By Ezeani Chukwunonso Elvis
“There is nothing wrong with APGA and my joining the PDP has nothing to do with APGA. I enjoy cordial relationship with Chief Willie Obiano and the Government is doing well. I will continue to support him in building a better Anambra State for the good of the children of the State.”
Chief (Dr.) Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N – 8th October 2014.
On the 7th of October 2014, the Nigerian political scene witnessed the biggest tsunami in recent times. On that day in the posh Government Reserved Area in Onitsha, Anambra State, Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. who I can conveniently refer to as one of Nigeria’s most principled and astute politicians in a bid to re-align with Nigeria’s central government formally defected into the Peoples’ Democratic Party from the All Progressives Grand Alliance; recall that he had earlier resigned his position as a member of the board of trustees of the APGA. This landmark occasion was witnessed by virtually every prominent member of the Peoples’ Democratic Party from the old eastern region that currently comprises of today’s south eastern & south southern geo-political zones.
No sooner had this news broken out to the public than what seemed like a media firework commenced first on the social media and then on the print and electronic media. The topic of the debate wasn’t farfetched; every one attempted to dissect the matter at hand with a view of concluding on why Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. should have remained an APGA chieftain. Initially, I considered it a rumor and choose not to react immediately at the news but I was overtaken by my emotions when on reaching home, I read the same story from Skytrend News Nigeria, Vanguard Newspapers Nigeria, the Punch Newspapers and the Guardian which have remained my favorite of all newspapers in Nigeria since 2008 when I was an intern in the Credit Risk Division, Risk Management Group of Access Bank Nigeria Plc.
At first, I thought about the man in the middle of the news; from his times as a struggling business man till he emerged a massively successful one with huge investments in MTN, Fidelity Bank Plc., Heinz W.A, Chams Plc., Halogen Securities, NEXT Enterprises and a host of other blue chip corporations too numerous to mention. From his times as a gubernatorial candidate in my Anambra State through the periods he spent in the courts till when he regained his mandate and served a total of 8 successful years as executive governor of my home state. Secondly, I thought about the decision of Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. to retire from active politics and pursue other personal interests of his.
When I considered his promise at that time, his shadow interest in post of aviation minister when a vacancy existed here and this last move of his I was tempted to join the gang of persons who thought he had joined the camp of Nigerian political heavyweights like Nasir El-Rufai and Retired General Muhammadu Buhari who speak through both sides of their mouth. Indeed, I was beginning to form an opinion on this basis when I remembered the pledge my ex-governor made me and my fellow Ndi Anambra. The pledge Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. made at that time (during his tenure as Governor) was to the effect that at every point in time, he would place my interests and that of my fellow Ndi Anambra before his own whenever issues of national importance are being discussed. Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. further assured my fellow Ndi Anambra and I that he will continue to explore every legitimate opportunity that presents itself to him to promote Anambra as a means to make it better than it is.
No doubt, Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. is an exceptional public servant. His tenure as governor in my home state witnessed a paradigm ship from the business as usual syndrome to a redefinition of the business of leadership. Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. and his management team excelled in nearly every sector in the Anambra State economy. To be exact, Anambra State was given a remarkable facelift during his tenure; so effective was his style of leadership that my state emerged and has remained a hub of both local and foreign investors. It is on account of these sterling qualities that I developed trust for this gentleman.
In a previous article of mine on this series that touched on Osun State and the re-election of Ustaz Rauf Adesoji Aregbesola, I had queried the drive and leadership/governance school of thought that caused leaders of less economically viable states (Anambra State is considered among the few economically viable states in Nigeria alongside Lagos state) to prefer remaining in the opposition. In that article, I had queried the logic behind the Yobe state government that earned N1.7B in 2012 while spending N18B in wages playing opposition politics side by side a Lagos State government that earned N219B as IGR while spending N76.5B on wages in the same period.
Although my line of logic may be unacceptable and alien to some Facebook and Twitter certified professional politicians, I am not uncertain that Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. decision to join the Peoples’ Democratic Party is not far from my school of thought. Besides his intimidating accomplishments as a distinguished public servant, Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. is also a business leader who’s instincts I have learned to trust an rely on. During his tenure as governor, Chief Dr. Peter Gregory Obi C.O.N. who perfectly understands that the pace of development of his immediate domain – Anambra State can be quickened by forging a strategic alliance with the federal government went all out to the ire of the All Progressives’ Congress and enemy friends of Ndi Anambra like Gov. Rochas Okorocha to promote a strategic alliance between my state and the federal government in a manner that caused Anambra State (an opposition state) to develop faster than every other state in the south east geo-political zone.
While professional activists and self appointed advocates of good governance may find everything wrong with this latest move by Dr. Obi, I’d advise them to find other ways to be useful to Nigeria. In line with their right to talk arrant nonsense, they may lie that this move is more about self preservation than anything else but it is necessary that I stated clearly in concise terms that an enigma as Dr. Obi needs no effort towards self preservation after building a huge business empire for himself, leading Anambra State for eight years and successfully installing an acceptable government in our home state.
As I write, several containers load of words has been said about this landmark political tsunami an Anambra man like me have caused but I’m unmoved because not only do I consider this a step towards the right direction, I’m further gladdened that Dr. Obi have made another move towards fulfilling his pledge to me and my fellow Ndi Anambra.
Ezeani, Chukwunonso Elvis is the South West Zonal Director; Media, Publicity & Strategy of the Peoples’ Democratic Party National Youth Frontier. He can be reached via: @NonsoEzeani1