PAMELA EBOH, Awka
When Chief Peter Obi, aka ‘okwute’ made a grand entry as a political neophyte on the political chess board of Anambra State, he came armed with a bold question on his label; “Are we cursed or are we the cause”. While many saw his question as hitting the nail on the head at the time, many political pundits dismissed him as a jester who had come on board to seek for notice.
But, the few that knew his financial status feared that he was taking the wrong side of the pedestrians’ track by stepping into politics having made it in business, especially that of Anambra State that is filled with murky waters.
Though political watchers dismissed him as a political neophyte whose pockets politicians would feast on like hungry lions and suck dry Obi focused on his target; the Agu-Awka seat of power.Like a fearless bulldog that cannot be intimidated by mere roars of a hungry lion, he took the bull by the horn and bulldozed his way to the center; up to the zenith of the mountain.
Apart from unwittingly driving himself into the political arena, he also waltzed his way to become the governorship flag bearer of a then new political party on bloc, APGA.
He went to the war front as a new kid on the block with a unique feminine soft voice, warmed his way into the hearts of the electorates and defeated the sitting government of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, led by Dr. Chris Ngige.
Though it may be said that the hunger for a change among Anambra people contributed to his victory following the crisis that had bedevilled PDP for some time, Obi appeared like a breath of fresh air to the people. He was a successful businessman, not politically soiled and had the most pertinent question which every sane mind in the state was drawn to.
After emerging victorious at the polls, he took over the mantle of leadership at the Agu Awka seat of power but while he was still crawling the rope of leadership, he was pulled down with impeachment. Perhaps, it was a way of teaching him the ugly side of Anambra politics or a means opponents used to register their anger on his unexpected smooth sail to the top without queueing behind other politicians who had been there for many years and more so, by-passing few individuals who see Anambra State as their own birth right to control and give power to who they deem fit.
To his followers, it was an ugly blow but to his opponents, it was time to clip his wings. While many cried in the open, others lamented the turn out of events, wondering if the state would ever enjoy good governance without interference.When he temporary left the seat of power, his deputy, Dame Virgy Etiaba was sworn in to continue but Obi didn’t take his gaze off the prize, rather he employed the justice pinnacle to recover his stolen mandate.
Though the journey through the corridors of justice took a while, as a child on appointment with destiny, Obi won the case and returned to hold sway amidst cheers and regrets.On his return, he went to work using the platform of Anambra Integrated Development Strategy ANIDS, to develop all sectors simultaneously. In so doing, he endeared himself to the church, schools, traditional rulers, the elites as well the generality of Anambra People. In Obi, Anambra people experienced good governance, improved security, provision of infrastructures, etc.
And following the pace he set above his predecessors, Obi went for a second term election and won despite all the campaign of calumny sponsored against him by opposition parties.
Ironically, despite the kicks from opposition parties, they still secretly worked behind the curtain in his favour to ensure he was returned to continue the good work he was doing. In winning, he broke the one term jinx in the state since the return of democracy and became the first governor to win a second term in office in the state. He used the second term to solidify himself as a political force to reckon with, even without having any political god father. Apart from empowering people, every local government was touched by his administration.
When his tenure ended, he handed over the baton of leadership to a seasoned administrator in the person of Willie Obiano to continue with the development of the state.In no time, they fell out and Obi was subsequently frustrated out of the party he brought to limelight as the only Igbo party in the country. He was labelled with all manner of names but in all of it, he kept mute and went about doing good, upgrading his educational skills but not before joining the PDP as his new political family.
Just like he touched lives as a state governor and also fought crime to the barest minimum, Obi continued visiting schools and donating to them, especially the impoverished areas of the world and also gave speech at high profile occasions.It was until 2017 when he returned to the political arena of the state to rewrite the wrong that the storm gathered against him again. His political enemies, including those he empowered teamed up with his political family to pull him down and in so doing, his new party, PDP, his candidate of choice, Oseloka Obaze lost the governorship election to the incumbent APGA led government of Governor Willie Obiano.
Apparently, political opponents scored the loss as the end of a political era for Obi but, little did they know that only God determines the destiny of every mortal.Suffice it to say that the stormy political scenario in the country created room for the main opposition party, PDP to dust her house back in order and fight a common canker worm that is eating deep into every fabric of the society.
While the stirred water was yet to settle, the once tampered root of PDP began to regroup as a unit with all her lost sons and daughters returning back to the mother that fed them as a child.In returning, PDP once again became a formidable force with all its branches in place.
The national Congress of the party held in Port Harcourt indeed proved to doubting Thomases that the PDP of 1999 is back, stronger and committed and nipped in the bud the notion that no political party has the strength or capacity to fight the sitting APC government toe to toe.To the surprise of Nigerians, the organisation and the event proper was without any visible cracks, rancour and bitterness.
There was no news of the usual stepping down of aspirants rather, they all went to the polls as a united force to test their popularity.
Like centurion event, People stayed glued to their Television sets all day, eager to know the outcome of the congress. The announcement of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the chosen presidential candidate of the party sent thrills into the air as major cities in Nigeria celebrated his emergence to the four corners of the earth.
Even though Atiku is yet to win the main election, his emergence came as a respite to Nigerians.After Atiku’s emergence, people began to point fingers as to who may emerge his vice presidential candidate. The media was awash with names like deputy senate President, Ike Ekweremadu, former governor Peter Obi, former Central bank governor, Charles Soludo among others as potential vice presidential candidates.
Alas, Peter Obi’s name was announced as Atiku’s vice presidential candidate and soon after it was announced, the southeast region erupted in celebration as people gathered in sit-out joint to drink and make merry.Even though the celebration was cut short by the statement of Governor Dave Umahi of Ebonyi State who said the southeast PDP leaders and governors were not consulted before Obi was picked, the Atiku/Obi pair has since sent shivers in the camp of the opposition party as many notable stake holders continue to throw their weight behind the duo.
But, according to an inside source in Umahi’s camp, he said that the south east PDP leaders are not saying no to Obi’s pick, rather they want to use him as a bargaining chip to ensure power is handed over to the Igbo after Atiku.
The source said, “People are castigating Umahi and the other south east leaders on their stand because they don’t understand the political chess game that is being played. Who wouldn’t be happy to have his own in power. Nobody can be happier than them. Obi is the best candidate for that position but we need to also utilize this opportunity we have optimally, otherwise we will miss out and if we miss out this time, we will never have it again. They want to get Atiku to agree with them on terms and they want to give them assurance he will do only term and hand over to the Igbo.
” People ate just talking because they lack understanding of the tilt but one day they will understand.”
While the south east leaders are busy clearing every push part according to the source, the question is; is Peter Gregory Obi the Moses the Igbo people have been waiting for to take them to the promised land? The promised land of an Igbo presidency. It is a question only time will answer as events continue to unfold according to destiny.
No doubt, Obi has what it takes to steer the ship of this nation, Nigeria to stability, economically, educationally and otherwise. If he could do it in a state despite being a political neophyte and the halt in the middle, no one will contest the fact that he can do it for a country at large. It is a general believe among the people of the southeast that a win for Atiku/Obi ticket in the 2019 presidential election will draw the Igbo a step closer to the presidential seat. The die is cast but, until the election is won, the ball is in the court of every Nigerian who hates anarchy, vindictiveness, religious intolerance, hunger, deprivation to get on their knees and pray hard for a divine change that will change the corrupted change.
For a better society