Governor Willie Obiano of Anambra State has said the perception that his predecessor, Mr Peter Obi, made him governor is wrong.
He said this when he appeared on Channels Television’s Politics Today on Tuesday, shortly after he emerged the governorship candidate of the All Progressives Grand Alliance.
Asked how he expects to succeed in his reelection bid having reportedly fallen out with some of those who were key to his emergence as governor, including Peter Obi, he said it was up to God and not one man.
“First, it is God that makes the king. Again, let me also correct this impression; Peter (Obi), the former Governor, cannot on his own make me the governor if the former chairman of the party or the whole party did not agree. So, it is a wrong perception to think that one person can come and make you a candidate,” he said.
He, however, acknowledged that the former governor played a role in getting him elected.
“But having said that, he (Obi) helped us during the campaign, ran around and all those stuff, but I have established myself firmly through my performance and that is what people listen to.
“I don’t believe in Godfatherism and you can see how I played it out. I am a very straightforward, no-nonsense, very focused, very visionary leader and I don’t need to climb the back of anybody. My performance this past three-and-a-half years is stellar,” he added.
The emergence of the governor as the sole candidate of the party, which is witnessing a leadership tussle between Victor Oye and Martin Agbaso has not been without criticism.
Tuesday’s primary was organised by the Oye-led faction and saw the governor emerge as the party’s flag-bear having been the sole aspirant in the primary.
In a phone interview, also on Politics Today, factional APGA chairman Agbaso said the primary was unconstitutional.
“I always say that the key to unlocking Nigeria’s progress is the rule of law so you can say that what happened today is quite an abuse of the law and constitution of this country,” Agbaso said.
“The Supreme Court is very clear on this matter that only the National Working Committee of a party can conduct primaries into any office. Now the leadership of APGA as an order of court rests under my control, I am the Chairman of APGA.”
Governor Obiano, however, dismissed the claim, saying Agbaso is “a non-issue” and has no say in the activities of the party.
He said, “We have only one National Chairman and that chairman is Victor Oye; Agbaso is not a member of APGA so I am not worried about Agbaso at all. Agbaso is like a Nigerian going to the Republic of Benin to meet a judge to get a mandamus order to become the President of Ghana. That is what it is looking like and such things don’t work.”
“Agbaso is like a Nigerian going to the Republic of Benin to meet a judge to get a mandamus order to become the President of Ghana. That is what it is looking like and such things don’t work.”
Apart from the leadership tussle in the party, some critics of the governor have accused him of using his position to muzzle party members with similar ambition, in effect nullifying competition on the party’s platform.
This, according to them, is why the governor was unopposed in the primary.
But Governor Obiano said there is no truth to such talks.
“That is not correct; every due process was followed and people were given the opportunity to participate. But with my intimidating performance, you probably will expect that some people will be scared to pick the form. And that is exactly what happened. There is nothing like using my office to muzzle people from running. That is an unfortunate comment,” he said.
Several parties are expected to field candidates for the November 18 elections and the ruling All Progressives Congress will also be keen to win one of the South-East states.
Consequently, the election is expected to be closely contested. But having clinched his party’s ticket, Governor Obiano who described his performance in office as stellar is not willing to consider the possibility that he may have a fight on his hands.
“This is going to be one of the easiest election ever contested and I am going to win this election by a landslide. I don’t have anybody contesting with me,” he said.