By Ndy Akosa
PRESENTLY the vibes in the Anambra State political terrain is this ear-buzzing song – Godfatherism. Most Anambrarians believe that His Excellency, Dr. Willie Obiano, is evidently so desperate to clinch a second term berth that his followers, who are thinning out by the day, are holding on to straws like the proverbial drowning man.
From the saying that the former governor, Mr. Peter Obi demanded seven billion naira from the incumbent governor as the money spent while the ‘Godfather’(Obi) installed his Godson (Obiano) to the fairytale that Obi left APGA on his own for pursuit of federal appointment, down to the fact that he betrayed APGA by leaving the party, on and on the tales go-all in an effort to make Mr. Obi abandon any interest in the Anambra State politics of 2017.
But Obi, though not keen in responding amidst very tempting provocations, decided to cut the ice by getting deeply involved in the election. And their disappointment has known no bound since then. However, this has not deterred the ex-governor from assisting in ridding the state of what many perceive as aliens in power.
Right from when primaries got close and hot, Gov. Obiano’s cronies were busy sowing seeds of discord into the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, because it was then clear that former Secretary to the State Government, Oseloka Obaze was not only a strong contender but also has Obi’s support. From under table intrigues of clandestine nature, to open rascality like arranging a handful of paid protesters in Onitsha, the Obiano camp went agog with what many call debasing politics of open blackmail and outright lies masked in propaganda.
Obaze has been busy selling his programme, convincing Anambra people that he is the best man for the job. Rather than do likewise, Obiano and his people have screamed themselves hoarse ranting godfather up and down the streets. Is godfather a negative phenomenon? The late Eze Igbo Gburugburu, Dim Emeka Ojukwu was Mr. Obi’s godfather.
What about Obi himself? Wasn’t he Gov. Obiano’s godfather? Let’s face it – Obiano himself confessed he was swimming when he was called home to govern. He was provided even the air ticket to fly home to answer that call. In all we hear about godfatherism, none comes close to what Obi did for Obiano.
Today, let’s agree that Obi is Obaze’s godfather. So what? Is a father entitled to just a son? Can’t he have as many sons as he wishes? And switch affection particularly when one of these sons have performed below expectation?
Beyond this is the singluar fact that Obaze is not a liability. As SSG for three years at least, he inherited official cars he’s still using. He’s conveniently taking care of himself and family. He’s made enough savings as a very prudent man to purchase his own nomination and declaration of interest forms. He’s been funding his campaign team. In his fleet are vehicles he personally bought to boost his campaigns. His posters, literature, handbills and various meetings are sponsored by him. Obaze is not the lame godson Obiano is.
If Obi is Obiano’s godfather, did Obi at anytime arm-twist him? When this godson and the other godfather, the former national chairman of the party, demanded for Obi to leave the party, didn’t he leave immediately? If there’s any truth in this propaganda-gone-sour, why didn’t Obi insist on being paid this sum before he left in the true ways of the godfather Obiano and his cronies want ndi Anambra to believe Obi represents? And the bold question should be – What manner of godfather would leave his godson’s party if indeed his interest was at stake?
Obi, in eight years as governor of Anambra State developed all parts of the state via ANIDS. Poverty Alleviation; Education; Health; Security; Agriculture; Road Infrastructure; Public Utilities; Water; Judiciary; Housing; etc . He scored first in all these. He brought the state to an enviable position in all fronts such that for once, ndi Anambra sang in unison that he was God-sent.
What was Obi’s secret for performance? Professionals say it’s PRUDENCE and I can’t agree more. Obi was so prudent that they christened him Aka gum(tight fisted). Yes, he was so tight-fisted with the finances of the state that he was able to deliver real governance to the masses. That’s why they love him….they shout Okwuteee anywhere they see him. They still love the only real governor they have ever known. Ndi Anambra dream of another governor like their Okwute once more. If indeed he is a godfather to Obaze, it is to the latter’s huge advantage.
This is the major set-back the other godson lacks that is driving his camp crazy. This is why they are lying to and cajoling ndi Anambra to reject godfatherism. There are godfathers and there are godfathers. Peter Obi is one godfather ndi Anambra will welcome with open arms. Already, majority are saying – if Obi tells us to vote for Obaze we will gladly do so.
Every of the 177 communities have more than one reason to welcome Obi with genuine love. He’s built schools, constructed roads, built hospitals and health centres, provided amenities, boosted industries, provided poverty alleviation via agriculture and SMEs, and many others.
Such a man should be called back to be a godfather any time because today, the hawks are back in governance. What the poor masses see is governance of enriching private pockets and denying the poor masses, despite being cripplingly overtaxed immediately Obi left. What they see is a government where the only finished projects are located in one community – Aguleri.
The masses want the Obi days to return. They are happy that Obi is interested in bringing those days back by being actively involved. In fact, they were afraid that since Obiano disappointed in continuing with good governance that Obi would abandon Anambra. But they now know how much their Okwute loves them. They will do everything to see those great days back.
Love him or hate him, Peter Obi is one person a great majority of ndi Anambra will welcome wholeheartedly as a godfather.