Peter Obi could not wait longer than six months in the wilderness. The man who handed over to his chosen successor, Mr Willy Obiano, in March this year, has just decamped to the Peoples Democratic Party (October 7) for no reason other than pure greed and search for relevance.
Obi was following in the footsteps of another governor, Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State, who abandoned the Labour Party that had provided a platform for him to become governor for two terms.
Since 2003 when he won election as governor of Anambra State but was robbed by INEC and the PDP, Obi had had no other party except the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) mentored by Ikemba Nnewi Emeka Ojukwu. And when he retrieved his mandate through the courts in March 2006, it was expected that he would be the rallying point for a party that came third in the 2003 presidential election. It was not to be. The governor had to fight Chekwas Okorie, the founding chairman of the party, and Victor Umeh who succeeded him. After installing Obiano as governor this year, his influence soon dwindled and he hastened to leave the party.
The two men – Obi and Mimiko – are obviously spent forces. Obi is out of power and reportedly not in good terms with his godson Governor Obiano. Mimiko has just a year to vacate his seat as governor. Neither of them would have much influence on voters in their states in 2015. However, politicians with relevance and even spent forces always flock to any government in power (AGIP) in Nigeria where over 90% of funds revolve around government. Politics is winner-take-all.
Expecting President Goodluck Jonathan to win next year, Mimiko and Obi are seeking shelter under the umbrella, as they would have no relevance in their former parties. In 2011, both LP and APGA had the PDP candidate as theirs also. Obi is likely to seek a ministerial appointment or any other position of influence before the elections.
Mimiko and Obi’s departure from their parties confirms the long-held view that Nigerian politicians are cash-and-carry. To them, principle is a strange word and none remains in opposition by choice. That was why the APP that ran neck to neck with the PDP in 1999 was whittled down by Olusegun Obasanjo in no distant time.
The current PDP chairman, Adamu Muazu, early this year said his party members were master poachers. He is right; he knows that every Nigerian politician has a price.
Next year’s elections – if they ever take place – will be a straight fight between the PDP and the APC.