Peter Obi’s dumping of APGA for PDP unmasks him as self-serving.
By Ebuka Ifeanyichukwu
The headline of Wednesday October 8, 2014, was a screamer; “At last, Obi Dumps APGA, Joins PDP”. At the sight of this banner headline, my heart jumped into my stomach.
It is nothing new, trust the ingenuity of Nigerians, cross-carpeting and defection have become legitimized and possibly may be lent constitutional backing. That it happens is nothing newsy, however for some individuals like Mr Obi to be involved in such turns lots of heads in astonishment. Gradually APGA is going moribund, the idea of an Igbo party is fast becoming eroded and who knows the walls may finally cave in entirely.
In the end the masses remain the outfoxed; for while they are busy glorying in the bloated image of a saint, the same saint in selfish quest of attaining his ambitions goes on to pitch his tent with the very corrupt and worldly! Even though he gave reasons of maintaining deeper proximity with President Jonathan — especially the President’s reelection ambition as his driving motive for defecting, Obi in PDP remains news so strange and a tale so alien.
As a member of APGA, he could comfortably assist the President’s reelection efforts; he delivered the state for Jonathan in 2011 as an APGA governor, so why not now? APGA as a party supports the reelection of the President, so apart from personal interests why jump ships? Personally I think the pretext of closer affinities with the president is lame and laughable, the flu of selfish politicking has caught up with Obi, our dear Okwute Ndi Igbo. Integrity is no business of convenience, rather a virtue that prevails even amidst the most discomforting of times.
Among other factors, he seemed persuaded by a team of PDP delegates consisting of the Deputy Senate President Sen. Ike Ekweremadu, Chairman PDP Governors’ Forum and the Executive Governor of Akwa Ibom State Chief Godswill Akpabio, Secretary to the Federal Government Chief Pius Anyim, National Publicity Secretary of PDP Olisa Metuh and host of others. They were at the ex governor’s Onitsha residence to woo him into switching sides and joining forces with the PDP. But then I quickly said to myself this wouldn’t be the first time Mr Peter Obi would be wooed. I remembered the “stolen mandate” of 2003, the PDP instigated impeachment of November 2, 2006, the Obasanjo-Uba malfeasance of 2007, PDP ills in Anambra State during his electioneering campaigns. I was confident that PDP stood no chance with Obi to join the same group that menaced him.
I recalled the wise words that proclaimed that they shall gather, but because they gathered for the wrong man they shall surely scatter….
Surely, Obi is worth to be wooed and courted by anyone with eyes for the power politics of Anambra. In this rare gem of a man is reposed all kinds of goodies capable of distinguishing anyone or organization which he comes into association with. What else can be said? His sterling leadership qualities and rare business acumen can never be questioned. Sentiments away, anyone who denies the fact that this man worked for Anambra is either a truth hater or outrightly blind. He built on the positive legacies of his predecessors and initiated transformative schemes all for the good of all Anambrarians. For the fact that he had his house organized from the go especially in the area of finances, the godfathers could hardly penetrate. There was no point sponsoring the self-sufficient; the man was therefore in-charge of his government.
I wonder however what Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu would have said were he alive to learn about this development of . The late Dim in 2010 made a last request from Ndi Igbo, he told us to reelect his political godson under APGA, according to him this was his last wish and in love and obedience to the retired warlord, Anambrarians voted en masse for Okwute ndi Igbo who completed his 8 years double tenure in March 2014, paving a way for his anointed successor Chief Willie Obiano, whose emergence amidst series of controversies was made possible courtesy of Governor Obi’s tenacity.
Earlier on in August 2014, the four members of APGA in the House of Representatives defected from APGA to PDP. They included Uche Ekwunife, Victor Ogene, Egwuatu, and Chris Azubogu. The defection of these four stakeholders was alleged to have happened at the behest of the ex governor Obi. Few weeks later, after the defection of the stakeholders, the ex governor resigned from waiting to be confirmed the Board of Trustee of APGA. While these fueled the rumour of his proposed defection to PDP, the ex governor through his media assistant Val Obienyem was quick to refute the rumour and asserted that he remains a bona fide member of APGA. Reacting to the alleged remark made by APGA national chairman Chief Victor Umeh which described Obi as ingrate, the media assistant assured that the former governor remained the face of APGA and a consistent member. According to Obienyem “those who are ingrates are those who said he would become the leader and chairman of the party’s board of trustees, which could have been ratified the next day, but failed to do so for their selfish reasons.”
Obviously, these are weighty and suggestive accusations, but weightier and more suggestive are the actions that have been taken as well as its consequences. Thus today we wake up to a Peter Obi of PDP, associated now with the irrepressible umbrella rather than the hefty fowl which had crowed along with him for the past eight years of his political relevance.
I wonder what my priest friend will say to me now; he was an ardent lover of Obi and his then anti-PDP crusade. The governor often graces their monthly priestly retreats and several other religious functions where he normally explains himself, his motives, methods and actions.
The Obi gospel was thus often preached openly in church gatherings, in pages of the churches newsletters, and other available means of communication. His handing over of schools back to the church was thumbed so high and lauded to the hearing of even the deaf. PDP amounted to everything evil, nefarious, corrupt, terrible and unthinkable. Governor Obi showcased himself not just as any other politician, but a different breed of politician; one laced with integrity, decorated with selflessness and consistency.
What then can we make of this unsettling news? Is Obi actually a beacon of light or chip off the same old block? What is behind his jumping ship from APGA to PDP? Is it personal interest or desire for service to Nigeria? Have we been conned again; this time by a shrewd gentleman skilled in gaining human trust? Personally, I have no problem with the former governor’s advancement of his political ambition in any platform of his preference. If he so desires to join the least known of political parties, he can float a new party.
The problem, however, is that Obi placed himself as different and based on principle only to end up dining from the same plate with those he postured as opposed to.
Again another grapevine said the man is gunning for the office of the secretary to the federal government or minister of finance in the next dispensation. As far as I am concerned, the former governor remains one of the most credible to occupy such exalted office. But I am aware, though I stand to be corrected that these positions in question, constitutionally requires no political party affiliation for anyone to head them. They are not elective positions, thus it remains the prerogative of the president to appoint capable hands to man these and other similar salient offices. If these were truly Obi’s ambitions, his chances weren’t bleak, since APGA fully supports the reelection bid of President Goodluck Jonathan.
Without muddling into demeaning gutter politics and joining forces with the same oppressors he loathed and crusaded against, the ex governor should have waited patiently. But it appears he has finally agreed with the philosophy of desperate politicians, who believe that waiting for the mountain to come to Moses is an illusion, the real deal is to get solid mountaineering gears and climb to the peak of the mountain with every might one can summon.
Somehow I think these recent developments prove the old theory right; in politics there are no permanent friends, just permanent interests. The discrepancy results however from the fact erstwhile governor advanced a persona of a principled politician; a dancer of different tune far removed from that of the rambunctious others who he consistently encouraged us to despise. No doubt defection is not a big deal; just yesterday, former governor of Ogun state Gbenga Daniel returned to PDP after his fruitless sojourn in Labour party which saw him at loggerheads with his godfather Olusegun Obasanjo.
The governor elect of Ekiti state Ayo Fayose did the same, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is a known defector, Nuhu Ribadu with all his integrity rants is a passenger in the bandwagon. Audu Ogbe, Femi Fani Kayode, Chris Ngige, Uche Ekwunife, Aminu Masari, Nasir El Rufai, the list goes on and on endless including the unknown in the grassroots.
No matter the amount of defences cooked up by Obienyem and other members of the Peter Obi team of image managers, the truth is laid bare for those who dare to look further. It has never been about us; nay it has always been about them, their ego, their ambition and private pocket. What a way to preserve the wish of Ojukwu!
Obiano, a pedigree of distinctions fit to lead Anambra….
By Dr. Chido Nwangwu, on March 12, 2014
USAfricaonline.com: Elected under the banner of the markedly Igbo-interest APGA party, Willie Maduabuchi Obiano, a banker of international repute, a philanthropist and cultural custodian, a devout Catholic, my friend with a versatile
First and foremost, to understand the realities and dynamics of Obiano’s emerging governorship, we must situate him in the recent political ecology of Anambra.
Anambra is homeland to some of the formidable financial heavyweights in Nigeria and holds an impressive mix of talented leaders.
Also, truth must be told that Anambra has, to this day, more than its fair share of spoilers and
squads of acid-tongue, elbow-throwing politicos who thrive in crises and malice. Lest I forget, there’s the motley of pint-size political god-fathers and buccaneers for whom business gets its highest returns from politics.
Over the past 20 years, Anambra has witnessed, except for two or three, an unimpressive confetti of political charlatanry and, in some cases, murderous events which turned away many well-meaning citizens of the State from competitive public service. Many refused to be involved in the partisan swindle for which the recent political business of the great State had become synonymous….
Consequently, Obiano’s emergence, his selection by outgoing Governor Peter Obi and subsequent election, I believe, reflect the popular vote of Anambrarians to maintain a responsible handling of the resources of Anambra. Evidently, the performance bar for Governors in Anambra has been lifted higher by a hardworking, resourceful and populist Obi. Obiano’s performance expectation, I must note, has been pushed very high.
Second, in the big picture of geo-politics, especially ahead of Nigeria’s 2015 potentially explosive presidential election, the Obiano-APGA votes fulfilled and secured the broad sentiments around the Igbo interest for a relatively independent and symbolically autonomous political community of Anambra. Therein lies the importance of Obiano as, potentially, a key leader of the Igbo eastern states, at this crucial period as Nigeria bifurcates along the geo-ethnic lines of the ruling PDP and the opposition APC.
Third, all politics are local, as the political maxim states. Obiano, understandably, in a way similar to Obi, prefers the PDP over the APC. Mallam el-Rufai did not help matters for his APC party with his November 2013 Anambra election drama at a hotel in Awka and useless insults at the Governor Obi.
Chief Obiano told me recently, during an exclusive USAfricaonline.com interview, that APGA and the Igbo voters “will get more mileage” by supporting Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (of the PDP) for the 2015 elections.
My 100 minutes interview is, to date, the most comprehensive insight to Obiano, the accomplished banker, who bagged the USAfrica Best of Africa International Banker of the Year 2012 (long before he had an eye on partisan politics). Obiano charts a path for his priorities as Governor from March 17, 2014, speaks candidly on his relationship with the outgoing, popular Governor Peter Obi who strongly backed him to victory in the November-December 2013 elections.
He reflects on how he got into politics and governorship campaign, and outlines why he considers security as critical to making Anambra State a business destination of choice in Africa. On a personal level, he speaks about his wife Chief Mrs. V. Ebelechukwu Obiano (Osodieme) who introduced me directly to Akpokuedike Obiano in 2012.
Fourth, on the all-important issue of the direct impact of his plans, the retired banker cited, like he did during his campaign, that a number of the public policy pillars and economic enablers of his agenda for governing will drive economic development and growth, exponentially, for Anambra.
But governance and campaigns are two different realities.
For the campaign, it’s largely an information warfare and mobilization battle, and….
For governance, first, it’s about definable achievements to be seen by the constituents; then followed, realistically, as both information messaging and mobilization battle for the hearts and minds of the governed/voters.
Why is this relevant to Obiano?
Even the best plans and initial achievements have, sometimes, been drowned in the fire and thunder of the boisterous politics of Anambra (and parts of Nigeria). But I believe that Obiano’s pedigree and achievements show him as man who is determined to make history in Anambra for good reasons.
The man who goes by the courage-filled traditional title of ‘Akpokuedike’ cannot offer any less as Anambra beckons….
On balance, I believe that Willie Obiano has the integrity, the intellection and clarity of purpose to lead the great homeland of Achebe, Azikiwe, Ojukwu, Ekwueme, Osadebe, P-Square, etc. My brief inquiry to his history and upbringing show a family value of spartan discipline and resourcefulness —instilled by his late father, Sir Philip Onuorah Obiano, a well-known headmaster in their hometown of Aguleri. Those two uncommon attributes are needed for leadership roles, particularly as Governor of a State with scarce resources and fiercely competing priorities.
Evidently, Obiano’s governorship promises to usher in the dawn of a new era where policy lucidity meets relevant experience.
•Dr. Chido Nwangwu, moderator of the Achebe Colloquium
(Governance, Security, and Peace in Africa) December 7-8, 2012 at Brown University in Rhode Island and former adviser on Africa business/issues to the Mayor of Houston, is the Founder & Publisher of Houston-based USAfrica multimedia networks since 1992, first African-owned, U.S-based newspaper published on the internet USAfricaonline.com; CLASSmagazine, AchebeBooks.com, the USAfrica-powered e-groups of AfricanChristians, Nigeria360, IgboEvents, UNNalumni, and the pictorials site PhotoWorks.TV . He is completing a book titled Nelson Mandela and Chinua Achebe: Footprints of Greatness. He has been profiled by the CNN International for his pioneering works on multimedia/news/public policy projects for Africans and Americans. http://edition.cnn.com/video/#/video/international/2010/07/29/mpa.african.media.bk.a.cnn
—— 2017 book: In this engaging, uniquely insightful and first person reportage book, MANDELA & ACHEBE: Footprints of Greatness, about two global icons and towering persons of African descent whose exemplary lives
He chronicles, movingly, his 1998 reporting from the Robben Island jail room in South Africa where Mandela was held for decades through his 20 years of being close to Achebe. He moderated the 2012 Achebe Colloquium at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island.”I’ll forever remember having walked inside and peeped through that historic Mandela jail cell (where he was held for most of his 27 years in unjust imprisonment) at the dreaded Robben Island, on March 27, 1998, alongside then Editor-in-chief of TIME magazine and later news chief executive of the CNN, Walter Isaacson (and others) when President Bill Clinton made his first official trip to South Africa and came to Robben Island. Come to this island of scourge and you will understand, in part, the simple greatness and towering grace of Nelson Mandela”, notes Chido Nwangwu, award-winning writer, multimedia specialist and founder of USAfricaonline.com, the first African-owned U.S-based newspaper published on the internet, in his first book; he writes movingly from his 1998 reporting from South Africa on Mandela. http://www.mandelaachebechido.com/