Nigerians have been talking since the former governor of Anambra State decamped from APGA to the ruling national party PDP. Obi’s defecting to PDP was anticipated, for Obi has not hidden his inner workings and interactions with the members of PDP. While Obi was the governor of Anambra, his close relationship with President Jonathan, the PDP leader was there for everybody to see. President Jonathan visited Anambra State numerous times and Obi always receives him as a friend, compatriot and a leader.
But since he made it official and finally jumped the boat to PDP, the reactions have been mixed. While some see it as a rightful progression, others especially dire-heart APGA loyalist sees it as a betrayal to the memory of his political godfather Dim Ikemba Ojukwu. Obi received the reactions especially the negative ones in his usual trade mark – calm, cool and collected without saying anything in return. In addition many Nigerians and Ndi-Igbo living abroad were also speaking out on Obi’s deflection.
Sir Okafor Jude Eze, President of US-Nigeria Bi-National Policy Council Atlanta, USA and a rising star in Republican Party commented on Obi’s political career. Eze has been an active observer of political trends in Nigeria, he said: “The defection of former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi, to PDP, is a step in the right direction - it will create an ambient political atmosphere for the Igbo in the party given the recalcitrant defection of Governor Rochas Okorocha from APGA to APC which is on avalanche mission to use Igbo in decapitating the PDP and President Goodluck Jonathan second term pursuit. I think Governor Obi’s decampment is something the Igbo should embrace and not chastise - for the mere fact that APC is not frank with the Igbo despite Governor Rochas affluent brigandage with realpolitik.”
But Bianca Ojukwu, the wife of late Ojukwu, who was the leader of the party until his death, made a statement that hinges on Obi turning his back on the late leader. Then Obi knew it was time to speak up and defend his most precious attribute and material - his integrity and honor.
From Netherland, Bianca, the Nigeria’s Ambassador to Spain did not left any stone unturned in handing his disappointment to Obi’s deflection. Her words: “I received the news with shock and disappointment because up till the last moment; Obi kept reassuring me that this would never happen; that it would be over his dead body; that the day he leaves APGA would be the day he quits politics; and most importantly, that he would keep the promise he made to Ojukwu. I had no reason to doubt him” and these were words she uttered as she spoke to Daily Sun.
Bianca reminded everybody about his trust on Obi and she said, “I had become used to unsubstantiated rumours, regarding his defection to the PDP. Even just before the last TAN South East rally in Awka, I spoke with him because I had heard that he would decamp at that event. I had reason to be concerned because he had tendered his resignation letter, as BoT chairman of APGA only the night before the rally, which came as a great surprise to us all. I asked him whether he had any plan to defect to PDP and he told me that his position remained the same; and reiterated the statement that APGA was in his blood. He kept his word then and so, I had no reason to believe that he would lie on this occasion. I felt that he had enough integrity to keep his promise to Ojukwu because there was no compelling reason for him not to do so.”
She further stressed, “Everything he is, today, he owes to Ojukwu and APGA. APGA catapulted him literally from obscurity to national prominence. He served two consecutive terms, as governor of Anambra State, a first in the history of the state. This, he achieved under APGA. His decampment is shocking to our party members. He never gave them any indication that he was about to jump ship. Close as I was to him, he did not even have the simple courtesy to inform me of this decision but continued to deceive me up until his defection.”
Bianca reiterated that, “The spirit of Ojukwu lives not only among the people of Anambra State but also Ndigbo as a whole. That spirit will continue to sustain and propel APGA. The party will flourish with or without Peter Obi. I believe that in spite of whatever he may become in the future, posterity will not be kind in its judgment of his latest action because not only has he squandered his patrimony, he has firmly appended his seal on a new brand of microwave politics in Nigeria.”
Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at Africa Political & Economic Strategic Center (AFRIPOL), maintained that party’s defection by Obi is a mark of political growth and adjustment of ideology. Chiakwelu speaking from Houston, Texas reaffirmed Obi’s constitutional right to associate with any political entity without losing his core standing in his constituency. Chiakwelu said, “Obi has committed himself in rebuilding his Igbo constituency and infrastructure in the emerging political reality in Nigeria. And I think Obi will do more for Ndi-Igbo in PDP than APGA in Nigeria at this point in time.”