A Tale of Two Peters: The Story of Betrayal
There is an Igbo saying, that a person's name influences him. Little wonder, though Judas is a name available in Christianity, no one takes it as a baptismal name, apparently because of the lot of Judas Iscariot in the bible, who betrayed his Master and Saviour of mankind, Jesus Christ of Nazareth.
Peter is a name that presents a paradox of both strong and weak in the bible.
Strong because of his outstanding edge among the twelve apostles in character and bravery, leading Lord Jesus to anoint him "the rock upon which this church shall be built". However, Jesus prophesied that during his most trying moment, Peter would deny him at the third crow of the cockerel.
Despite the boasts of Chief Apostle Peter and the bragadacio of slashing the ear of one of Christ's assaulting soldiers, at the moment of heat, Peter succumbed, and denied his Master, in fulfillment of the word of God. Christ's mercy of the re-affixing of the soldier's slashed ear, is the exact dichotomy between brawn and resilience/stoicism. Lord Jesus was challenged by corporal pain as a sine qua non for spiritual triumph. However, Peter's betrayal epitomizes human frailty, mortality of the body and immortality of the soul.
Luckily for Apostle Peter, inspite of his slip, as decreed, he is the rock upon which the church of Christ is built, and indeed the first Pope. This bit on the life of the great Apostle Peter suffices, to enable us peruse the rave of the moment, Peter Of Agulu.
To discerning watchers of the power template in Anambra State in the past eight years or so, Mr Peter Obi as he would deceptively wish to be addressed, instead of his excellency, right from the start, had betrayed his duo personality.
For example, he rejected his more luxurious official cars and chauffeurs as governor, and opted to drive himself in a 406 Peugeot saloon car. He was also a regular sight at ticket counters of airports, purchasing his travel air tickets and standing on the queue, clearing himself and luggage. By so doing, he demeaned the exalted office of the governor, just to deceive Anambrarians and the world at large that the puritanical messiah of Anambra State had come.
On the contrary, trained eyes could see his cheap popularity as downright simpletonness rather than simplicity. Indeed, Mr Obi was at best infradig.
The protracted battle for his stolen mandate, fought and won because of the unflinching support of the late immortal Ikemba Nnewi, indefatigable APGA National chairman, Victor Umeh and the entire irrepressible members of the APGA family conferred on him an air of almost invincibility. His immodesty knew no bounds, which apogee was the crowning of himself as Okwute Ndi Igbo (the rock upon which the Igbo nation is built).
Thenceforth, he degenerated into a megalomaniac bully and maximum ruler, running the state as his personal vineyard. The entire state was impoverished and pauperized, but with a few clique of his cronies swimming in opulence. Peter relegated the founder and leader of APGA, Ikemba Nnewi and other leaders, and ran a one man show legitimized by hired media while the state's electronic and print media died under his watch. Peter's treachery and betrayal manifested quite early in his first tenure, when his mentor and benefactor, Ikemba was fast losing his sight and needed urgent surgery abroad.
Peter was said to have grossly slashed the amount requested by our late hero, making nonsense of the request, and worsening his eyes.
In the heat of his re-election, Peter cringed back to his mentors and dragged the then ailing Ikemba along strenuous electioneering. The campaign was ferocious and dicey, and came to a point where then frail Ikemba Nnewi used his last energy to raise the hand of Peter Obi in a rally, and made him (Peter) his last wish to Igbo people.
Expectedly, he won the election overwhelmingly, and almost literally kicked most party loyalists away.
In his hey days, some of his solemn vows to his benefactor, Ikemba, included that nothing would make him leave APGA. Another was that any day he leaves APGA, he would retire from politics, and go to face his business. Obi's unstable personality came to the fore at the tail end of his tenure, when he was scheming and smarting for his replacement. Just because of a little disagreement, Peter set up a parallel National party executive with Barrister Okwu as Chairman. Though hard to believe, but Peter, set Okwu against Umeh, in a blood-letting that is better imagined. He vacillated and changed like chameleon during the screening of APGA guber faithfuls, leaving APGA with two flag bearers and two national chairmen at the same time.
Above confusion, casts doubt as to who was his preferred candidate. Peter's treacheries are Catholic and monumental. By far, his long expected defection to the PDP was the mother of all treacheries.
He has shown his worth... Bread and butter leader, simplicita.
The problem of the Igbos since the end of the Nigerian civil war is not really that of national cake, but of identify as a dignified people with equal stake with other tribes in the Nigerian project. That was exactly why the great Zik of Africa, in 1979, foisted the Nigerian People's Party (NPP) as a platform for the Igbo man. Before that master stroke, the Igbos were floating between the National Party of Nigeria (NPN), predominantly Hausa/Fulani, and the Unity Party of Nigeria (UPN), Yoruba. The Igbos were therefore colourless by that arrangement, and did not have any bargaining power.
This was unacceptable to the great Zik who formed the NPP from another Party, the Great Nigerian People's Party, with Alhaji Waziri Ibrahim as leader. As soon as Zik declared his presidential candidacy on the platform of the NPP, he became an instant hot cake, as neither NPN nor UPN could win a majority without Zik's people, the Igbos. Zik assumed the title of the beautiful bride hotly sought after by the other two parties.
He settled for the NPN, which eventually won the Presidential election, with Alhaji Shehu Shagari emerging as President.
The coalition of the NPN and NPP yielded good dividends for the Igbos, and above all, afforded them a platform and a voice. History repeated itself when the PDP, though widely believed to be founded by the former Vice President of Nigeria, Dr Alex Ekwueme, was snatched from him by the north and the minorities, and the Alliance for Democracy (AD) monopolised by the west, leaving the Igbos once more without any political platform or voice. The hero of Igbo cause, great Ikemba Nnewi formed the All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA) to give Igbo people a platform and a voice. Instantly the APGA became an instant force, winning governorship elections, first in Anambra State and later also in Imo State.
From vaulting ambition, Governor Rochas Okorocha of Imo State first betrayed the Igbos by decamping to the recently registered All Progressives Congress (APC). This action drew the flack of Igbo people across party divides, and Mr Peter Obi vowed to destool Rochas, and return the state to APGA.
Now, with his sell out, history will place Peter as the last Igbo man to destroy the last Igbo platform, APGA, the platform that catapulted him from obscurity to power, fame and affluence.
Unlike Apostle Peter who was prophesied to betray Lord Jesus, so that humanity would be saved, Peter of Agulu has proven to be a traitor that defied all prophesies.
Peter Obi has become a new challenge for Igbo people, as a noble stock, not easily swayed by mundane material considerations above the basic sacro-sanctity of their being. He is a clarion call for the Igbos to rise and take their destiny in their own hands, by, irrespective of political divide, supporting the APGA government of Anambra State and hoisting APGA governments in at least, Imo and Abia States, come 2015.
This is a task that must be done!
AUSTEN CHUDI ANYAEJI WRITES FROM OKIJA, IHIALA LGA, ANAMBRA STATE.