? By Dr. Owen Ozue

?What did they do? PDP called the four PDP governors from the South-East and said, ?We don?t want it to leave the South-East. However, it has to be a PDP governor.?
?The four PDP governors then, Theodore Orji of Abia State, Martins Elechi of Ebonyi, Sullivan Chime of Enugu and Ikedi Ohakim of Imo signed this letter, [displaying the letter to journalists ] to Governor Saraki, nominating me for the position.
?But again, PDP said no, that the NGF chair must remain in PDP. Vice-President Namadi Sambo invited me and told me about the worries of the PDP. I now told him, ?Well, no problem.?
These according to The Punch of June 2, 2013, were Governor Peter Obi?s words at the weekend in Lagos summarising his encounter with the PDP machinery and culminating in the instruction he got from Vice president Namadi Sambo, a Northern Kaduna State indigene and member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and his obedience, which sealed the fate of the Chairmanship of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) coming to Obi, Anambra State and the South East.
Nothing illustrates Gov. Obi?s penchant and ability to trade off the corporate interests h represents, in this case, Anambra State, APGA and the South East Zone more than these self-confessions.
Were it not for the issues thrown up in the aftermath of the 2013 NGF elections in which Gov Chibuike Amaechi ran away with victory after polling 19 votes out of 35, we probably would not have known that Obi has been carrying on with a me-or-nothing attitude to the detriment of the zone. Yet the out-going governor of Anambra State after duly voting in the NGF elections and his candidate having been beaten has been backing the minority in the elections peopled by the same PDP governors that apparently rejected him to break the NGF. How does he want the rest of us to perceive his bundle of contradictions?
In other words, Governor Obi is confirming that what made him withdraw from contention for the NGF Chairmanship, which fell naturally on him after Bukola Saraki, was the interest of a political party different from his and the interest of an individual outside the South East.
We note that this is characteristic of the selfish politics that drives Gov. Obi who was more conscious of being in the good books of the PDP than in sticking at a struggle in principle, even if he lost. But how could he? The PDP has been instrumental to his coming to power in Anambra and his sustenance in the corridors, which approach has not necessarily paid any tribute to democracy. Those not armed with enough information in a country with official reticence in spite of a vibrant, but growing media underplay the involvement of Obasanjo in the struggle to power by Peter Obi. It is a major fallacy that misleads understanding of Peter Obi?s behaviour in office. It was the same error of understanding naturally enthroned particularly on unsuspecting Ndi Imo and Ndi Igbo in the case of Ikedi Ohakim, simply because at his advent, he came under a label ?PPA. Like Ohakim,Obi came to power after negotiations with the power pushers in PDP, a secret known to top PDP henchmen, who could not have allowed the unfettered access to the sentrum of their central government otherwise.
No two cases in law and in life are identical. So the coming to power of both in Anambra and Imo respectively-in historical order-separated by one year was the proxy re-introduction of the PDP to the east after the party burnt its fingers in the first dispensation. The return of Ohakim to PDP was negotiated as a condition for empowerment through rigging in a second election to short-change Ifeanyi Ararume who had been declared the PDP candidate by the Supreme Court and Martins Agbaso of APGA who won the elections of April 14, 2007 in Imo State, before he was subjected to the Abiola experience and the elections were repeated on April 28 of the same year to enthrone Ohakim. The coming to power of Obi was also a negotiated ?anti-party? solution to the disagreements with the then sitting governor, Dr Chris Ngige. Outside the South East such solution was also applied in Kano to stop Ghali Umar Na?Abba from returning to the House of Representatives, when impeachment motivated by Obasanjo through the Green Chambers had failed repeatedly.
But, back to Anambra and Imo, the pace of fulfilment of the agreements has been governed by the strengths of the counterweights. The Ojukwu counterweight understandably being very strong and legendary, delayed Peter Obi?s ?open? declaration with PDP, but for subtle ,and obvious neglect of the APGA structures which explains the progressively openness in identifying with PDP values in the aftermath of Ojukwu?s death. It came across to many discerning enough that the Nigerian wax show of Ojukwu?s mourning cloth which Obi wore to the exclusion of other apparel was an advance compensation for what was to follow after mourning. It is akin to a widow who had to wait to remove the mourning clothes of her husband to embrace a potential lover that had been making passes ,or even crossed a few lines while the husband lived.
It is in my estimation the new path contradicted and irritated by those who wish to take APGA in another trajectory in his party that primarily precipitated the festering APGA crises on one hand , and on the other, , emboldened Obi to make damning confessions of the past and openly identify with a PDP insurrection against the tenets of democracy as it concerns the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) of two weeks ago, backing the loosing side in a properly organised contest which video evidence is unimpeachable.
The hanging questions for Governor Obi are: If he can back the scorer of minority votes this time, why did he not back himself by insisting at the time he was to succeed Saraki that since the arrangement was tailored after the American subsystem, there should be rotation between PDP and opposition parties? And if after that he failed, must it be Peter Obi all the time? If his co-governors of the South East were gracious enough to back him, even when he was the only governor from APGA, why was it difficult, given the obstacles on his way from stepping down his candidature for any of the four governors in the east, rather than having the slot leave the South East? Was he afraid that having another governor from the South become the NGF Chairman, because they belonged to the PDP would take the shine off him and hence chose to remain a VP? Was there some other aspect of the discussion he had with the VP yet in the closet which expressly told him that the NGF chairmanship cannot come to the east? Did the bitterness of his losing out create a wedge in his relationship with the re-elected Chairman of the NGF, Gov. Amaechi and hence establish an additional motive for his current questionable role in backing a loser?
It is demonstrative of the politics of narrow-mindedness not to back a Sullivan Chime for instance rather than bargain away the interests of the South East and to a large extent Anambra based on these narrow considerations. And that is why this piece opened with emphasis on the fact that the Vice resident is not from APGA and is certainly not from Anambra State or the South East, which respective interests Obi ought to have protected jealously. It is needless to emphasize that the VP is also not a governor.
So is it now not fair to accuse Obi in this light, of trading the interests of Anambra State and the South East away in exchange for nothing to serve the common good. The emphasis on ?common good? is because we cannot say in all honesty that Obi does not enjoy a seat in the federal government, does not join federal delegations to virtually anywhere for anything at will and does not enjoy some personal protection from upstairs in the excesses of his administration.
Those who hold these narrow-based negotiations against soft-spoken governor cite such instances as when indigenes of Anambra State were sacked by states whose citizens are till date working in Anambra State and Local Government Service. To them,, Obi shrugged it off because the issues have neither been resolved nor counter-acted. When another state ?deported? Anambra citizens and dumped them in Onitsha, Obi smiled it away and it simply ended.When citizens from another state mass-murdered Anambra sons and daughters, Gov Obi merely made a show out of the funeral which he tried as usual to create a political platform, but stopped short of dealing through to the justice of the matter. Till date Governor Obi is not pressing a case for the compensation of the families of 14 Anambra Citizens murdered the same minute and buried in the same hours apparently to play the good guy, keep his bounty of personal comfort and let his while pass.
These are but a few instances.
That Anambra State needs governance today is not in doubt. That Obi is always outside the state pursuing one distraction or another, including setting up a phantom APGA South Africa with Anambra State funds in not controvertible. That this absenteeism even on key days like Childrens? Day and under-playing of Democracy Day is noticeable is household knowledge. That all these have increased since the NGF elections in which Obi, now speaks on matters tangential to administering Anambra State from Abuja, Lagos, Port Harcourt, Kafanchan and elsewhere that the distraction takes him is a matter of regret.
It is time to implore the elders of Anambra State and he South East to jointly and severally to gently nudge Gov. Obi on the shoulders, reminding him what his obligations to Ndi Anambra ought to be at this time, what role he can play and position he should be taking in the aftermath of the NGF elections in other to safeguard the long and medium-term interests of Anambra State and its citizens in and outside the state.
If you ask me the citizens of Anambra State are neither deceived not amused by his pretext to attack PDP in the cited interview, in a way he could ill-afford years ago when Anambra or the South East came close to glory as everyone understands his body language as a member of PDP who is setting up a parallel NGF with a minority of 16 governors, all PDP in practice.
But for the sake of those in whose names he has relevance today, Gov. Obi must realise that there is a limit to chicanery.

Dr Owen Ozue writres from Nnewi, Anambra State
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