Some political commentators have claimed that without Governor Peter Obi, the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), would by now have gone into oblivion. In fact, they argue that it would have died naturally without even being given a chance to succeed. And this would probably have happened in 2003 after the governorship election conducted by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC). It would be recalled that INEC declared the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate, Dr. Chris Ngige, winner of that highly rigged election. Obi, just fresh from the world of business into politics, filed a petition at the Governorship Election Petition Tribunal sitting in Awka, presided by Hon. Justice Garba Nabaruma. To many people it was a naïve decision for Obi to go to the tribunal and to reject all offers of money and position to cushion his election expenses. Before then, there was no precedent of an outsider who contested election unseating a sitting governor. On account of that, APGA lost majority of its followership who joined the ruling party to survive. It was even alleged that the leadership of the party then did not see sense in Obi fighting for his election as the petition dragged on for three and a half years.
But characteristic of Obi, he continued his fight. With his chaplet in his hand, Obi continuously recited his Rosary even in public. Then the unexpected happened. The election petition tribunal in Awka delivered it judgment upholding that Mr. Peter Obi won majority of the lawful votes cast in that election and ordered that he be sworn in as governor. Ngige immediately went on appeal. Then on March 15, 2006, the appeal tribunal upheld Justice Nabaruma’s judgment and ordered that Obi be sworn in immediately. It sounded unbelievable but the next day, Obi was sworn in as Governor of Anambra state in Awka, while Ngige hastily left Government House.
Even when Obi assumed office, PDP members of the State House of Assembly who were clearly in the majority made sure that he did not find his work easy. Once he was impeached but he swam through the murky waters and regained his seat. On many occasions the House made the state ungovernable by not passing the annual budget or, when they did, made sure that much was not approved for him to work with. Despite all that Obi survived. Initially, he faced his administrative duties as governor and was criticized for abandoning the party.
But at the appropriate time, Obi not only rebuilt the party but also rebuilt some people that were thought to have been left behind. Now, all the communities in the state boast of several projects which the state government built in their communities. Virtually all communities in the state are now linked by tarred roads, and more and the people, including the clergy, believe that no other political party has served their interest more than APGA and this accounts for why the party has become a people’s identity. Obi adopted a unique development strategy known as Anambra Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS) which ensured that all aspects of the economy were developed simultaneously. Also, although there was a misunderstanding among party big wigs after the demise of the former leader of the party and Ikemba Nnewi, Dim Emeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, that dispute was resolved without the players allowing it to destroy the party. When Ojukwu was alive, he served as the General of the party, making sure that it was not dragged into disrepute. Then Obi served as the General Officer Commanding while Chief Umeh was the field Commander, ably tackling any kind of assault from outsiders. In that light APGA became a beacon of hope to Anambra people to the extent that recently, the Catholic Bishop of Nnewi, Most Rev. Dr. Hillary Odili Okeke, begged Obi not to leave politics as he felt that Obi’s legacy was worthy of emulation. It was nNo tags for this post.