Will Willie Obiano Remain Loyal To Peter Obi?

Shortly after the Local Government poll in Anambra State which the ruling part All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) won in landslide, there seems to be a crack in the very cordial relationship between the godfather Governor Peter Obi and his godson and would-be successor Willie Obiano. Those close to the corridor of power in Government House Awka hints that the governor-elect is not a happy man as suggested by his body language. And the reason for this posture is not far-fetched. All the APGA Local Government Chairmen are stooges of Governor Obi. None is Obiano’s candidate and the later feels that it could be a big trap put in place to frustrate his government in any case he decides to do things outside the laid down laws by his godfather.

Obiano is also not comfortable with the fact and arrangement which makes all the APGA lawmakers in the State House of Assembly subservient to Governor Obi which means he could be impeached at anytime if he fails or refuses to take commands from his godfather. Observers opine that Governor Obi is smart and understood that in politics any thing can happen and the only bond is common interest which should be permanent and breeds friendship otherwise there is no permanent friendship in the game called politics. Therefore he has smartly put in place machineries and structures capable of putting his successor on the edge all through his stay in office. In fact it is Obiano’s relationship and sustenance of this structure that will determine how long he will stay in office.

“His Excellency Governor Peter Obi is a good student and having patiently and critically studied the political situation in the country particularly the manner governors who succeed their predecessors dump them and even attempt to chase them out of the state by frustrating all their political efforts as witnessed in the cases of Sullivan Chime and Chimaroke Nnamani in Enugu State and Theodore Orji and Orji Uzor Kalu in Abia State, he cannot fold his arms and allow that happen. To this end he has placed solid structures in place to check the excesses of his successor and godson,” says a top Government House chieftain.

With Governor Obi now National Leader of the party and chairman of the Board of Trustees and with him likely to appoint all the commissioners to work in the cabinet of Obiano surely he would have sealed all loopholes capable of upsetting his political machineries. But events of the past 15 years of democracy in Nigeria show that irrespective of how solid the political structure of a politician in power could be it could be turnaround against him if not totally destroyed as successive governments use power of incumbency to frustrate him or his structure.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who was President for eight years between 1999 and 2003 and single-handedly made Goodluck Jonathan President after his principal Late Umaru Musa Yar’Adua who was also crowned by Obasanjo passed on is presently licking his wounds from the political injuries inflicted on him by Jonathan then Governor Obi must be careful. He must watch his back as anything is possible. The mere fact that Obiano is frowning over the outcome of the LGAs poll which did not allow him pick a single chairman even in his own LGA should send a message across to Obi. And Nigerians won’t be surprised if Obiano has a masterstroke or an ace to serve. It took wise counseling and reasoning for Bola Ahmed Tinubu and his successor Babatunde Raji Fashola not to allow their cold war become an advantage for the PDP that was waiting in the wing to lure away Fashola and that would have had a disastrous effect on the then ACN and Tinubu’s entire political plan. Those who know say Fashola was ready to move to PDP after his first term when Tinubu insisted that he would not run a second term. For Fashola who has performed in Lagos it was just a matter for him to move to any political party and Lagosians would move in one clean swoop with him.

Should Obiano replicate Fashola’s performance in Anambra in just his first two years in office then, he could look straight into the eyes of Obi and tell him ‘you can go to hell.’ Analysts however opine that Obiano will not want to rock the boat since he is coming from the private sector. They say as a successful banker who has left his footprints in the sands of time in Fidelity Bank he would be loyal till the end. They cited Dr. Emmanuel Uduaghan of Delta State who is a medical doctor. He succeeded Chief James Ibori and did not demolish the latter’s political structure even though he is in jail. But a school of thought argued that Uduaghan was able to overlook Ibori’s so called structure because the later was not around to dictate to him or to boss or push him around more so, they are first cousins. Therefore the principle of blood is thicker than water may have been applied.

Also cited is the Obong Victor Attah and Chief Godswill Akpabio relationship. But power brokers in Akwa Ibom State reveal that it has not been smooth for both men as Akpabio has boxed his predecessor to a corner thus, standing tall as the supreme leader and voice of Akwa Ibom politics. In other words it is the man in power that calls the shots irrespective of how powerful or influential his predecessor was. In Bauchi State, Isa Yuguda on assumption of office literally chased present National Chairman of the PDP Adamu Muazu who was his predecessor out of town. First he set up a probe panel to investigate the administration of Muazu and later used the media to publish all the contracts awarded and rewarded to different contractors in the state. It was just a matter of time for Muazu to be kept in a cooler as he travelled abroad to take some rest following the frustrating moves of his successor. On return Muazu moved to live in Abuja. In fact it took Jonathan to first reconcile Muazu and Yuguda before the later could recommend or appoint the former (Muazu) for his present position. That is what power of incumbency can do.

In the case of Obi and Obiano, Nigerians are merely waiting to see how long their cordial relationship would go. The master-servant relationship could be interesting and sweet only if the servant chooses to see himself so. But the day he realizes his potential then the bubble could burst. The day Satan confused and convinced Adam of his ignorant and demeaning state that was when trouble started for mankind. Whether Obiano will allow his colleagues (fellow governors) to open his eyes to what he should know and do which could spell doom for Obi, time will tell. How long Obi will hold on to power in Anambra through APGA time will also tell.

About Desmond Ekwueme


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