How Mr.Peter Obi Loyalty to PDP almost destroyed APGA!
This just passed week was a busy and ceremonial time for Anambra state and its people by extension Ndi-Igbo. First was the colourful and glamorous send off parties organised in honour of Mr Peter Obi 2 time's tenure as the Gov.of the state and followed was the handover ceremony of the rein of power to Chief Willi Obiano the in-coming Gov-elect. These two events saw many Ndi-Anambra and friends trooped in droves to Alex-Ekwueme Square Akwa the state capital, in jubilation and joyful moods marking the send off of the man many regards as the political son of Dim Ojukwu celebrates as he celebrates what is taken as the most peaceful transition of power in recent times in the state, against the well known volatile political terrain ascribed to the state courtesy of Chris Uba´s kidnapping and burning of Government House during Ngige administration
Certainly this piece is not to say Obi failed in any straight of imagination, He had done well in Anambra state going by popular opinion and, as the waves of events surrounding the end of his administration would have put him on the pedestrain of a successful administrator who had help bring development, peace and political stability to his people at the time of need But to many that's one part of his responsibility but another most essential had been for him to spread APGA east ward as the Gov/leader under APGA who directly benefited from the influence of Ojukwu as the spiritual and national leader.
Again, without mincing words Peters Obi tenure could be regarded as the best things that happened to the state in terms of good Governance since the advent of this present democratic dispensation, if not for the entire time the state was caved out old Anambra comprising of the present Enugu state in 1991. In fact Mr.Obi time in office, except for court cases he fought initially to reclaim his mandate stolen by Ngige (PDP) who later was sent parking 2006 by Appeal Court Sitting in Enugu, was relatively calm and free from the Godfatherism, political thuggery and highhandedness. The truth being that Anambra state under Peter Obi witnessed tremendous changes in the past 8yrs of his service both in terms of prudent management the state resources, infrastructure development, accountability and transparency and most importantly federal Government and International support and presence.
As it stands now Mr Obi no doubt had written his name in Gold in Anambra state as seen by the numerous positive, best wishes and congratulations messages on the occasion of his handover. This was against the backdrop that the state was known before he came into power as Nigerian political hot bed. His performances in office and his connection with the presidency are in no small measures contributed to his good achievements, Even though many people including this writer believed he ironically betrayed the confidence reposed on him by Ojukwu reasons by his unflinching support to Jonathan PDP led federal Government against the mood and mind of the entire south easterners who had hoped that his administration would had ushered in a new political dawn for the people in ways of consolidating on the leadership of APGA as Ojukwu would have wanted probably re-educate Igbo's on the need to stand firm on a strong political identity as other major ethnicities are apparently doing.
Unfortunately, But instead of doing the above Obi was busy all the time junketing with Jonathan led PDP Government with the identity of APGA subdued in his pocket just to answer an obedient opposition party Governor; whereas his mandate as Ojukwu political protégé would have propelled him to consolidate APGA in the east with pragmatism. While he was busy hobnobbing with PDP at centre Imo state Gov.Rochas Okorocha who was an APGA Gov out of frustration decamped from APGA to APC, that was after his many attempts to rekindle the spirit of (Enyi Mba Enyi) in APGA failed which was Ojukwu what would have wanted .The slightest time Rochas came to close APGA leadership was during the heat of Mr.Obi and Umeh the former national Chairman of APGA locking up horn in a leadership tussle that lasted years, their conflict only forced to be resolved few months before the election and Obi subsequent exit from power. Rochas in a way did not get the chances to make inputs or operate fully with the identity of APGA rather his coming close was viewed with suspicion as one who wanted to hijack APGA structure for himself. It became messier when Umeh, Annie Okonkwo and other APGA members s started to draw close to Douglas House Owerri the capital of Imo-state. It is fresh in our minds still how the news that Obi and Okorocha aids exchanged fist in public with each defending their principals and that was the height of mistrust that existed between Akwa and Owerri.
Apart from Obi's success in Anambra, the future consequences of how he using APGA like an NGO to further the nest of PDP is yet unknown but in my layman analysis two things will surely happen to APGA in the future should Gov.Willy Obiano continues with Obi's approached policy with regards to APGA relationship with other political parties especially federal Government , first APGA with only one state and no strong footing elsewhere will remain a regional party hence every major party in Government at the centre will always want to use it for its bidding, Secondly APGA may cease to exist should another party takes over Government in Anambra in the future as many prominent of its people are known to belong to other political parties And if that were to happen then Ndi Igbo will have no choice than to begin afresh an attempt to nurse a new political identity and in the process may go back to political wilderness well enough to provoke further systematic marginalization and manipulations of Ibos within the Nigerian state.
Another thing is this, if Mr.Obiano continues to allow PDP to 'robber stamp' APGA people especially the rest Nigerians might think Igbo's cannot play opposition party politics because of pecuniary gains, otherwise one tend not to understand why an opposition political party like APGA presumably capable of producing a presidential candidate will be rubbished that way, its goes a long way to show the inability of the easterners to pursue and sustain a collective will.
From every evidence available on how Mr.Obi handled APGA it can said he intentional played to the gallery against the expectation, hope, dreams and aspiration of many Igbo's on APGA, His penchant to disregard APGA spread was never hidden which ironically means he placed values on immediate gains above the party interest of which such kind of politics will not be tolerated away in the world even in Yoruba land as many would term his approach for what its ANTI-PARTY activities; He conspicuously demonstrated through his action that he a is heart and Mind PDP supporter as against the survival of his own political party and the result been that APGA narrowly escaped extinction. In the moment there are fresh cases in court with opposition's parties challenging the result of the last November election which will determine whether APGA really won or had rigged the election with PDP assistance.
The chances to have transformed APGA into the stronghold of Igbo dominated party was there before and after Ojukwu died but due to Mr Obi's personal interest and political survival he narrowed down that opportunity forgetting whatever concerns Ojukwu concerns Ndi-Igbo in General as he Ojukwu stood the best chance to unity Igbo's in a political movement. Evidence on Mr.Obi nonchalant attitude towards APGA can seen on how he and Umeh the Former APGA national chairman Victor Umeh wasted much time in frivolous leadership tussle that lasted almost his entire tenure, with peace made at the last days before the state election and finally his exit from Office, of which APAGA as a political party and a influence in that east would have had a strong grip on the whole of south east but he squandered the opportunity serving PDP interest and failed to realize on time his responsibilities of leading a party founded by Ojukwu and others Igbo leaders at a time like this in our country's history.
Finally, During the hand over ceremony in Akwa last week Mr.Obi was quoted to have said that it's good to keep close relationship with the federal Government irrespective of the party in power in any state as an advice on how best to attract Federal presence. If that statement is really made by Obi then it's most unfortunate, ridiculous and absurd as that betrays the very noble notion that opposition in a democracy is a health development.
Make no mistake, its true Jonathan has commissioned few federal projects in the east but he's yet to fulfil all his campaign promises to Ndi-Igbo. Our roads are in the worst conditions and decays, erosions issues is entirely a forgotten issue, promises to build the second Niger Bridge turned to a mirage with many more uncompleted projects are here and there yet Mr Obi and his Cohorts are on the top of the roof singing Halleluiah and ready to exchange hands on our behalf again. The little effort from federal Government like the upgrading of Enugu to International airport are still an uncompleted project with only Ethiopian flying the root and tarmacs runs ways are not unto international standards. The propaganda that Obi loyalty to PDP brought these opportunities is a complete liar and unacceptable. It's our entitlements to get developmental project and assistance after all we voted for him in an overwhelming proportion during the general 2011 election
Nevertheless, Obi's service and loyalty to Jonathan PDP is paying off as he has been confirmed even before handing-over power as one of those that will assume responsibility at the national level soon probably to replace Mr.Pius Ayim as the new (SFG). The speed and manner to which that announcement to retain him was made explains how much he had worked off half of his time as APGA leader and PDP loyalist combined together.
Finally, I wish Mr.Peter Obi well and hope while he waits to assume his new federal job he will take time off to articulate deeply on what its means to be opposition politician in a democracy.
By: Adams Kennedy Chidi