In the last few weeks, the former governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, has reportedly complained to some senior citizens that “Willie should leave me alone. I am not contesting election with him”. But in another breath, he will boast how he will fight to his last drop of blood to win the November 18, 2017 election for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). So, if he is not contesting election, why is he crisscrossing Anambra communities and Abuja denigrating his successor, Chief Willie Obiano? The flip flops and inconsistency only go to demonstrate the character of Obi. All his sanctimonious posturing and public utterances have been proved wrong over time. Except for third-party accounts, I have never heard Obiano speak ill of Obi even as a member of another political party.
Now that the Anambra gubernatorial campaign is reaching a crescendo, Obi seems to be notching-up his public rhetoric on Obiano. At the Peoples Democratic Party Stakeholders meeting in Awka, Obi, despite denials is on record to have openly campaigned like a candidate running for election for governor: ‘‘It is a fight I must win for PDP. I’ll be in Anambra State all through from today to accomplish this goal. In 2003/2004, I contested against an incumbent governor and defeated him; so there is nothing strange to me in defeating an incumbent governor.’’ No need to repeat the nauseating chest thumping here, but the word out there is that Obi is running around town campaigning for third-term as governor. Fortunately, the Constitution of Federal Republic of Nigeria has no such provision.
But most dis-spiriting is the fact that the man, who is supposed to carry the PDP flag is hardly visible nor heard because the rope tying him to Obi’s apron strings is too tight. In fact, many PDP stakeholders were aghast as the scenario unfolded at the meeting, wondering why Mr. Oseloka Henry Obaze could only say: “Please, support me, I will patronise you.’’ Is that a manifesto that can defeat an incumbent like Obiano? How else do you describe a lackey? An online dictionary describes a lackey as “a servant, especially a liveried footman or manservant”.
Having been a resident and active participant in the politics of Anambra State in the last twenty years, most of us saw and survived the tumultuous years that abated with the exit of Dr. Chris Ngige and the emergence of Obi, who held sway for eight years. However, I am still struggling to come to terms with the obvious attempt by some power brokers, especially Obi who was a direct beneficiary of the rejection of godfatherism to take us back to that dreaded era all in pursuit of vendetta against his friend, Willie Obiano, whom he is working steadfastly to supplant with Oseloka Obaze.
My puzzle at Obi’s latest posture is not a protest against his choice but the fact that he pretends not to know that Anambra cannot swallow its vomit. His strenuous effort to position Obaze as the best thing that happened to governance in Anambra is mindboggling. Really? I thought the man was a former Secretary to the Government both under Obi and Obiano. What are his antecedents? The make-over artistes should spare the brush. Forget the new white beard, the man is well known to us. He is not a doer. I noticed a futile attempt to paint the man as a victim of disqualification in 2013, to justify why his sponsor, who fronted and later dumped him now wants us, Ndi Anambra to forget how he passed-him over to endorse another, after tapping him to tame the vaulting ambition of his younger brother, Dubem Obaze, a former Commissioner for Local Government and Chieftaincy Matters in his cabinet. Is anyone nonplussed as I am that Obaze, a man who was genuinely interested in contesting for governor never had a party card? The platform he wished to stand on? Biko nyem efe!
Suddenly, they want to tell us that Oseloka Obaze has become the consummate diplomat, the one who made it possible for Obi to perform. Mbanu, I disagree. The man I have observed over the years is a backroom hand, who does the bidding of his handlers. For a person who got a life-line back to Nigeria after sojourning abroad and served under the watchful eyes of many lieutenants whose assessment of his office work relationship is that of vindictiveness, I am appalled that gradually some persons are being sold a dummy. God forbid! We cannot be led to slaughter again.
Yes, Obi had his time in the office as governor; thankfully it was the APGA platform that guided him to keep his eyes on the ball. Again, Obiano took the mantle and has shown that the APGA platform is indeed a nest of excellence. Obiano has undoubtedly steered our state to enviable heights from where his predecessor left. A fact acknowledged openly by friends and discreetly by foes.
Obaze cannot run on his godfather’s credentials; he has not shown enough to warrant a change of the status quo in Anambra. Indeed some have asked, why all the fuss about the coming elections in Anambra? I think it’s all about personal disagreements which does not concern Ndi Anambra. Our concern should be about sustaining the excellence we have seen over the last eleven years under APGA. Obiano has shown through performance that he is our best option for peace and stability. Any preachment about someone without clear track record as a performer to come and take us back cannot work. Obiano has proven that he is a doer. Anambra does not need a lackey now.
•Ejimonu writes from Orumba ([email protected])