“Right now as it is, things are very bad and the Atiku-Obi emergence seems to be the last hope for the common man especially in the South East.”
Geoffrey Anyanwu, Awka
The traditional ruler of Agulu, Mr Peter Obi’s home town in Anaocha Local Government Area of Anambra State, Igwe Innocent Obodoakor, speaks on the Atiku-Obi ticket and how it would affect the restructuring debate.
What was your reaction when it was announced that Obi would be the running mate to the PDP presidential candidate?
Obi is my subject and I know that he fits perfectly into the office. Anybody who knows him also knows how well he governed Anambra State for eight years. When he was campaigning to become governor, he asked a very deep question which was everywhere on his billboards, saying, ‘Is Anambra cursed or are we the cause?’
After governing for four years, the question was answered as it was clear that we were the problem because within those four years, things moved very well for the state. He continued for another four years and they were actually wonderful years. Obi is not a new person in Nigeria anymore; people know him and know what he is capable of. If anybody says he doesn’t want him as Vice President, maybe the person might not be a Nigerian. If that person is from the East, then it’s really unfortunate for the people saying such a thing.
When we heard that he was picked as running mate to Atiku, we rejoiced knowing well that with him there, everything will happen the way we had wished it. One is that Atiku said he is going to carry out the restructuring of the country.
You see, parents in Nigeria are very unhappy and confused because our children have no jobs but with restructuring things will begin to work in Nigeria again and someone who finishes school will find a job.
It is unfortunate that many people are living in this nation without any hope and that is why you see them running out, both male and female, to other parts of the world and be slaves there instead of staying here and wasting away. So, if there is no restructuring, we would only be deceiving ourselves and that is why we are happy that Atiku has said he is going to do that.
It would be unfortunate for anyone from the South East not to support Atiku and Obi. If you do not support them, what then do you want for your children? Because it is painful that we are getting old but we haven’t seen those we will hand over to. Our children go to school only to graduate without jobs. So, the only way everyone in Nigeria will belong is by restructuring the country, without that, everything will remain hopeless.
Some of Obi’s critics say he is not as transparent as he claims to be. How well do you know him?
If somebody was the governor of a state for eight years, I don’t think there is anything he will be hiding again about himself. But I know that Peter is a good Christian, he likes to help the poor. He loves Anambra people and wants them to take their rightful position in Nigeria and that was what he taught throughout his time as the governor. He takes the development of the state very seriously and worked so hard to make Anambra occupy the first position in almost every developmental index. So if there is anything people don’t understand about him again, I don’t know.
What are his contributions to Agulu community?
Peter is actually a special person from his upbringing. In his family for instance, you have a Reverend Father, a Reverend Sister and himself being a very successful businessman among others. Don’t you see that there is something special about them? It’s not easy to come into a family and get a Reverend Father and a Reverend Sister; something must be special about that family.
As a member of my community, if you need help and it’s something that he can do for you; he will do it without wasting time. Many have gotten jobs through him including my daughter. Since leaving office, he has done so much for the community; he even gave the town union about 200 buses on hire purchase which were used to assist those who have nothing doing. They deployed it for commercial transportation and when you drive the bus and complete the money, it becomes yours. He normally gives the women money to assist them in their businesses.
What is your impression about the Atiku-Obi ticket?
Everything on earth has its time. The Atiku-Obi ticket is an opportunity for Nigerians to be happy again. Peter is a man of many parts. If I call him an economist, you will ask me, where did he study? For him to be the Vice Presidential candidate to Atiku means if they win, Atiku will perform well because he will be advising him from his wealth of experience. You see, there is nothing the people are looking for in governance than that the people governing us are doing well. Right now as it is, things are very bad and the Atiku-Obi emergence seems to be the last hope for the common man especially in the South East. That is why I am talking about restructuring. When we restructure, we will have direction and Nigeria will develop in every aspect.
For now, we are without direction, just wallowing about aimlessly. I picked a newspaper few days ago, and they said someone committed suicide and that many more will commit suicide because of the hardship in the country. The writer of that article said that many people cannot afford food to eat and if something is not done, things would get worse. So, my point is that the Atiku-Obi PDP ticket is the only hope we have now and every Nigerian should embrace them and ensure they are voted into power. They are going to perform well.