Opinion: The gang-up against Peter Obi – By SIMON IBE
Peter Gregory Obi, a former Governor of Anambra State, is appreciated by people and organisations who desire the best for our country, Nigeria and for human society at large. On the contrary, he is rabidly disliked by those who crave a perpetuation of the old, sordid order of corruption, bad governance, illiteracy and profligacy in the conduct of public affairs. Across the land, he is fondly called Okwute — the Igbo word for ‘Rock’ – because, besides the Greek origin of Peter (Rock), it depicts his strong character.
Peter Obi is highly disciplined and unyielding to all that is bad. Having been identified as a serious threat to advocates and perpetrators of evil, a motley gang-up has been initiated to check-mate his political ascendancy at all costs.
The Anambra State governorship election of November 18, 2017 was the opportunity for the conspirators to show their hands and even after dancing naked in the public, they are still going around thumping their chests and boasting that they succeeded; when, indeed, they have done incalculable damage to the state and by extension, the country. Recently, one of the tin gods of Anambra State politics, Chief Chris Uba, was on national television boasting excitedly that he contributed in many ways to the loss suffered by his party, the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the governorship election – leaving the party’s candidate, Oseloka Obaze, in a distant third place. Interestingly, Chief Chris Uba is a member of the PDP Board of Trustees, BOT.
Talk about Trust! As though that act of infamy was not enough, another money-bag member of the party, Chief Ifeanyi Uba also came on air to claim effusively that he too contributed significantly to PDP’s defeat. In what appeared to be an orchestrated confession to perfidy against Peter Obi, Ifeanyi Uba’s and Chris Uba’s interviews were aired on the same day. Interestingly, Ifeanyi had contested the governorship ticket of the PDP with Obaze, and lost. Characteristically, he has now decamped to the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA. The presumed reasons for the actions of both men plainly offend sensibilities. They claim, for instance, that they were financiers of the PDP in the state and were not carried along by Peter Obi and the national leadership of the party in the choice of the party’s flag-bearer and in the elections.
Chris Uba moaned that Obi and Obaze are outsiders in the PDP who had come to hijack the party from them: the founders and financiers. He also gave an ultimatum that Peter Obi should publish an apology to him. On his part, Ifeanyi Uba grumbled that he did a lot for the PDP in the run-up to the last general election and should have been compensated with the party’s ticket to run for governor. A great shame and pity of the infamy of these two chiefs are that they have consciously sacrificed the future of the state and its people on the altar of ego trips. In their inordinate desire to spite Peter Obi, they undermined the candidate of their own party. They look at governance from the narrow prism Chop-I-Chop; and not from the broader point of view of selfless service to the community for sustainable development.
To them, the governorship ticket should be compensation for what they have done for the party (purchase of vehicles, payment of rents for party offices, funding of operations of party chiefs, etcetera); and not a platform to ensure good governance for the state – through better schools, motorable roads, safe drinking water, good medicare, affordable housing, security and the like. Discerning observers within and outside Anambra State by all standards of merit adjudged Oseloka Obaze a far better candidate than the candidate the two Ubas and their cohorts decided to support. Peter Obi himself is acknowledged as the apostle of good governance, crusader for prudence in public administration and advocate of mass literacy, among others. The gang-up of the two Ubas and their ilk would have rightly felt that if Obaze was voted in as governor, he would continue with the management style of Obi which abhorred the sharing of state funds among power brokers; leaving little or nothing for sustainable development of the state. Peter Obi refused resolutely to share public funds, but deployed same prudently and judiciously to develop every sector of the state during his eight years of meritorious service to the state as governor.
And, he achieved the incredible feats without borrowing from any source. At the end of his celebrated tenure, he not only left major legacies in form of an excellent network of roads, functional hospitals, an education system that became the envy of other states, water-tight security and so on, but also shocked the nation and indeed, the entire world with the unprecedented announcement, accompanied by documentary evidence of staggering sums of money in foreign exchange and local currency he left for his successor’s administration.
Rather than consolidate on the savings, revelations from the last campaigns exposed the ugly fact that the savings had been frittered away without concrete evidence of what they were used for. Peter Obi has been consistent in advocating governance that focuses on tackling the issues of the socio-economy. He insists that the economic challenges of the day require a governor that is schooled in management of the economy, that is prudent in management of available resources and can save for tomorrow; and not one that panders to the whims and caprices of political power brokers who are only out to satisfy their selfish desires at the expense of the masses.
The same patriotic zeal and sense of urgency driving his desire for rapid development of Anambra State which guided his vigorous support for the candidacy of Obaze, a globally acclaimed administrator, is also responsible for the missionary zeal with which he is canvassing issues of national development. The gang-up against him in Anambra State — involving even PDP members of the National Assembly from the state — succeeded only to the extent that the conspirators have cut their noses to spite their faces. They are, indeed, the ultimate losers and Peter Obi, despite their nefarious schemes, can only continue to soar far higher than them all in the ranking of discerning and well-meaning Nigerians.
This is especially so for those who treasure sanity and prudence in governance; those who prefer development-driven leadership to chop-I-chop conduct; and those who want the best for Anambra State and Nigeria at large. Peter Obi has made the point that pro-people governance agenda can be pushed and the hope is that Nigerians can buy into the campaign as the 2019 elections draw closer. As always, the people are urged to make their choice to secure their future.
*Mr. Ibe, publisher of Global Patriot Newspapers, wrote from Awka, Anambra State.