In my previous article, “Anambra Politics: My View and the need to join the winning team”, I explained how Anambra State is coming back to its political root, which was developed with the inception of this present republic in 1999. Anambra State is a PDP state and she is coming back to where it belongs. It is a political revolution presently taking place in Anambra and the person leading this revolution is the most visionary leader and successful politician the Nation has produced in the recent years; Chief. Peter Obi (Okwute Ndigbo). The way he started his political journey and the way he is carrying on with the journey has a lot of bearing in shaping and reshaping the political environment of Anambra State and with it, every single party involved in the politics of the state as well as the nation at large.
Chief Peter Obi and Party Politics
Though so many PDP stalwarts in Anambra State may not like to hear it; believe it or not, the reality is upon us. I have always quoted the saying that goes thus; “the World stands to let him move, who knows where he is going”. Obi is one who has an unstoppable power to move because he knows where he is going. Like him or hate him, once he stands to take a step, you either join him or you stand out. The best part of it is that age is very much on his side so he still has many years to lead.
Okwute Ndigbo, as we prefer to call him, brought so many revolutions into Nigerian politics and with this consolidated the position of Anambra State as a “state of firsts” in many aspects. He made Anambra State the true “Light of the Nation”, which is the name he, Obi gave the state that was once called “home for all”. He is a man of precedence in politics, economics, vision, governance as well as the law of the land and indeed in so much more.
I was privileged to listen to him explaining the motive behind his saving money for the state in dollars, when others were squandering whatever resources they had. I was amazed at how detailed he planned the existence and sustainable growth for the state decades beyond his term as the Governor of the state. Indeed, he knows where he is going.
In my previous article, I referred to him as “the soul of APGA”. Believe it or not, he actually is till this day. I recall when he started his campaign in 2002 for governorship elections that would come in 2003, when, like a Philosopher King, he asked one essential question fundamental to the political revolution that followed; which, indeed, he brought into Anambra politics. He asked, “Anambra State are we cursed or the cause?” In fact, reactions to this question defined the political environment of the state and brought a paradigm shift which has lasted till date and which is why it has become impossible; totally impossible for certain brand of politicians to win governorship elections in Anambra State, ever again.
Meanwhile, Obi started his campaign ever before joining any political party, such that before he eventually joined All Progressive Grand Alliance (APGA), “Peter Obi” had become a household name in Anambra State. It made it easy for him to win the elections massively, though his mandate was stolen then by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). We all know how it ended up. I was actively following his political development since then so I know virtually everything that happened. That was why it became possible for me to envisage the outcome of various events that changed and keep reshaping the political history of Nigeria. I have almost not gone wrong. First was his coming back from impeachment; second, his tenure interpretation; third, his second term bid; and the transition to a new APGA governor after his successful eight years term in office. In same way, I knew when it was time for him to leave APGA and when he eventually did, (though under circumstances I do not know) I believed it’s a good move. I can almost certainly say how it would play out, at least for the next 10 years but that’s not the aim.
I was once in a meeting where he was asked the reason he left APGA. I never expected him to start telling stories of what made him leave APGA for PDP neither did I expect to hear the exact reply he gave to that question. He simply said that he has long decided not to give reasons or explain the events that made him leave APGA but that he is certain that he is exactly where he should be at this point in time. In order words, it is what in Latin we call, “age quod agis”; “doing the right thing at the right time”. The right place is certainly PDP. With his move into PDP, the story is changing.
The Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)
The slogan of the PDP is “Power to the People” and that simply represents the fundamental tenets of democracy; Power to the People. But to be sincere, PDP over the years has derailed from this tenet especially in Anambra State. The story has never remained the same. From the time of Governor Chinwoke Mbadinuju, a failed state to the predatory state of Governor Chris Ngige and the intermittent contests to take over the state by (if you may like, Governor) Andy Ubah and lots more. We best know PDP as “share the money”. Usually, they always know how to come together during electioneering, bandage their crisis, win elections and fall apart after elections; the sharing formula.
With the power of incumbency at the Federal level and its consequent federal might, and with the “foot soldiers” of the party heavily sponsored from the federal, PDP almost became a rogue party in virtually all the states including Anambra State. It took the political sagacity of Peter Obi’s APGA to curtail and contain them in Anambra State. With that APGA held sway in the state for more than eight years. With Peter Obi, APGA which is known as “Party Ndigbo” was a household name in Anambra and he, as the leader of the party, did so well to uphold the principles of the party and not lord it over the party. It was through such instances and ensuing compromise that produced the candidate of the party in the last elections in the person of the incumbent Governor, Chief Willie Obiano. Like I said, series of events made him leave APGA for PDP.
The New PDP
Now under Peter Obi, PDP is taking a new shape, not only in Anambra state but throughout the country. PDP suffered a major loss when APC took over power following the last elections. But with people like Peter Obi and Goodluck Jonathan, I never expected anything less than restructuring the party and positioning it towards the path of a formidable come back.
The coming Anambra Governorship election is like the preparatory ground for this restructuring and it is taking place. Very soon, whether the party wins the elections (which is almost certain considering the circumstances) or not, PDP is undergoing a reformation that would see it return to power come 2019. Most notably, the “soul of APGA” is now in the PDP with its refined and visionary crop of politicians, professionals, think-tanks and what have you, not just from Anambra State but across the nation.
Replicating what he did in APGA, in aligning with PDP, Obi did not usurp the structures of the Party, which some Anambra PDP stakeholders accuse him off. He rather went back to the root of the party by bringing back the relevance and person of the party’s founding Chairman, Dr. Alex Ekwueme, this time giving him value for his statesmanship. Like he did with late Ikemba, he now positions the PDP in line with the visons of one of the foremost Nigerian political icon and Nationalist.
More so, by saying that he knows he is now exactly where he is supposed to be; we know his vision and mission would certainly be achieved. Like the “Light of the Nation” she is, Anambra State is carrying this PDP reformation. Like OHO said, the onus lies on us analysts, writers, reporters and media experts, most notably the social media, who destroyed the party when it disappointed us, to lead in the forefront of its re-emergence, more so, as our only alternative. The All Progressive Congress (APC – which I never believed in) has failed from inception. Like the logicians say, when the premise is false, there is no way the conclusion can be true.
It is the new PDP being led by visionaries and political experts. We have to embrace it especially at this time the Igbo nation is seeking for self-determination either within the country, Nigeria or in a new Nation. There has to be a vehicle for political assertion and it must be a Political Party with National relevance. To me, It’s the New PDP; The Peoples Democratic Party.
(Ifeanyi R. Ibekwe is a writer, public policy analyst, the author of Public Policy and Conflict Nexus: The Deregulation of The Downstream Oil Sector In Nigeria 1999-2007)