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Friday, June 14, 2024

The Problem With Peter Obi – By Nnamdi Idenna

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Peter Obi, the former governor of Anambra state, otherwise called Okwute Ndigbo is a complex study in man, ambition and politics.

While the jury is still out on the real achievements recorded under his tenure as governor of Anambra state, he has to be credited with at least steadying the ship of governance in the state relative to the dark experiences of the Chinweoke Mbadinuju administration, a period when civil servants were owed salaries months on end and Anambra state was held by the jugular by the dreaded local vigilante (the Bakassi boys), who dished out their own brand of justice to innocent Ndi Anambra including the brutal murder of Barnabas Igwe, Chairman of the local Onitsha branch of NBA alongside his pregnant wife.

After Mbadinuju era came the Chris Ngige era who was then of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), an era when statecraft transformed to witchcraft with the governor, Ngige, now APC Minister of Labour in the Buhari administration being subjected to oath taking at Okija shrine by his godfathers, the duo of Andy and Chris Uba.

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Andy had this year tried unsuccessfully to clinch the APC ticket for the Anambra gubernatorial elections but he was beaten to it by his former foot soldier, Tony Nwoye, who has now stepped up his Godfather game latching onto the coat tails of billionaire owner of Oranto Oil, Chief Arthur Eze. The internet is awash currently with documents alleging Nwoye’s agreement with his benefactor should he succeed in the coming elections thereby giving the later unfettered access to Anambra’s treasury and right to appoint 10 cronies into choice ministries. The duo are yet to deny the documents.

Back to Ngige, when he reneged on the agreements with the Uba brothers, he was not only kidnapped, but his godfathers unleashed on Ndi Anambra the type of mayhem never before seen anywhere in Nigeria. Using the evil network of Tony Nwoye, then a student leader and dreaded cultist, and currently the member representing the people of Anambra East and West in the Federal House of Representatives, now also the Gubernatorial candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the forthcoming Anambra gubernatorial elections, the gang went on rampage across the state burning and destroying important government institutions and properties notably the government house and the Anambra Broadcasting Service (ABS).

The coming of Peter Obi who was propped up by the late Dim Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu and his party, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), appeared to assuage the feelings of Ndi Anambra who have come to distrust local politicians. Having survived ‘impeachment’ by some renegade members of the state house of assembly, Peter Obi will go ahead in line with the APGA philosophy to record some notable achievements especially in the area of implementation of the United Nations Millennium Development Goals using his government’s home-grown formula – ANIDS (Anambra Integrated Development Development Strategy).

To outsiders, especially those he courts on the speaking circuits, Peter Obi cuts the image of a prudent and incorruptible person. Those close and who have worked with him however have different views. He was known to have run Anambra state like his private business -Next International, and cornered all the government jobs and contracts. He was the sole approving and procurement official. Anambra would be on standstill when ever he was not in the state.

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The controversy surrounding the ownership and manner in which two hundred and fifty million Naira of state funds in cash was ferried by his close aides by road, remains a pointer to how he governed Anambra state.

Not only Ndi Anambra but Nigerians now know better, they are beginning to get snippets of the character called Peter Obi who famously lied on national TV while speaking at the Platform that he possesses only one wrist watch. Internet memes would later funnily disprove this tale. For a man who owns only two pairs of black shoes, it has been difficult to convince them how such austere lifestyle matches his luxury apartment at Ikoyi, Lagos.

Characteristically, Peter Obi who at various fora calls himself a trader sees politics from a mercantile perspective. Not for public service but for pecuniary interest.  When he supported the emergence of Chief Willie Obiano as APGA candidate in the 2013 Anambra Gubernatorial election, he must have thought that being the willy fox, he had his way yet again. Obiano will go on to win that election and will later famously do an Ngige on him.

Determined to be his own man, Governor Obiano created a governance path and charted his own course, approaching governance purposefully and effectively. Of course, Peter Obi had left his hawks in Obiano’s government to spy on him and to ensure that he delivered the ‘spoils of war’ back to him. It did not take long before Obiano dismantled Obi’s structure in his government including the sacking of Joe-Martins Uzodike, Commissioner for Information under Obi and later Special Adviser on Political Matters to Obiano, and Oseloka Obaze who had aspired to the Gubernatorial seat and was rejected at the primaries, while serving as Secretary to the Government (SSG) under Obi. He would continue in the same role as SSG under Obiano.

Peter Obi and Governor Willie Obiano parted ways shortly after Obiano became governor, since then, the Obi camp has been up in arms against Obiano. The arrow head of the Anti-Obiano smear campaign is Joe-Martins Uzodike who had functioned as Director General of the Willie Obiano Election Campaign. He has waged an unrelenting media war against Obiano since his sack and has repeatedly told the story that Obiano must refund to Peter Obi the sum of seven billion naira which he claims that Peter Obi invested in the Obiano election. They have also found willing allies in other disgruntled characters operating online as pseudos who continue to spew forth lies against Obiano and the government, the most notorious being  a Facebook comical character that goes by the name APGA Alaigbo who claims that his Hilux Truck was damaged while campaigning for Obiano in 2013.

Peter Obi having lost his ‘gamble’ on Obiano who chose rather to be on the side of Ndi Anambra by not agreeing to share their commonwealth with Peter Obi and his band of political merchants is currently on another mission, to prop up and foister a weakling and stooge, PDP’s Oseloka Obaze on Ndi Anambra as the next Governor.

Concerned Ndi Anambra are asking why the sudden change of heart, if Peter Obi did not consider Obaze qualified in 2013 when Obiano emerged as APGA’s flag bearer, why is he suddenly being touted in 2017 as the black knight?

Oseloka Obaze remains a curious case in self glorification. He has been selling a dummy to Ndi Anambra and flying the kite that he is a United Nations diplomat. He has repeatedly cast himself in the mould of an intellectual brought back to Nigeria by Peter Obi to serve. Those that know Obaze say he took a safe landing at self – redemption when the post of SSG was offered to him by the scheming Peter Obi who brought him back and pitted him against his excessively ambitious younger brother,Dubem Obaze, Commissioner for Local Government under Peter Obi who was also eyeing the Governorship seat. Dubem Obaze was Peter Obi’s bookkeeper in Mafia parlance who as Local Government Commissioner and later De Facto Campaign DG administered the local government funds. His closeness to Peter Obi is rumoured to be as a result of his agreeing to be a fall guy for Peter Obi in an illicit business transaction gone wrong many years ago which led to him spending time behind bars.

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Oseloka Obaze, PDP’s candidate in the 2017 Anambra gubernatorial election and self-acclaimed diplomat has been exposed as a fluke online. He was a security guard and later security services manager (Onye nche abani) at the United Nations building in New York whose access control duties brought him in contact with many world leaders who visited the facility daily. It is therefore not unusual to find him in comfortable poses before the camera with such personalities. His latest passion of pseudo intellectualism, policy briefings and essay writing has also been dismissed as another desperate act by the ‘intellectual’ Obaze to punch above his weight. He is not known to have spoken at any major fora and only lurks in the shadows of student association and other such gatherings where he attempts to impress with half baked theories strung together by his army of surrogates. This is the man Peter Obi is now pushing to be governor of Anambra state.

Analysing Peter Obi and his worldview especially as it concerns Anambra politics, Chinedu Okoro, an Agulu indigene said that the problem with Peter Obi is that “he thinks he is the smartest man in Anambra state. He also has an exaggerated view of self-importance and works about with a huge ego, considering Anambra state as his trading fiefdom”. This then explains why it always has to be him, to select, make and chose for Ndi Anambra who will be their governor.

Why must it always be Peter Obi who knows what’s best for Ndi Anambra? A state of over five million people. Anambra surely is not Peter Obi’s personal property. We don’t have such situation in other states. Governance is a continuum, you get elected into office, do your bit and leave for the next person to advance his or her own ideas. It is only in Anambra that Peter Obi will not allow its indigenes to ‘drink water and put the cup down in peace’.

Ndi Anambra should not let Peter Obi dictate to them during the November 18th governorship election, as they are yet to recover from his divisive, manipulative and polarising church politics which sees Catholics in the state pitted against Anglicans and vice versa. Even though he may have had his say in the PDP primaries, managing to push through his stooge Obaze, Ndi Anambra will have their way come November 18.

Nnamdi Idenna is a freelance journalist. He can be reached by nnamdidenna@gmail.com

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