“Former governor of Anambra state has acquainted himself very well and don’t forget that there has been precedents of people coming in from other political parties to be ministers.”
President Goodluck Jonathan appears set to reward the All Progressives Grand Alliance, APGA, ahead of his political party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in Anambra State to fill the now vacant ministerial slot in the wake of Stella Oduah’s sack as the aviation minister.
Mrs. Oduah, from Anambra State, was sacked as minister following her indictment for her role in the unlegislated purchase of armoured vehicles by the aviation ministry.
Based on Nigerian law, Mr. Jonathan is to pick another person from Anambra to fill the state’s position in the Executive Council of the Federation, FEC, and possibly to replace Mrs. Oduah as Aviation Minister.
A whispering campaign in Awka, the Anambra State capital and in Abuja, among political leaders across party divide from the state, suggest that the President is on track to reward the former governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, his personal friend, and an APGA member, with the ministerial slot.
The appointment if eventually announced by the presidency may not meet any stiff opposition based on what residents of the state are saying.
The Executive Chairman of the Inter Party Advisory Council of Nigeria [IPAC] in the state, Ken Emeakaiyi, said he sees nothing wrong in the president’s plan.
“APGA as a political party pledged their support to the good programmes of the party (PDP),” Mr. Emeakaiyi, a factional chairman of the PDP in Anambra, said.
“Governor Peter Obi as governor of Anambra state, knowing what Anambra people wanted, knowing how much the Anambra people followed Mr. President, then towed the line of Mr. President by supporting Mr. President and supporting the PDP programmes,” he said.
A leader of Mr. Obi’s APGA in Anambra, Victor Ogene, also defended any plan by the president to pick the former governor as minister.
“The president is appointing his ministers to witness federal characters and by that each state is supposed to get at least one ministerial slot. He didn’t talk about political parties; that is the first thing I would want to allude to,” Mr. Ogene told PREMIUM TIMES.
“Secondly, former governor of Anambra state has acquainted himself very well and don’t forget that there has been precedents of people coming in from other political parties to be ministers.”
The Anambra politician made reference to a similar appointment by former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
“When President Obasanjo had a sense of current dissertation in 1999, he nominated people like the late Chief Bola Ige and he didn’t just nominate him, he gave him a statutory ministry as Minister of Mines and E-development and later as Attorney General of the Federation.
“It didn’t follow that the late Chief Bola Ige at the time wasn’t of the People’s Democratic Party and there have been some others like that,” he said.
Mr. Ogene argued that President Jonathan should “look for people who have a fine Nigerian agenda. And Peter Obi has shown that beyond his own political meaning, he is one person who goes for anything Nigeria, he distinguished himself in terms of work ethics, in terms of personal examples, in terms of infrastructural development and in terms of proper deployment of the resources of the people of Anambra state and I think that he can replicate that in many folds at the federal level.”
“With somebody like Mr Peter Obi who is a “particular” for due process, you can be sure that that (the Aviation) sector would do him just better.”
Leaders of the opposition All Progressives Congress, APC, in Anambra appear unperturbed by Mr. Obi’s likely emergency as minister.
“I’m really not in a position to say anything, the people who are in this position are members of PDP or members of APGA, we are somewhere in the middle,” Okelo Madukaife, an APC member, told PREMIUM TIMES.
“But if we must comment on it for the sake of morality in politics, I think that politicians at every point in time should stand for something.
“It’s not good for a politician to be one thing in the daytime and another thing in the night, it’s a very bad signal for those who are being led and I think that as much as possible that should be discouraged,” he said in seeming reference to the romance between Mr. Obi and the PDP.
A divided romance
Although Mr. Obi and the APGA leadership have a close relationship with Mr. Jonathan, the last Anambra governorship election showed that not all PDP members in Anambra are in support of the relationship.
The three major candidates for the election were Willie Obiano (now governor) of APGA, Chris Ngige of the APC, and Tony Nwoye of PDP; with all the candidates engaging in campaigns of calumny against one another.
Few hours after the Independent National Electoral Commission, INEC, declared Mr. Obiano winner of the election, the PDP national headquarters congratulated him and the party. This was despite the loud public protest of the PDP candidate, Tony Nwoye, and Mr. Ngige that the elections were flawed.
Messrs Nwoye and Ngige are still challenging Mr. Obiano’s victory at the tribunal.
Observers of Anambra politics accused the PDP headquarters and Mr. Jonathan of abandoning the party’s candidate and supporting APGA’s for the election. One of those who raised an eyebrow on this was former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who, in a letter written to Mr. Jonathan, accused the president of dumping Mr. Nwoye for the APGA candidate.
An Anambra-based journalist, Emmanuel Obe, in describing the relationship between the former governor and Mr. Jonathan said “it has become clear that Peter Obi was his (the president’s) “man Friday” in Anambra.”
“I think people would have realised that long ago and they have not raised any strong objection to that”
“Even while Peter was in APGA, it appears that the President prefers working him than the PDP people who were always divided. I think it’s like a kind of new way of doing politics,” he said.
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