From Ejike Chinedu
I restrain myself from commenting on issues as this simply because I consider them less important. But now, I am persuaded to attempt putting some things I have heard and read in proper perspective. A lot of people have posited that Peter Obi betrayed the Igbo race by his defection from APGA to PDP. Some went as far as calling the former governor a saboteur and ingrate. I read from one of the people whose views I respect on social media that Mr. Peter Obi should be declared anti-Igbo for leaving the party, left in his hands by late Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu. The question is, who did Mr. Obi sabotage? Who is he indebted to? And who is qualified to stand on moral high ground to judge him?
For the records, apart from my initial support for Mr. Peter Obi between 2003 and 2006, when I saw his legal battle as an emancipation of my people from the chains of “Ubaism,” I was not a fan of the soft spoken governor throughout his stay in power. My reasons which I remain convinced about will be better for another day.
Let me begin by saying that until political parties are founded and guided by strong beliefs and ideologies, they will continue to serve as mere vehicles to take politicians to their destinations which are “occupy offices and remain relevant.” Our politicians have now mastered the art of switching vehicles once their PERSONAL interest is not receiving a boost.
I have heard so much about the Igboness of APGA, how APGA represents the political aspiration of the Igbo man. On this I simply ask, if after twelve years of existence, APGA is still not accepted to majority of Ndi Igbo, does it not tell that it’s either the concept is wrong or the strategy is not working? Let me agree for the purpose of this thought that APGA was founded to drive the Igbo agenda, it obviously failed to do so for more than a decade. Out of five states in the south east, APGA had never controlled more than two at a time. Infact, APGA had only been present and strong in Anambra. The party does not have a local government area in its control in Abia, Enugu, Ebonyi and Imo states. I am tempted to conclude that APGA has been sustained by the treasury of Anambra state. It will therefore be irrational to say APGA is THE Igbo party.
Secondly, I read that Ikemba Nnewi founded APGA and gave the ticket to Peter Obi. This is nothing but turning facts on its head. As at 2002 when APGA was founded, the late Biafran leader was still a member of APP that later became ANPP. The statement credited to the wife of the warlord Bianca that “Whatever Obi is today, he owes Ojukwu and APGA” to me is laughable. The truth be told, Peter Obi and Ikemba benefited in like measure from the goodwill of the Igbo people towards APGA. While Obi utilized his office to provide financial muscles and semblance of political relevance, Chief Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu provided the heroic symbol of leadership. I will leave it at that.
It is important to mention that Peter Obi single handedly gave APGA a face. While he battled in court to reclaim his mandate between 2003 and 2006 most leaders of APGA were already plotting an arrangement that would have been a political solution but will obviously terminated his chances of becoming governor. Of course, there is no guarantee that Dr. Ngige will come and stay in APGA if Obi dropped the matter in the court. Recall that the events of that period are linked to the coup that ousted Chekwas Okorie and threw APGA into chains of tussles.
Let us not forget that Peter Obi had eight years to formally hand-over APGA to PDP by cross-carpeting but he did not. We also need to remember that cross-carpeting for an ordinary politician is not an issue with the constitution of Nigeria
The former governor made a huge sacrifice by allowing Chief Victor Umeh to launch a comeback months before the elections. Perhaps, he understood that any governor that emerges without the National Chairman’s endorsement will be thrown out by the courts. He knows what his brother and friend could do with the instrumentality of the bar and bench.
Couldn’t he have stayed and joined forces with the leadership of the party in building a bigger APGA? The exit of the founding chairman of APGA, Chekwas Okorie, in the circumstance it occurred, robbed the party of its soul. It was only a question of time for the carcass to slump and die; except there is a genuine surgical operation to restore the missing part or the spirit of it. After serving as governor for eight years, the only one from the party, Mr. Obi has realistically overgrown the platform and obviously, those who are determined to lay the wreath on the grave of the once promising movement cannot accommodate his massive profile and national goodwill.
Mr. Peter Obi said he will retire from politics as soon as he leaves office. I can’t recall when he made the statement in that context. All I remember he said was that he will not seek elective office again. But even if he did, what is the crime? Six months is enough for anyone change his mind on anything. When APGA made him the Chairman of the board of trustees, was it not political?
Peter Obi has moved so I will rather that instead of the ongoing noise, those still left in APGA should divert their energy to ensuring that the party wins enough sits to keep it alive beyond 2015. I do not see the possibility of a new APGA governor by May next year. Senate, House of reps and even state house of assembly will do. My worry is that Gov. Willie Obiano may be walking away from what is left of the party by the time APGA fails to dominate the Anambra state house of assembly. If that happens, anyone’s guess will suffice. The real enemies of APGA are still within.