Peter Obi’s Strategic deflection from APGA to PDP: The Anatomy of the Political kinesis

ex-Gov. Peter Obi

ex-Gov. Peter Obi

By Emeka Chiakwelu

First and foremost, former Governor Obi is has the right and privilege as
a citizen of Federal Republic of Nigeria to switch to another party and
associate with any organization or entity provided that he is not
violating the constitutional law of the land.

There is no doubt that Obi is a strategist, realist and pragmatist. He
knows when to stay put, when to go along and when to let go. In the lyrics
of the song – “Gambler” by Kenny Rogers: “If you’re gonna play the game,
boy. You gotta learn to play it right. You’ve got to know when to hold
’em. Know when to fold ’em. Know when to walk away. Know when to run.”
Surely, Obi is ingenious master of Nigerian politics.

When he deflected from his former party APGA to the ruling national party
PDP, most people were not puzzled or surprised because it was anticipated
for the writing was on the wall. Obi’s long time association with
President Jonathan and public kinship with PDP were testaments that
buttressed his affinity for PDP.

But there are still adamant few and some true believers in APGA that never
expected his swerved to PDP. Those are the sentimental, emotional and
ardent ones that do not comprehend the concept of a political party and
true meaning of politics.

Politics is about interest – a commonality with collective vision and
ideology. This implies that in a free society with embedded ability of
free association in which Nigeria is supposedly orbiting, every citizen is
entitle to free association and free assembly which are the centrality
of democracy. Therefore Obi throwing his cap for PDP must be organically
accepted.

APGA is more or less a one party state and for an ambitious politician
with a national outlook, the party is quite limiting. This by no means
makes APGA a less desirable entity or takes anything away from its
functionality. What it really means that it much difficult to be elected
in a national position with considerable national implications. Therefore
Obi decision was rooted on prudency and effective calculus that can
potentially open a door to a national ambition.

When The Great Ikemba Ojukwu came back from exile, he was expected to join
Dr. Nnamdi Azikiwe’s Nigerian Peoples Party (NPP) but he by-passed it for
a party with a national disposition and joined National Party of Nigeria,
NPN. Despite the attraction of NPP, Ojukwu knew that he can make his
greatest impact with a national party. While it was difficult to say no to
the greatest Nigerian politician and patriot Rt. Honorable Zik of Africa,
the only true national leader Nigeria has ever produced, notwithstanding,
Ojukwu planted his flag with NPN.
In United States of America switching party as they called it, is quite
common and ubiquitous. Ronald Regan, Hillary Clintons and many others did
it.

“Ronald Reagan. Reagan was also originally a Democrat and a New Deal
supporter, who became a union leader while in Hollywood. He switched
parties officially in 1962 and gave a famous quote: “I didn’t leave the
Democratic Party. The party left me.”

Hillary Clinton. In 1964, a very young Hillary Rodham Clinton was one of
the Goldwater Girls who campaigned for the Arizona Republican. She
officially became a Democrat later in the 1960s after she attended the
1968 GOP convention.” (NCC)

Changing party or switching party is a bellwether that democracy is active
and functional. When a party member feels that the party’s dialogue and
philosophy have become contrary to his perspective and dispositions, he
has the constitutional right to move on and identify with those he chose
to be called political comrades. And such a development is healthy for
the country’s polity, provided no law of the land was breached or
compromised.

“There are a number of reasons that an elected official, or someone
seeking office, might choose to switch parties. One reason is ethical
obligation: the person has views are no longer aligned with those of the
current party.

A second reason is to gain powers and influences. The incumbent may be a
member of the minority party in a legislature and would like to gain the
advantages of being in the majority party, such as the potential to chair
a committee. A disaffected incumbent who might not hold a leadership
position or feels ignored or mistreated by the majority party might join
the minority party with the expectation of holding a leadership position
in the minority party and if currently elected, having the complete
support of the minority party for re-election, who would certainly want to
have more elected officials in their ranks.” (Wikipedia)

In case for Obi he is not currently holding any elected office, therefore
his departure maybe to seek national contacts that may enable him to run
for the office of presidency after President Jonathan ends his second term
in 2019. This is all speculation for it is only Obi that knows why he
chose to join the PDP.

This point must be clearly driven home; Peter Obi is not a property of any
ethnic group or political party in Nigeria. He is a citizen and
politician; therefore he is entitled to make his choices be it political,
economic or otherwise. But whatever the case might be, Obi has made his
decision and politics will never remain same.

Emeka Chiakwelu, Principal Policy Strategist at AFRIPOL. His works have
appeared in Wall Street Journal, Huffington Post, Forbes and many other
important journals around the world. His writings have also been cited in
many economic books, publications and many institutions of higher learning
including tagteam Harvard Education. Africa Political & Economic Strategic
Center (AFRIPOL) is foremost a public policy center whose fundamental
objective is to broaden the parameters of public policy debates in Africa.
To advocate, promote and encourage free enterprise, democracy, sustainable
green environment, human rights, conflict resolutions, transparency and
probity in Africa. info@afripol.org http://www.afripol.org

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