By Vincent Ujumadu & Nwabueze Okonkwo
AWKA—AFTER a long period of speculation, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr. Peter Obi, yesterday decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
He made the declaration at his Onitsha, GRA home when he hosted chieftains of the PDP in the South-East.
It took what looked like pressures on him to finally make the declaration as speakers after speakers persuaded him to join the party because, as they said, he had been identifying with the party even as governor of All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA.
Govs Akpabio, Orji, Ekweremadu, Ihedioha, Anyim, Nwodo, Chukwumerije, Chikwe, others in attendance
Those who were in Obi’s residence include the Deputy Senate President, Sen. Ike Ekweremadu; Deputy Speaker of House of Represetatives, Emeka Ihedioha; SGF, Sen. Pius Anyim Pius and the chairman of the South-East Governors’ Forum, Governor Theodore Orji.
Others were the chairman of the PDP Governors’ Forum and governor of Akwa-Ibom State, Dr. Godswill Akpabio; former Governor Okwesilieze Nwodo, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, Sen. Uche Chukwumerije, Senator Emma Anosike, Sen. Hope Uzodinma, Sen. Ben Obi, Sen. Igwe Paulinus and PDP women leader, Kema Chikwe
Also present were House of Representative members, including Ozongbachi, Offor Chukwuegbo, Uche Ekwunife, Chris Azobogu, Fort Dike, Jerry Alagboso, Toby Okechukwu, Kingsley Ebenyi, Onyechi Ezenwa, Ibechie, Eucharia Anazodo, Chuma Nzeribe, Princess Adaeze Oduah, Arua Arunsi, Egwuatu Cyril, Anayo Nebe, Col Usobundu, Ifeanyi Ubah.
There were members of the Federal Executive Council, namely Emeka Wogu, Prof. Chinedu Nebo, Osita Chidoka, Viola Onwuliri, among many others.
On their mission, the National Chairman of the PDP, Alhaji Adamu Muazu, represented by the Publicity Secretary, Olisa Metuh, said the visit was as a result of the resolution by the entire South-East to pay him a visit and persuade him to join the PDP for more meaningful contributions to national affairs.
Metuh said PDP had never lost election in the East but to Peter Obi as a person because of his integrity, forthrightness, hard work and honesty, which had made the people to love him and followed him at all times.
Citing the recent joining of the PDP by Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, Metuh said time was ripe for Obi to join the party because he should be working for his friend, President Goodluck Jonathan, one hundred percent.
Governor Akpabio agreed that the PDP always lost in Anambra because of Obi, saying he wished they met Obi before the governorship election in Anambra, so the PDP could have won.
However, he said it was not late for him to join the PDP and work at the centre for the good of the country and described Obi as a man of integrity, who comes out strongly on issues who would be an asset to the country at the centre.
He called Obi and his wife to be proud of himself saying “If some of your people do not believe in you, if we do not admire you, if they do not realize your potentials, we gathered here are telling you that Nigerians believe in you and admire you.”
Governor of Abia State, Chief Theodore Orji said: “ We are here today to discuss the future and progress of the South-East geo-political zone with our brother Mr. Peter Obi, who was the immediate Governor of Anambra State.
“Having reviewed with him the state of the country and how it affects our people, we came to the conclusion that our interest in the country is better served when we remain together as brothers and sister under one party and speak with one voice, which Obi has championed over the years.
“We all agreed that politics globally is dynamic and changes from time to time. In Nigeria, for example, we have moved from regional parties to regional politics, which requires our people staying together and speaking with one voice.
“We in the East should do the same in the interest of our people. We therefore appealed to him to join the people’s Democratic Party (PDP), since that is the party majority of our people belong to.“
Effusive eulogies for ex-gov
Orji said Obi was the type of person the PDP needed to move on because of his integrity and that it was not everybody that the leadership of an organisation would be united in wooing him to join the party.
Deputy Senate President, ike Ekweremadu said Obi, even when he was in APGA, extended hands of friendship to everybody that would contribute to the development of Anambra State. He said that Obi’s demonstration of leadership, integrity, his friendship with the President and commitment to Nigeria prompted them to come and appeal to him to join the PDP.
Also speaking, the Deputy Speaker, Hon. Emeka Ihedioha said the decision to come and appeal to Mr. Peter Obi to join the PDP was a collective one borne out of the importance of Obi to Nigeria.
The Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Sen. Anyim Pius Anyim, said he was optimistic the forum would end up convincing the governor to make definite pronouncement, insisting that the delegation would not leave his house until he joined PDP.
Nwodo moved the motion for Obi to join PDP
After the speeches, former Chairman of the PDP, Chief Okwesilieze Nwodo in moving the motion for Obi to join them said: “in view of Mr. Obi’s integrity, political sagacity, marvelous work in Anambra State, stabilising influence on the Federal Government, we the leaders of the PDP move the motion that you are the one we are waiting for in the PDP.”
The motion was seconded by the Minister of Works, Chief Emeka Nwogu, who said that Peter Obi was one good man the PDP needed for his utility not just to the President, but to the country at large.
Mrs. Kema Chikwe, speaking on behalf of woman said Obi was like the woman having an affair, and begot children, and that the event of the day was akin to his mistress coming with his children to ask for the legalisation of the marriage. She described Obi as sharing the same vision of a prosperous country with the PDP and that we would contribute more to Nigeria by joining a national party.
I’m humbled, says Obi
Announcing his decision to join PDP, Obi, who was called upon to respond to the request by Sen. Ben Obi, said he was humbled by the visit.
He said; “I most sincerely appreciate this visit by people I consider as important political leaders from the South-East. I thank you for your continued belief and commitment to the welfare of our people and the progress of our country.
“I had in the past worked closely with all of you and you know my belief about our zone working together. I assure you that we will continue to work even closer as a team in the interest of our people.
“Regarding your visit of today, let me assure you that I heard your kind and passionate requests and that your journey would not be in vain but in the best interest of our people.
Further Obi said the issue of joining a national party was not about happenings in APGA, but because of the need to be a competitor and not a spectator in national affairs.
Finally, after protracted request that he be given time to get back to them and the insistence of the forum that time was of essence, he joined.
Taken unawares by the number of people that flooded to Obi’s house, canopies were hurriedly set up to accommodate them. One of Obi’s aides said they thought it was just a visit by a few PDP members as their boss told them but were surprised that it turned out to be a carnival.