,,,,,please don,t clap yet ,i am just trying to remind us.
    She dealt with our over crooked MINISTER OF JUSTICE ANDOKARA ,who issued apology to our Own Dora as she directed ,i know he must have even called and beg her with BUHARIA [BUharia means when a General cries on TV when he discovered that he has lost an election].

    The she disloged a NATIONAL MAFIA/CABAL that has sucked the nation dry since the creation of that comatose nation ,she buried the Kaduna Mafia when she single handedly destroyed the plots by awusa to use Yara dua,s wife as president when the husband was dead and buried in Saudi Arabia [forget the empty casket that was buried in Katsina] ,it was Dora that told the nation that we had no President and empower the Vice to take over…that was a million killing.

    So if Ngige went to senate he will go as cat killer but Dora will be there as -SHE THAT KILLED TIGER for breakfast ,kill Lion for lunch and use crocodile to make toothpick and that means when she talks the SENATE stand still and listen.That is why Dora was elected to go and get us what is ours .

    Gov Obi saying that Ngige di short and you Okey picking it as offence ? ,cheiii ,i be like say you come from Aguata Orumba [they take offence easily] because for ndi Idemmili ,we can never even remember this in any discuss ,after all Ngige has said more vile things and acted more dishonorably and yet Gov Obi kept his cool.
    I wonder why Gov Obi no even talk about rings Ngige gbajulu aka ,his unkempt beard and his smileless face ,plus how he added 3 pillows under his car seats to elevate him ka ona afu ife na eme outside the vehicle.

    As for Governance ,Okwute ndi igbo is best of the best but come to PUBLIC RELATION ma obu keeping the internal working wheels or machinaries OILED and greased ,maka na ebe ndi na aru ka fa ne eri ,but Okwute needs to get educated on that and that is one of the problems ona enwe from critics but outside that ,he is a very good Governor and manager.

    Back to APGA and politics ,APGA is a force to reckon with ,they started with nothing and now they are with manythings ,plus next election ,i am sure when OKEY NDIBE will be elected under APGA into the House of Assembly ,i will be watching him closely to see if he under perform .
    I am sure that next election that APGA first eleven will be breathtaking.

    Finally on NGIGE and Yoroba party ,,,we all know na ACN [ASIWAJU CONGRESS OF NIGERIA] is UPN reincarnated,and have you noticed the broom Ngige always carry ? ,check it closely you will see ugbene okuku behind it ,so i wonder what the heck ugbene will do for him in an election ?

    Mazi Odera
    Truth is our standard,accept it in good faith or
    we shove it down your throat.The Choice is yours www.oderaigbo.com

  2. Mr Editor/Okey-Ndibe,
    Stop inciting this hatred now, it will never be for interest of the IBO PEOPLE AT LARGE. FOOLISH EDITOR, STOP WASHHING YOUR DIRTY LININGS IN THE PUBLIC, FOOL WHO CALLS HIMSELF AN EDITOR.
    AS AN IBO MAN, I AM DISAPPOINTED IN YOU. SHAME TO YOU, STAINED-BLOODY BASTARD.
    EVERY REGION IN NIGERIA ARE MOBILIZING IN UNITING THEMSELVES: THE NORTH, WEST, SOUTH, MIDDLE BELT IRRESPECTIVE OF PARTY AFFILLIATION TO SELECT A GOOD LEADER WHO WOULD SOLVE THE PROBLEMS OF THE MASSES AS DEMONSTRATED IN THE PAST HOUSE AND PRESIDENTIAL ELECTIONS.
    Okey-Ndibe. STOP DIVIDING THE IBOS OR ELSE THE IBO PROGRESSIVE YOUTHS WILL ELIMINATE YOU. WE DO NOT WANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN IBOLANDS.
    LAST TIME , YOU CARPETED OHAKIM OR IMO STATE AND NOW IT IS OBI WHO HAS HELPED TO BRING THE IBOS TOGETHER FOR ULTIMATE POLITICAL EMANCIPATION.
    PLEASE, WHO IS PAYING YOU TO DISORGANIZE THE IBO RACE THROUGH YOUR INIMICAL POSTS???
    WE DO NOT WANT PEOPLE LIKE YOU IN IBOLANDS.
    Okey-Ndibe, ENOUGH OF THIS FROM YOU BECAUSE IT IS NOT HELPFUL IN REUNITING THE IBOS POLITICALLY.
    STOP THIS INIMICAL POSTS OF YOURS NOW AND FIND ANOTHER MEANS TO EARN A DIGNIFIED LIVING, STOP THIS BLACKMAILS AND INSULTS ON IBO PEOPLE NOW. DURING THE RECENTLY CONCLUDED PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION, I WATCEHD CLOSELY AND OBSERVED ONLINE THAT YOUR NEWSPAPER; THE DAILY SUN CRASHED WHEN THERE WAS EXPECTATIONS THAT JONATHAN WAS WINNING THE RACE. WHAT A CALAMITY FOR NEWSPAPERS LIKE YOURS NOW THAT WE HAVE A PRESIDENT WHO WILL TAKE NIGERIA TO THE PROMISE LAND ??

    MRS ROSE EZE (RESIDING IN SENEGAL).

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