PeterObi: The rock on which Anambra State is standing for now

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The Anambra State gubernatorial election has been won and lost. The winner has humbly accepted victory; some of the losers have, in the spirit of sportsmanship, conceded defeat, while others are heading for the court in order to get the election declared void. The winner, Mr. Peter Obi, is a rare breed. I knew, before the election was held, that he will win. In my article “Nigeria: A place where a day after becomes worse than the one before (2)” that was published in November 2009, I wrote this:

“Peter Obi of Anambra State has the people’s mandate, that’s why despite being impeached or sacked three times by forces of darkness, enough of which that state can boast of, he went to Supreme Court three times and recovered his mandate three times. Obi’s political opponents are behind the high crime wave in the state as they want to discredit the able governor through that way and make him not re-electable. But Obi’s opponents are fighting a losing battle as the people of the state are now aware of their ploy.

Unfortunately, Prof. Soludo has decided to contest the governorship post of the state, he cannot beat Obi in a free and fair election, Soludo would lose the election and that would not augur well for his status. Anybody who advised him to contest the gubernatorial post against Obi, does not mean well for him. He must have been ill-advised”.

Peter Obi is a “living” Rock and drawing an analogy from the Bible, the book of Matthew, chapter 16:18 (New International Version) says: “And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church (Anambra State), and the gates of Hades (election riggers) will not overcome it.” (The emphases in brackets are mine). Also in the book of John chapter 21:17 (New International Version), the Bible says: “The third time he said to him, “Simon (Peter) son of John, do you love me?” Peter was hurt because Jesus asked him the third time, “Do you love me?” He said, “Lord, you know all things; you know that I love you.” Jesus said, “Feed my sheep.” From all these, we can draw inference that God Has handed Anambra State to Peter Obi, a capable hand, for the next four years, to look after.

Peter Obi is a lesson in perseverance: Perseverance means to persist in or remain constant to a purpose, idea, or task in the face of obstacles or discouragement. The Bible says that it (Perseverance) reveals genuine faith and that victory is promised to those who persevere. Peter Obi is a lesson for all: Chief Chekwas Okorie’s faction of APGA wanted to scuttle his re-election bid, but, through perseverance and patience, he surmounted that obstacle. During the campaign period, Peter Obi was seen as the underdog, despite being the incumbent governor; he refused to use the state apparatuses and media to his advantage. While Soludo, Ngige and Ukachukwu were going about in siren blaring long convoys with all the paraphernalia reserved for a governor or president, and their thugs leaving destructions on their trail, Peter Obi was going about campaigning as if he was just an ordinary gubernatorial candidate. While some of the gubernatorial candidates were spewing out cacophonies and gasconade in the name of campaigning, Peter Obi remained focused on his message, asking the people of the state to extend his mandate for the next four years so that he can bring his already started development of the state to a conclusion. The other candidates never gave Peter Obi a chance, because, he was not like them; when they (the other candidates) were brazenly displaying their ill-gotten wealth and flexing the muscles, Peter Obi, had only his service and the desire to do more to display. Luckily enough, the people of the state were taking notice of everything. Obi never overlooked any community, city, village, hamlet while campaigning; he took his message to every nook and cranny of the state, while the other candidates were busy perfecting their rigging mechanisms and techniques, but, luckily, they failed as the people refused to tow their lines.

The other candidates were busy sharing money, gifts such as motor bikes, sewing machines, rice, Hollandaise etc. But Peter Obi refused to use the state’s money for the campaign, despite the fact that he’s leading a state the BBC claims is richer than many African countries. Peter Obi allowed only his service to speak for him. One wondered then from where the other candidates got all the money they were spending. Where did Soludo, Ngige, Andy Uba, Ms. Ekwunife get all the money they were spending anyhow? What was going on in their minds when they were sending all these monies? I’m happy that Anambra people took all those gifts and still voted how their conscience dictated. Those who received those gifts were lucky, afterall, they (the candidates) must have bought those gifts with the people’s money stolen from somewhere. God Has a way of helping the poor; that must be why God made them to give out part of their ill-gotten wealth in their futile quest for Anambra State Government House. From now on, the people will take from the corrupt politicians and still do what’s right. The question now is: How are they going to re-coup all the money spent during the campaign? They were spending all the money with the hope that they will re-coup it up from the Anambra State coffer, but, they were proposing, but, God was disposing. Greedy people will always meet their waterloo in one way or the other, no matter how long it takes. This is a lesson for all those nursing the ambition of reaping where they did not sow.

The president’s two months absconding from duty post has flattened/weakened out the PDP. Peter Obi worked for his re-election no doubt, but, the absence of the president was a benefit to him and the people of the state. Had the election held few months earlier, when Yar’Adua was still around, the result would have be different; the PDP in connivance with INEC would have rigged the election. That was why Soludo was so sure of victory at the beginning that he had the gut to tell Peter Obi, on many occasions, to prepare his handover note. This is the beginning of the good things to come for Nigeria. Soon, Goodluck Jonathan will take over the presidency and Nigeria would never be the same again, we will then see the re-birth of Nigeria for the better.

Peter Obi, during the campaign, rightly said that all his opponents came from the PDP; that although many of them are contesting under different parties, but, that they would all go, in the long run, back to PDP. So PDP chose Soludo as the party’s flag bearer for the election, while covertly encouraging its other members to infiltrate the other parties and snatch their nomination in order to make sure that the party takes the state. But that feint failed; the electorate are now wiser than before.

The Guardian of Feb. 8, 2010 in writing about candidates Ekwunife, Ukachukwu, Uba and the election generally, wrote: “I must tell you that most people thought the PDP decided to play down on the party by ensuring the emergence of Soludo, while putting up the three other candidates at another platform. So that any of them that eventually wins, will return to the PDP. They tried to be smart but the people were smatter. The PDP is the tripod on which PPA, HDP and Labour Party candidates emerged for the election.

The Ojukwu factor became a major force that actually fired the party to victory. Ojukwu, who defied his age to embark on state-wide campaign with Obi, had told the electorate at every point of the need to accord him honor and dignity by voting Obi in the election. “That is my last wish. You would have made me proud if you vote Obi in the election so that he will continue with the good work he is doing for our people. Obi’s voice is the only voice you will hear at the government house in the next four years,” he had said, adding that, Obi had indeed taken good care of him at his old age.

This passion and love for the former Biafran leader, many believed contributed greatly to the victory of the governor. Justice Party National Chairman, Ralph Obioha said, “no matter how old and frail Ojukwu may have become, his presence and support has contributed immensely to this feat by the party.

The approach in the campaign of the party became another serious point that while other candidates were said to be talking with both registered and non registered voters, Obi and APGA directly spoke with registered voters. His campaign was one-on-one he will talk to you about what he has done for your community and ask you what those contesting against him had done for your area. So this means even if he is giving you money, he is not giving it to you to vote for him, but to ask for your conscience.”

Peter is one of the few governors in Nigeria who are meek, gentle, humble and hard working and God Has rewarded him for his service. Peter Obi refuses to accept any chieftaincy title and he still goes as “Mr” and without siren. On February 5, 2010, a day to the election, Peter Obi, as the incumbent governor, had to address his state on the need for all to go out and vote. His speech had the caption: “Anambra: Call To Duty Again”. I read the speech which was short and well written. From that speech, one sees that Obi is a complete gentleman. That speech had no political undertone. He didn’t use the opportunity to canvass for vote or to call the people of the state to vote for him. Something uncommon in today’s Nigeria, where incumbency is the passport to use the state media to the advantage of the ruling party only!

Anambra people sent a strong message by re-electing Peter Obi. The people told the political prostitutes, stooges and Igbo prodigals who descended on the state hoping to be the governor, that the state is not for sale any more and that it will never be business as usual again. The people want their peace, are fade up with all the altercations and politics of bitterness of the years past. Peter Obi has brought relative peace to the state despite the fact that his traducers have been sabotaging all his efforts. The people sent a strong message to those being foisted on the state from the outsider, that they’re wise enough to decide what is best for them; that they can discern between left and right; that they can differentiate chaff from the wheat, and that Peter Obi is the best for the state.

Anambra State is setting the stage for the best that would happen to Nigeria. This is 2010, 40 years after the civil war and a year to start the making or breaking of Nigeria as a nation. The message from Anambra State is being heard everywhere in Nigeria, Nigerians have taken notice of what that transpired in Anambra State. Now, Nigerians know that it’s possible for the peoples’ votes to count; it’s possible for the best to emerge winners in Nigeria. The message will be carried over to 2011 and the people would remember and will do the right thing. No amount of intimidation; be it in monetary, physical or any other form, will influence the people to do the wrong thing, because, the people of Anambra State has set the example by telling those who descended on the state to win and “devour” it (the state), that they cannot be intimidated by their money, thugs, godfathers and all worth not. Anambra State is now the standard bearer for all Nigerians hoping for political and electoral freedom.

No matter how his opponents feels, one fact that’s undeniable, if they can be truthful to themselves, is that no past governor of the state has matched Obi’s commitment to service and what he has put on the ground, in the state, is a record in a Nigeria where state governors spend fours years looting their state dry rather than put up any meaningful development in it. Take Abia State for instance: Orji Uzo Kalu ruled the state for eight year and only succeeded in making Aba Town the dirtiest city in the world (according to Forbes). But Peter has transformed Anambra State, in just three year, into one of the best states in Nigeria: he’s building the Onitsha Stock Exchange that would be one of the tallest buildings in Nigeria and will make Onitsha an economic hub in Africa; he has computerized most of the secondary schools classrooms in the state, most of the roads are in good condition; teachers and civil servants are regularly paid; Anambra State is one of the few states in Nigeria without a debt, rather the state has surplus, all thanks to a governor who really wants to serve his people and not to enrich himself. What Obi has so far achieved within four years, Orji Uzo Kalu did not achieve one quarter of it in eight years for Abia State.

Why shouldn’t Obi win? Afterall he’s the best Igbo governor and one of the best in Nigeria. I have never seen a gubernatorial candidate in any state of Nigeria so endorsed by his people as Peter Obi. While his opponents were busy chasing shadows, Peter Obi was raking in one endorsement after another. The catholic, Anglican, Pentecostal churches all endorsed Obi because of the service he has so far rendered to the state; all traditional rulers, with the exception of those who have their subjects as gubernatorial candidates, all endorsed Obi and even came out in unison to pour libation for him and against those who would perpetrate electoral malpractices; Onitsha traders, market women, other traders from all the towns in the state and businessmen/women all over the state endorsed and supported Obi; the council of principals of the state; the Nigerian Union of Teachers (NUT) Anambra State branch; the Anambra State branch of NANS; most of the Elders of the state; Anambra State Towns Unions and Diaspora organizations etc all endorsed Peter Obi because of his record. Obi proves that rendering quality service to the people pays and he’s a lesson for all, that the people are taking notice of what their leaders are doing, and when the time comes for the people to judge and reward, they would always do the right thing.

Obi is religious, has shown humility in winning; he’s never pompous, but, down to earth. He asked his opponents in the election to join hands with him in building a better state. He was right when he told his opponents (after the election) this: “As for my brothers and sisters who contested the election with me, I commend them for their patriotism and desire to serve our people. You have no doubt put up a gallant fight. What is most important now is that we remain good brothers and sisters that we have been over the years and join hands in building a better Anambra State for ourselves and our children.”

The winners, apart from Peter Obi, are his party, the APGA, which is the only true Igbo party. When people have written its Nunc Dimittis, the party refuses to “die”. Other winners are the people of the state. The election showed how politically matured the people of the state are now; there was no violence and thuggery and the election was peaceful, something not known before now in the state; the people showed how well they have learnt their political lessons by conducting themselves in orderly and peaceful manner and they rejected godfatherism as part of politics. Odumegwu Ojukwu was also a big winner here. He staked his reputation in the election of Peter Obi and the people still confirmed him as the only “genuine” Igbo leader. Ojukwu pleaded to the people to re-elect Obi as his last wish, because, according to him, he will never stand before them again, for political reason, due to his age. The people didn’t fail him, they made Ojukwu’s wish to come true. The Vice President was also a winner, because, he gave an unmistaken order to the security forces to make sure there was peace during the election and so it was. This shows how his incoming presidency would be; he seems to have what it takes to lead a nation than the man he’s going to replace.

Some of the losers have been gallant in defeat; Soludo and Uba, in a rare display of statesmanship by Nigerian politicians, have congratulated Obi and pledged their support. But, Ngige, who benefitted once from a rigged gubernatorial election, has remained recalcitrant, by protesting the conduct of the election and is heading to court.

Soludo is a big loser here. He might be an intellectual, but, he lacks political intelligence and acumen; in other words, he’s a stark political illiterate. He allowed PDP, desperate of winning Anambra State, to use him when he knew that he had no chance against Peter Obi. PDP’s desperation to pocket the state might have put paid to Soludo’s re-nomination as the CBN Governor then, because, the party and the presidency thought that only a man of Soludo’s pedigree can wrestle the state out of Obi’s grips; so the idea was to better send him to Anambra State to contest the governorship post, rather than re-appoint him as the CBN Governor.

The removal of Soludo as CBN Governor has turned into a blessing in disguise because of the rot in the banking sector he was sitting on top of and was hiding from the public then. The CBN, through Sanusi, its governor, has just said that it’s still discovering scandals of enormous proportion in the banking system. Sanusi noted that Union Bank had N146bn negative equity, Intercontinental Bank, N215bn; Oceanic Bank, N69bn; Bank PHB, N139bn; Afribank, N107bn; ETB N56bn; Fin Bank, N85bn; Spring Bank, N50bn and Wema Bank, N52bn.He added that if the CBN had not acted when it did, there would have been the collapse of the entire banking system in the country. Soludo cannot claim to be unaware of the avalanche of scandals in the banking sector when he was the CBN Governor. Why didn’t he expose them? Or he wanted a “sleeping dog to lie”? Knowing what we know now, Soludo might have been a corrupt CBN Governor.

On the other hand, may be, the northern oligarchy, knowing that Soludo would never win against Obi, decided to unleash him still, just to cut him (Soludo) to size and rubbish his record in that process; afterall, the north has never forgiven him for the reforms he carried out which led to the demise of almost all the northern owned banks. Soludo failed to read the political hand writing on the wall and fell for the bait they laid out for him. He has ruined himself and his reputation, and it will take him a while to recover from what hit him. Under normal circumstances, Soludo had nothing to do with state politics; he was supposed to be a national player, but, he has lost it all. Soludo should take his time out and go through this bitter political lesson and then learn a thing or two out of it, if he still wants to be relevant again after a long time of political mourning.

The worst loser of the election, apart from Soludo, the PDP, Ngige, Andy Uba, is Orji Uzo Kalu who is Uche Ekwunife’s political godfather. Like his goddaughter, Kalu is a big loser. Kalu thought that he can deceive the people of Anambra State as he did in Abia State. Kalu forgot that Aba Town is a microcosm of the larger Igbo Society, because, every village in Igbo land has at least an indigene of it living in Aba Town. Aba Town is the melting pot of Igbo land. So these people living in Aba Town do tell their people about the condition of things in Aba Town in particular and Abia State in general. When they heard that Kalu was sponsoring Ms. Ekwunife, those people living in Aba Town must have warned their people to forget about Kalu and anybody associating with him, because, of how that looter, just only in a matter of eight years, made Aba Town to break the world record; moving from a burgeon and well known business town to the direst town in the world. What Kalu did was to short-change Aba and he’s now dreaming of building his home town, Igbere, which is a “hamlet”, as re replacement for Aba. Could you imagine that? That’s why he has established his private university called “University of Arts and Science” in Igbere. Imagine an illiterate that has killed education in the state building a private university?

George Oraeki wrote: “For the intervention of GOD Almighty, Anambrarians could have gone into political and Developmental oblivion had the former Governor of Abia state, Orji Kalu manipulated the electoral process and installs his PPA Candidate on Anambra people. ANAMBRARIANS should go and thank GOD for that deliverance. Our monthly resources could have been mortgaged into Slok Account; Anambra State could have witnessed brutal killings, assassination, kidnappings etc. He, Kalu said it publicly that he is for peace and pieces. Finally on Sunday the 7th February he left ANAMBRA with shame”.

The election in Anambra State, like every other elections in Nigeria was flawed, but, the shortcomings wasn’t to the advantage of any candidate or party, it affected all the candidates and did not in any way influenced the outcome of the election. The shortchanging went round. For instance, I think that the winner of election (Peter Obi) did not vote because he couldn’t find his name in the voters’ register of his ward; even Ojukwu, our hero, confirmed that the election was flawed. Only less than 17% of the registered voters voted due to one problem or the other; the pictures of Gani, Fela and Bola Ige appeared against wrong names in the voters register for Anambra State (wonderful, isn’t it?); materials arrived late, voting did not start on time, electoral malpractices was reported in some places, but, all the same, the national and international observers certified the election as being relatively free and fair. This is where we should do something: When can we conduct an entirely free and fair election in Nigeria, why is that hard in Nigeria? The politicians in Abuja should carry out the needed electoral reforms so that these problems will not rear their ugly heads in subsequent elections, there should be the re-organisation of INEC to meet up with future challenges. A Lagos High Court says that INEC as presently constituted, cannot conduct any elections. The problem should be ameliorated by appointing the required number of officials for the body.

Peter Obi merited winning, because of what he has so far put down on the ground in the state. Onye lua, ya rie (he who worked, should enjoy the fruit of his labour). Anything short of Peter Obi winning would have been unacceptable to Ndiigbo. Like I wrote somewhere else, Obi worked for his re-election by the enviable service he rendered to the people of Anambra State. I wish he was my state governor. Theo. A. Orji of my state is the worst governor in Nigeria, just like his predecessor, master-looter Orji Uzo Kalu. Ndi Anambra should be proud and happy that a cult called PPA weren’t rigged in as the winning party. All the Igbo states would be liberated from the dumbbells pinning them down all the while, soon. Peter Obi’s case should teach Ndiigbo a lesson that upon everything we’re going through; we should be consistent in our messages, perseverant in our actions and patient in our attitudes, then we will definitely achieve our emancipation very soon.

Peter Obi has one shortcoming: he has been unable to build his party, APGA, behind himself. His party has been diminishing and is factionalized. Without laying a solid party foundation, his programmes would not be sustained when his tenure elapses. Obi should try and build his APGA into a regional or even national party. Being the only genuine Igbo party, APGA should be able to win elections, at least, any where in Ala Igbo and only Peter Obi can make this possible. The party of our hero, eze gburu gburu of Ala Igbo (Ojukwu) should not be a one state party.

Congratulations to Peter Obi

Congratulations to Ndi Anambra

Congratulations to Ala Igbo

Congratulations to Nigeria

My brother Peter Obi, you deserved your victory; ride on and work harder for your state now, don’t rest on your oars. I leave you with this: “No, dear brothers, I am still not all I should be but I am bringing all my energies to bear on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, I strain to reach the end of the race and receive the prize for which God is calling us up to heaven because of what Christ Jesus did for us.” Philippians 3:13-14, TLB.


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