The governor of Anambra State, Chief Willie Obiano, has been on the seat of power for one year now. While transferring the reins of power to him, his predecessor, Chief Peter Obi, in his valedictory speech (17 March, 2014) solemnly desired zero interference in the affairs of the new administration. The multitude of witnesses saw Obi’s position as one of his most profound pronouncements. Chief Obi’s subliminal self characterization as the counselor and the object of counsel was instructive. The advice underscored a deviation from the standard practice in Nigeria politics where people leave office only to turn round to harass their successors as if they (the successors) are effigies of the sociopolitical dynamics that disengage the ex-lords from the exaltations of power. Obi stressed Gov. Obiano’s absolute responsibility for whatever would become of the state while the new administration runs. The ex-governor’s humble submission of power at the end of eight long years of immersion in it was notable.
Chief Obi’s record of good governance was tied to his wakeful minding of the programmes that gave his administration its timbre; to that extent, his advocacy for a governor’s freedom adds up perfectly. Suffice it to say that none of Chief Obi’s subtleties in power-play foreboded his metamorphosing into a fiery godfather; in fact, not a few people who encountered him in power wondered if he could fit a common political father – not a glorified god one.
An overview of the build-up to the 2015 general elections and its influence in Anambra State politics reveals some undercurrent of hate and vicarious expressions of negative passions among the leaders of the people and their often gullible followers. This development is not without traces to Chief Peter Obi’s current political affiliation with the PDP; a choice many insist he is entitled to. Our concern here hinges on the much hyped taunts flying around as if in celebration of the speculative hazy political interface between Chief Willie Obiano and Chief Peter Obi. Given the heights of unpleasant reportage of the hate between these great sons of Igboland; or more pointedly, given the obvious rumbles amongst their acolytes acting as surrogates, one can neither feign ignorance of the avoidable intrigues and unhealthy manoeuvres amongst Ndi-Anambra to maintain communion with Obi and Obiano, nor pretend to be indifferent to the consequent strains on the cherished communality of the people. That all may be well, Obi should be seen to be above reproach in respect for the office he exited barely a year ago. Obiano is the face of Anambra State today and should be encouraged to deliver good governance to the people. Ndi-Anambra remain appreciative of Obi’s role in the enthronement of Chief Obiano. It is their wish that the two close ranks as the state marches on to new frontiers of excellence under the purposeful leadership of Chief Willie Obiano. Every people realise that they diminish with the loss of any in their fold; yet it is the collective wish of the people that everyone endeavours to operate within the confines of freedom endorsed by the clan.
It is evident that Obi’s involvement in events undermining APGA before his formal defection to the People’s Democratic Party was noted with restraints by the party. His underlying role in forming and sustaining the Maxi Okwu APGA dissident group remained a pointer to the suspect-status he bore among his erstwhile party stalwarts. Obi could be implicated in the untidy defections the party suffered in the hands of some of its Federal House legislators; such act that produced Uche Ekwunife’s complicity in the multiple-candidacy-saga of PDP in Anambra State. Today, Obi has lost all the moral hues to raise a voice against one of the major electoral frauds that he vehemently detested about the PDP: multiple candidacy! Obi is seen to champion such oddity today.
How would Obi justify the total turn against his party men with whom he waded the political storm the PDP foisted on the state? What moral right does Chief Obi have to bitterly antagonize Chief Victor Umeh’s Senate bid, when the records show Umeh as the greatest contributor to Obi’s electoral victories and the best option Anambra Central Senatorial Zone has for the Senate in 2015 election? And how would he reconcile the discordant tones of eulogies and diatribes which he interchangeably issues at will to APGA and PDP? Again, I recognize his freedom of choice as to whom to receive his accolades or chastisement, just as I acknowledge the liberties of the beneficiaries of his sentiments to react in consonant with the sensibilities thrown up.
Should an issue as obvious as Chief Obiano’s commitment to APGA’s wholesome support for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan elicit expression of doubts if no mischief is meant? Why should someone put a question mark on the Governor’s towering influence over the citizens of the state; and is not obvious that as an APGA state in support of Jonathan, the Governor is superior to any other person in projecting Jonathan’s candidacy?
These are trying times for Obi and Umeh in the political equation of Anambra State; but in all of it, it is pertinent that Governor Obiano should be spared avoidable involvement in the rivalry which has unarguably maintained an unhealthy bent. The weight of the arguments for and against these persons and the greater underlying argument in the silence of many influential Anambra citizens should compel Ndi-Anambra to quick action to salvage our collective heritage from erosion. The man indeed ‘dies in him who keeps silent in the face of tyranny.’
Okechukwu Anarado writes from Adazi-Nnukwu