The rise and rise of Peter Obi in the political landscape of Nigeria needs no iteration here. Suffice it by noting, though, that it’s only morning yet on his political emancipation. True it might appear to be at a decussate cross of roads presently. But there is more than ample proof that, like the phoenix, he can still rise from the ashes of this debacle like the rock he is by name and moniker.
As tall an order as this appears – and really is – it only pales somewhat as one juxtaposes it with his unique antecedents. He was virtually a nobody upon graduation with a Lower Second Class Honours degree from the Philosophy Department of University of Nigeria, Nsukka (UNN) in 1984. Yet by 2003 he had made enough money in his chosen career of business to shake the politics of his home state of Anambra to its foundation.
He had all but asked a simple question following the catastrophic regime that held the state by the jugulars at nascence of another democratic era in 1999: Are we cursed or are we the cause?
The rest is now history.
First he emerged gubernatorial candidate for the then fresh All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA). Following the election which the party won in a fell swoop, a different winner was announced. Not unlike in the present situation, I daresay. Then after a lengthy three-year-long trial orchestrated by the defendants, justice took its just pound of flesh.
Like ensued, as he was barely getting to grips with the gargantuan responsibility, the state house impeached him. Filled to the brim with legislators from the other party, they preferred lining their pockets to working for the people; perhaps, for not really electing them in the first place.
That time around what followed was a double-barreled victory. First he was reinstated to his office, and was then able to earn the correct tenancy of his tenure through the courts. A precedent that subsists to this day all over the nation.
Then, already a veteran of many un-abandoned jousts, unbeknownst to him, more were yet on the way. One was winning reelection at the end of his rightful tenure. A feat he was to achieve in flying colours to the chagrin of his and the state’s detractors. In fact, to date it beats the imagination that he achieved the feat by beating the candidate of the party in power at the centre silly.
Any wonder then that, in apparent compensation, the entire state electoral force voted in his chosen successor as he took a final bow at the expiration of a deserved eight-year tenure. A political neophyte by all considerations, this successor of his arguably reaped where he neither cleared, tilled nor sowed. In fact, that incumbent and successor were to fall out subsequently was a timely adumbration that more battles lay ahead.
Forced out of APGA on account, Obi sought shelter in the same Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) that he had been nemesis of. Accordingly, it came as no surprise when earlier Southeastern sojourners under the shade of the party’s umbrella saw his entrance as a threat. Yet, strictly on personal records perhaps, he became the vice-presidential candidate of the party in the just concluded 2019 federal elections that has led to the present debacle.
Yes, the sound of the election is come and gone. But not its fury. While it subsists and persists, it’s pertinent to urge Mr. Obi that this cannot be his last battle. Oh yes. Also worth pointing out is the fact that while the earlier ones had been for him and just his part of the country, the one at hand is for his principal and the country whole and entire.
He should also not be unmindful that, as it stands, no better time than now does Atiku need his support. He should never let himself end up like the running mate that went for a ministerial appointment while his Oga lavished in captivity at some other time like this.
And, as always, time is in and of essence. For so long it has become the norm for governments at the centre to run roughshod over the nation in electoral matters. It has to come to a stop someday. And truth said, as it stands today, no one is as eruditely qualified to champion it more than Peter Okwute Obi.
–Abuchi Nnopuechi wrote from Fegge, Onitsha.