Obi was chosen by Atiku because of his vast knowledge of the economy. He would complement Atiku and both will make a formidable team.
Since former Vice President and the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, chose former Anambra State governor, Mr. Peter Obi, as his running mate in the 2019 presidential poll, the choice described as a political masterstroke, has excited most Nigerians. Although some PDP stakeholders in the South East objected to the choice on the ground of not being consulted before it was made, they were not altogether opposed to it as some of them have elaborately explained.
Without doubt, I believe that nobody from the South East can oppose Obi’s choice as Atiku’s running mate. But as politicians, they are free to express their view which in politics is allowed because ‘disagreeing to agree’ is part of politics. Consultation is also part of the game. And in politics, while the minority would have their say, the majority would have their way. But their public show of such dissent is uncalled for.
Besides that complaint, there are so many reasons why the Atiku/Obi ticket excites many Nigerians. From the day one, Peter Obi clearly defined his mission in politics and how he would play his own political game. True to his mission, he pursued his cause stoically. He fought one of the fiercest electoral battles in Nigerian political history through the law courts and reclaimed his alleged stolen mandate.
He survived impeachment and other political battles and governed Anambra State for two terms of eight years. In government, Obi’s frugal tendencies are legendary that there is even no point to recount them in this article. There is no doubt whatsoever that Peter Obi brought sanity to governance in Anambra State. Before him, the state was chaotic with godfathers breathing down on their political godsons.
Before him, the political space in the state was dominated by rich men who impose governors in the state and dictate what happens. In the fight between godfathers and godsons, some government buildings were razed and bedlam set in. Obi’s electoral victory through the courts brought a new order of political conduct in the state. With his lean cabinet, Obi was able to inculcate moral and financial discipline in the running of the affairs of the state. Under his administration, Obi focused on key sectors that can bring development nearer to the people. He invested heavily in education, agriculture, road infrastructure, health, human capital development as well as commerce and industry. He was not flamboyant.
He built roads, schools and hospitals. He gave back to the missions their schools that were taken over from them by the military government. He built new structures in them and gave them grants. He started the community development project where each community chose its priority project and given money by the government to execute it by themselves.
Obi achieved so much for Anambra State and left big money for his successor. His development template has impacted positively on the present administration in the state. And it will continue even after the current administration unlike some sister South East states that lack such seamless political template. Obi was chosen by Atiku because of his vast knowledge of the economy. He would complement Atiku and both will make a formidable team.
Obi was also chosen because of track record of achievements as the governor of Anambra State. His business background and integrity in both private and public life were equally taken into account. He ran a transparent and accountable government for the eight years he governed Anambra State. Obi’s choice should be a lesson to other politicians, especially those from the South East, to use their good offices to do well and impact on the lives of those that voted them into power.
Some of the South East governors are doing well in this regard while some are not. Some South East federal lawmakers are also doing well in this regard while some are not. Our political office holders should stop being selfish, greedy and self-opinionated on issues that concern the zone. Obi’s choice from the zone is based on his antecedents and the public perception of his person. They should take political office as a vehicle to serve the people.
To many, Obi remains the best choice from the zone. His choice is a lesson in leadership and an excellent illustration of leading by example. Other South East politicians should try to approximate the Obi paradigm to excel to higher level. Atiku/Obi ticket is indeed a good match that can give the Buhari/Osinbajo team a good fight. Despite the initial criticism that trail the choice of Obi from a faction of the South East political leadership, it is good for the zone to be united in Obi whether consulted or not.
With unity we can achieve more politically, economically and otherwise. There is virtue in unity and togetherness. Therefore, the bickering over his choice is unnecessary and unhealthy for Igbo politics. With such bickering, we shall go nowhere in the national politics. Such bickering will make us a laughing stock before other geo-political zones. It will also make us look unserious and perpetually divided. We should always be our brother’s’ keeper. What is good for our brother should be good for all of us.
Having said much on the Atiku/Obi ticket, it is pertinent to warn that the battle for the 2019 presidency won’t be easy as some people think. It is going to be a titanic political battle between the incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar. It is going to be a close race or a straight win. The outcome of the election will make or mar the nation depending on the side the pendulum swings.
Therefore, let no political party think it is an easy ride and become complacent. The PDP should really work hard to unseat a sitting president. If the opposition really wants to take over from Buhari, they should all come together and wrestle power from the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) that seems to have run out of ideas.
For this to be possible, the electoral umpire, INEC, and security agencies involved in election duties, must conduct a free, fair and credible poll in 2019. Interestingly, President Buhari has assured the international community of a credible poll. We shall hold him accountable on that promise. As the political campaigns begin on November 18 as stipulated by INEC, let issues and not character assassinations and mudslinging dominate the political rhetoric