By Okey Enekwe
I was afraid earlier that our people from Southeast would not support Atiku's running mate and our brother, former Governor of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi.
With the help of God, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and Presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party is the next President of Nigeria, come next month. The indicators are very high now.
I was delighted that despite the odds, the Southeast People's Democratic Party (PDP) has reaffirmed its strong support for the candidacy of Alhaji Atiku Abukakar and Mr. Peter Obi.
The party did not stop there but went ahead to warn those that are out to sabotage their efforts to beware of the wrath of the people. This has brought some fresh air to my lungs because sabotage from home is suicidal. It is like a household enemy.
The Zonal chairman of the party, Deacon Austin Umahi, declared that “The South East PDP will aggressively give all their support to the victory of the party in the Southeast.
“Alhaji Abubakar has verifiable records. Mr. Peter Obi's performance in Anambra State is there for everybody to see. Nobody is more qualified than both of them among other presidential candidates.
“Hold me by my words. You will now see a different dance step that will tell other parties that they have no place in the Southeast. Every stakeholder must go and deliver his polling booth.”
This message sank because before now, some people were giving a right traffic light but were busy turning left, heading for a collision but now PDP, by God's grace, shall get it right. PDP members have agreed without compulsion to deliver the party in the 2019 general elections. And so it shall be.
Again, my close encounter with Peter Obi during last Christmas festivities revealed a lot. Peter Obi is loved by Ndigbo and he is our next Vice President by God's grace. Left for me, God has remembered Ndigbo for the actualization of restructuring and end to marginalization. We can count on Peter on this because he has the ears of the PDP presidential candidate. And Ohaneze Ndigbo wants restructuring, and that they shall get from Atiku and Obi joint ticket.
I speak so convincingly because I followed Peter to almost all his campaigns and engagements throughout the Christmas period and I saw things for myself. Those we read were against his candidacy told him point blank that they were supporting him and vowed to assist in every way possible to mobilize their own constituency and beyond for Atiku/Obi joint ticket. Some counter moves by those suspected to be working against Atiku/Obi joint ticket may be for political exigencies in the interim. Let's hold them by their words that they would deliver Atiku/Obi.
I joined the campaign team and PDP VP, Obi, to his private and public engagements, including reception for former President Olusegun Obasanjo at Ukpor, Anambra State, to Ebonyi, Enugu, Imo and Abia States and back to Anambra State on a daily basis. Now, I am happy Atiku picked Obi because none of the politicians would be able to appeal to the consciences of our Igbo brothers to a level of genuflecting for emphasis for peace to be in our party like Obi.
He has won the hearts of many PDP members who were said to be against him before now.
I was not told by anyone the story of the Interdenominational service and reception by our party, the People's Democratic Party, PDP, at Emmaus House Awka, Anambra State.
Before that event, I was afraid Mr Peter Obi, Okwute Ndigbo, had no strong support from PDP stakeholders in not only Anambra State, but the Southeast. But I was wrong as over 20,000 Anambrarians from the 21 local government areas of the state and beyond converged on Emmaus House unsolicited in solidarity.
The mammoth crowd at the venue before my very eyes spilled over the massive field of the large Emmaus complex. The crowd surged out of the gates into the streets of Arthur Eze Avenue. The event planned by the Presidential campaign team in Anambra, led by Dr Harry Ohanezi, was supposed to be a PDP affair, but it saw people coming from even beyond Anambra State and from across all the parties in solidarity for the choice of Peter Obi.
Indeed, that outing summed up Mr. Peter Obi truly as a phenomenon that should not be confined within the restriction of parties. Everyone at the event believed Nigeria was in trouble and needed a consummate and tested economist like Mr. Peter Obi to support a confirmed leader like Atiku Abubbakar to restore it to the path of progress and development.
I saw the senatorial candidate of PDP Anambra South, Chief Chris Uba, with hundreds of his supporters in solidarity against the notion outside that Uba wasn't supporting Obi. So were so many others. Candidates and party chieftains across party, including Chief Hygers Igwebike, Yul Edochie, former PPA Leader in Anambra and chairman of Orient Newspaper, Mr Godwin Ezeemo, and chairman of Reformed APGA, Hon Azubike Iloh, who led over 10,000 supporters to join PDP attended.
Other PDP bigwigs who attended the event included Sen. Uche Ekwunife whose supporters turned out in hundreds, Chief Osita Chidoka, Hon. Chu Chu Onyema, Hon. Gabriel Onyenwife, Hon. Chris Azubogu, and my own Oga and brother, Chief Okey Ezeibe, who has stood strong behind Obi right from day one of his nomination to mention but a few.
Mr. Oseloka Obaze, PDP's flag bearer in the 2017 Anambra governorship election spoke pointedly when he said only the likes of Peter Obi in a position of authority could redefine the country.
Obaze said: “We live in times of fracture and fear, national interest and our collective march for the future of the people of the state. We are here because the ruling APC has ruined the country. Nigeria needs a purposeful and tested leadership capable of confronting the problems of our time – unemployment, acute hunger, mindless borrowing, fractured economy, among others. We are here to receive a leader, Mr. Peter Obi, who has the capacity to restore Nigeria to its past glory.”
Senator Ben Obi, former running mate of Buhari, was disgusted with the rate of killings in the country and said that the only way to stop the atrocities and misgovernment going on in Nigeria was by voting out the APC and voting in the PDP joint ticket of Atiku and Obi.
Senator Obi reviewed Mr. Peter Obi's previous positions and concluded that Obi had all the qualities required to help Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to restore the glory of Nigeria.
The PDP chairman in Anambra State, Chief Ndubisi Nwobu, Obuka Awka, recalled the unfulfilled promises of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) during electioneering campaigns in 2015, including making the naira one to a dollar, reduction in the cost of food items, stoppage of importation of refined petroleum products, among others and concluded it was time to vote out APC since not one of those promises was delivered. He appealed to Ndigbo to deliver Peter Obi for Atiku in Southeast as their own bargain for the 2019 general elections.
The PDP Vice Presidential Candidate, who was at the event with his wife, Margaret Peter-Obi, thanked the people of the state for such unprecedented reception accorded him. He said his mission was to assist the party's presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, in restoring sanity to the country by re-creating a country where unemployment would be tackled, jobs created, infrastructure provided and the economy rebuilt.
Obi also dispelled rumours that some leaders of the party in the Southeast Zone were working against the party in the forthcoming presidential election.
He insisted that the leaders of the party in Southeast and all the members were working as one family.
His words: “Let me tell you all that PDP in the Southeast are working as one family, and when the votes are turned in, you will all see it. We are working as one family.”
He reiterated that under the present government, Nigeria and her citizens had suffered greatly, promising that as vice president, he would ensure that major roads in the region were completed as against the propaganda being peddled by the All Progressives Congress (APC) government.
The Bishop of Awka Diocese, Anglican Communion, Bishop Alex Ibezim, who led other church leaders to the interdenominational service, prayed for Obi and his wife, against any form of attacks ahead of the elections.
Bishop Ibezim described Peter Obi as a servant leader, noting that only servant leaders could salvage Nigeria.
“We lack leaders like Nehemiah. Nehemiah served in the king's palace, but didn't take pay for the work he did. We need leaders like that but they are fast disappearing in Nigeria. We must pray to God to give us God-fearing leaders through this election.
“Nehemiah was comfortable in the king's palace, but he was more concerned about the welfare of the people of Jerusalem. Nigeria is characterized by war, hunger, and all manner of afflictions. All politicians here must know that and work to redeem the country,'' he said.
The party received and presented PDP flags to new entrants, including Mr Godwin Ezeemo, Yul Edochie and Hygers Igwebuike who were accompanied by their supporters.
This outing confirms Obi is at home in Anambra State and Southeast at large against pockets of opposition from people he even made. The Southeast is solidly behind the Atiku/Obi joint ticket and the election results shall confirm this.
Hon Okey Enekwe, former chairman, Orumba North LGA, Anambra State, writes from Awka.