Obiano’s visit to Buhari: of Shadows and Substance by Okechukwu Anarado
Since General Muhammadu Buhari of the All Progressives Congress, APC, was announced the winner of the 28 March Presidential election by the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, reactions in forms of comments and courtesy visits to the President-elect have been on the ascent. Indeed the spate of these reactions was pioneered by the early congratulatory call to Buhari from President Jonathan who, disregarding the wild delusory passions of majority of his mindless retinue, conceded electoral supremacy to the General. Following this, the President-elect has maintained a busy schedule playing host to various persons and groups who recognize the General’s bent on changing the course of events in Nigeria when his tenure takes effect on 29 May, 2015.
It was therefore resultant upon the burden of leadership of his people of Anambra State that Chief Willie Obiano, in good conscience, warmed up to Buhari in congratulations on his electoral prowess; this hand of fellowship, irrespective of the obvious support the Governor lent President Jonathan in the electioneering. However, owing to the divergence of opinions on the mode of engagement across party divides, particularly at this post election time when conspiracy of suspicion shortens perceptions; and consequent more upon hackneyed cuckolding of passions for the people, some coarse voices are echoing condemnation for an otherwise sagacious politics of Chief Obiano. But Obiano’s move is reminiscent of Late Dr. Chuba Okadigbo’s gregarious doctrine of sound political arithmetic. The Governor’s deft action simply defines the positive side of dynamism in political engagements where the subject of discourse is constant: The people, who ought to be, and indeed are, the primary concern of conscientious leaders. By his act, Gov. Willie Obiano tempered haughty conjectures and projections of residual hurt, hate and mutual suspicion which could further blight the journey to nationhood. These tendencies negating frank commitment among the peoples of Nigeria are, by Obiano’s index, sublimated in positive charges to reinvent a roughened people in a rather ramdom gathering of tribes that Nigeria hopes yet to transcend.
Not mindless of the identity of Ndigbo as resilient, industrious, confident, adventurous, self-asserting, astute and ego-conscious, Chief Obiano’s visit to the President-elect further emboldens Ndigbo to negotiate their fate in an unveiling national context that otherwise looks skewed against them. Rather than encumber Igbos, the underlying goodwill commends them as willing partners in the execution of project-Nigeria amidst the optimism that Buhari’s reign suggests.
But why must Chief Obiano be the harbinger of the sensibilities of modern Igbos? Leadership! At this material time, Chief Obiano, apart from being the Governor of the frontline Igbo State of Anambra, is the prime Igbo political leader who is not weighed down by the twists of the prevailing political jostles across Nigeria. He is in comfort zone, having served barely one eventful year of a four year contract with his people. Again Obiano needs no image laundering since he neither bears any baggage of unhealthy political flicks nor any vexation of unholy meddle with public funds. Any of these would have marked him suspect. More so the Governor’s outstanding development strides in Anambra State accord him huge credibility in matters of constructive governance and protection of the interests of his people and state. And for these, the Governor bears rash vilification?
Indeed, the burden of headship in guiding the bearing of a people and their perception by outsiders has always proved unenviable. The aggregated sentiments of a people is often an override on whatever other contentions their leader, or whoever else by the way, might bear. Silence or inaction, consequent upon the phobia of sundry contrary opinions typical of heterogeneous followership, casts a nimbus of inanity on leadership. Leadership therefore demands promptness in preempting the effects of action and inaction in the political economy of the led. That visit smacks of a leader’s sublime response to the nuances of his people’s pursuits and fulfillment.
In the context of the subject of this piece, Gov. Obiano’s wisdom soars beyond the veiled ruinous dispositions of the like of one Dr. Tony Nwaezeigwe whose publication in Vanguard Newspaper of Monday, 11 May, 2015 condemns the Governor’s representation. For no other reason than mischief (for crass ignorance of political turns could hardly be ascribed to the academic doctor) the academic battles in vain to demonize an act whose validity blossoms increasingly as he seeks its batter. While the world preaches peaceful and constructive engagements across geopolitical divides, Nwaezeigwe’s conservatism tends to confine him to separatism. He pleads ‘integrity’ for adopting a position that limits a people. While Nwaezeigwe’s impressions about the coalescence of the South-east and South-south Nigeria are germane, his conclusion that the Igbos should abandon any opportunities that could emerge from their immediate political shortfall is as foolhardy as it is absurd. Has President Jonathan not moved on a greater man in his failure than he was in government or ever could have been had he won the 2015 poll? And Nwaezeigbe insists the Igbos ought to wallow in hibernation when options for self expression in the emerging scenario beckon his discerning compatriots.
Against the cynical submissions of Gov. Obiano ‘hastily jumping into the bandwagon of General Buhari’s victory,’ his undermining the integrity of Ndigbo and his abandonment of APGA; unless Dr. Nwaezeigwe contrives any other Obiano-Buhari encounter of his choice, the one evidenced provides a Governor who carried the weight of the need of his constituency to his would-be Commander-in-Chief: that such needs might be duly served at the appropriate time. Recourse to history reminds one of the dexterity of the ‘Crying Governor’, the late Chief Sam Onunaka Mbakwe of the old Imo State, whose intense commitment to the good of his people drove to constructive inter-party relationship meant to attract further attention from the North-dominated NPN-controlled Federal Government to his NPP Igbo State. Today, Mbakwe is generously eulogized while some persons seek Obiano’s head for leveraging on his abundant goodwill to improve the wellbeing of Ndi-Anambra and Ndigbo. The voices against Obiano are surely conspiratorial and therefore unacceptable to Ndigbo and other fair-minded Nigerians.
A revisit of Governor Obiano’s interaction with journalists during his visit to the President-elect stems the lies of workers of mischief. Hear him: ‘The outcome of the last Presidential Elections has shown us that the ties that bind us as a nation are stronger than the narrow interests that seek to force us apart … Mr. President-elect is not going to appoint his party members only, because everybody will support him. Therefore, I am pleading that he will appoint people from other parties so that we can all embrace the change.’ On his stake in APGA, Chief Obiano reaffirmed that he ‘will remain with APGA and work closely with the President. I will give him the same support that I gave to President Jonathan – hundred percent.’ I rest my case.
Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu