All of a sudden, we begin to read from various social media platforms that the South East would not vote for the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), because a former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, was picked as the running mate to PDP Presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar.
A meeting of South East “PDP leaders” was hurriedly convened, which would have taken the decision to reject Peter Obi as Atiku’s running mate, but when they realized that many people would not listen to them, the attendees came out to tell us that they were annoyed with the selection of Peter Obi because they were not consulted before he was picked, and that they would have preferred A or B, etc., etc.
For us, we do not buy into what these people were saying. As far as we know, the noise about the rejection of Peter Obi as running mate to PDP Presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar by the so-called South East PDP leaders does not hold any water, since majority of ordinary South Eastners will always stand with Peter Obi any time and any day.
Peter Obi is a distinguished son of Igboland. He is a household name not only in Igboland, but throughout Nigeria. Apart from being a successful businessman, Peter On is also an astute, austere and successful politician.
For Peter Obi to have ruled a difficult state like Anambra, where almost everybody is a king, has stupendous resources, and is also as wise as Solomon, is a no mean feat. And yet, he succeeded in turning Anambra State around with massive social and infrastructural developments. It was Peter Obi that killed godfatherism in Anambra State, which had plagued the state for a very long time.
Peter Obi is never a pushover. He is dogged and determined. He does not take no for an answer. He would vigorously pursue any cause he so much believes in.
Peter Obi has made history as one who altered the course of electoral process in Nigeria. He therefore was responsible for the current staggered governorship elections in some states in the country.
In 2003, Peter Obi had sought to be the Governor of Anambra State through the normal election process. When he was denied victory in that election, he went to court to challenge it, going through all the courts in land and later succeeded in having his mandate restored, that is, after almost three years of struggle.
After the four years election sequence in the country, and going by the May 29 handover date, Peter Obi was told to vacate office as Governor of Anambra State, that his tenure had ended. A new governor, Andy Uba, was therefore sworn in as Governor of Anambra State.
But Peter Obi said no, that his tenure had not ended, that his tenure started the day he took the oath office. Again he went to court, arguing it up to the Supreme Court. The court agreed with him, that Peter Obi was given a four-year mandate, and that it started the day he took the oath office.
That was how the current staggered governorship elections in the country started, as every other governor who recovered his mandate through the courts would start counting from the day his mandate was restored.
Again, when some people who were not comfortable with Peter Obi’s style of governing Anambra State by not sharing the state’s resources to them, organized a kangaroo impeachment exercise against him, he also went to court to challenge it, and succeeded in winning back his seat.
Those now talking about the South East rejecting Peter Obi are only afraid of his intimidating credentials. They are afraid that if Peter Obi succeeds as Vice President of Nigeria, that the man might not play the necessary ball. They are afraid because the man is independent minded.
Throughout his tenure as Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi had refused to be anybody’s godson. He refused to carry anybody’s baggage. He was just his own man, doing what he thought would benefit his people and the results were there for everybody to see.
We are not saying that Atiku Abubakar should not have consulted before picking his running mate. Yes, he should consult, but that should not be a prerequisite. Sometimes when you begin to consult, there are people out there, ready to throw spanners into the work, who would constitute a cog in the wheel of progress. That’s why sometimes, you take a decisive action because you know what you want.
We believe that Atiku Abubakar, as PDP Presidential candidate, knows what he wants and who would help him implement his ideas, if he wins. That’s why he picked Peter Obi as his running mate. So let’s give them our support.