Home Articles Why APGA should be grateful to Peter Obi

Why APGA should be grateful to Peter Obi

by OtownGist

Recently, the national chairman of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Chief Victor Oye was quoted in the media as saying that former Governor Peter Obi would never make any progress again in politics unless he returned to APGA. If the reports were anything to go by, he was apparently mocking Mr. Obi following the outcome of the recently concluded Anambra governorship election in which his party’s candidate, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, was declared as the winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). Chief Oye has the liberty to celebrate the victory of his party at the polls, but does Peter Obi deserve mockery and invectives from APGA members?

Perhaps a rehash of history will answer this poser. APGA was registered as a political party sometimes in 2001. The founding national chairman was Chief Chekwas Okorie. The immediate past chairman of the party, Senator Victor Umeh, was one of the national officers of the party. Late Ikemba Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu was the chairman of the board of trustees of the party. Prior to 2001, this I had never heard the name Peter Obi. Most Nigerians never knew before that time, that he existed even though he was doing exploits in the business world. It was late in 2001 that a certain Peter Obi came up with this poser; “Is Anambra State cursed or are we the cause”?

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Dr Chinwoke Mbadinuju was the governor of the state at the time. That was a time all government and missionary schools were closed down for over a year. Pensioners and civil servants were owed arrears of pensions and salaries for years. Political killings were a daily menu in the state apparently orchestrated by Mbadinuju’s political opponents to cripple his government. Anambra State was always in the news at the time for wrong reasons. Political godfathers held the state hostage. That was why Peter Obi came out from the private sector to liberate the state. That was how Peter Obi became the issue in Anambra politics.

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When Peter Obi eventually contested the 2003 governorship election on the platform of APGA, his mandate was stolen. Peter Obi was not the only candidate who contested the governorship election on the platform of APGA across Nigeria. In Imo State, late Engineer Ezekiel Izuogu, contested on the same platform. In Enugu State, Chief Ugochukwu Agballah, the current chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC) in the state, was the candidate of the party. There were strong candidates in Abia and Ebonyi States. However, of all those candidates who apparently won the election in their various states, Peter Obi, was the only candidate who pursed the retrieval of his stolen mandate to a logical conclusion.

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The erroneous belief at the time was that no defeated candidate would ever retrieve his mandate from an incumbent governor in Nigeria’s history. It was obvious to every Dick and Harry that late Engineer Izuogu won the 2003 Imo State governorship election. He defeated the then incumbent Governor Achike Udenwa who performed abysmally poor in his first term. Sadly, Izuogu couldn’t pursue the retrieval of his mandate. He gave up with the belief that it was impossible to retrieve it from a sitting governor. Even the then national chairman of APGA, Chief Chekwas Okorie, abandoned Peter Obi at the tribunal and was hobnobbing and paying courtesy visits to then Governor Chris Ngige who stole his party’s mandate. If Peter Obi had given up just like others, APGA wouldn’t have ruled the state for eight years under his leadership. His successor Chief Willie Obiano, wouldn’t have become a governor, he would have remained anonymous as he was prior to 2014 when he was elected the governor of the state. The governor-elect, Professor Chukwuma Soludo, wouldn’t have been elected a governor on the platform of APGA. Chief Victor Umeh may not have become a senator.

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Even the man mocking Peter Obi, Chief Victor Oye, wouldn’t have tasted the seat of the national chairman of the party. If Peter Obi didn’t contest for the interpretation of his tenure at the Supreme Court, PDP would have taken over the state since 2007.
The history of Nigeria democracy cannot be written without a page or two dedicated to Peter Obi for his landmark judicial exploits.

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APGA would have since become a defunct political party just like many others since 2003, if Peter Obi didn’t show resilience, gravitas and grit in politics. Peter Obi was deliberately chased out of APGA by the current government in Anambra State. He never wanted to leave the party, but some people were uncomfortable with his presence in the party. In any case, what more would Peter Obi have achieved in politics if he had remained in APGA? The party, is a one-state party which cannot make anybody a President of Nigeria. When APGA pushed Peter Obi out, PDP embraced him. He has also made a substantial progress in PDP. He became the vice-presidential candidate of the party just few years after he joined the party. That was not a mean feat. Peter Obi is now a national figure and it is only a national party that can take him higher in politics, not a one-state party like APGA. Even if an angel is made the presidential candidate of APGA, that angel cannot win the presidential election judging by the present configuration of Nigerian politics. Peter Obi is in a better place politically speaking as a member of PDP, and the earlier APGA joins him in the party, the better for Chief Victor Oye and his APGA Members. APGA should be eternally grateful to Peter Obi.

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––Ifeanyi Maduako, Owerri

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