The noisy remnants of the colossal failure of the incumbent President at the presidential polls of March 28, 2015 may have begun to make its last exit from the national political scene but the intrigues surrounding the embarrassing lose may have only begun to leak out to the public terrain. This is as information available, indicates the Deputy Director General of the Goodluck Jonathan presidential campaign organization – responsible for the operation in the south south and south east geopolitical zones in the person of Mr. Peter Obi is significantly responsible for the embarrassment suffered by President Jonathan on March 28, 2015.
As a caveat, shortly after the gubernatorial elections in Anambra State – that saw the victorious ascension of Willie Obiano of the All Progressive Grand Alliance [APGA] to the seat of governor – Mr. Peter Obi announced his decampment from the APGA to the Peoples Democratic Party [PDP] in a manner that saw the mighty chieftains of the PDP at his home Onitsha to receive him into the party. The decampment stole the headlines of many national news dailies and shocked many of the members of the APGA and those within PDP. Mr. Peter Obi had stated that he decided to join the PDP to help reelect President Jonathan. In return, the former governor of Anambra State under the APGA banner and now a PDP member was said to have been promised by President Jonathan a ministerial position – likely the Minister of Aviation – to replace the sacked Stella Odua. But the promise never materialized – largely owing to insistence by PDP chieftains from Anambra who threatened President Jonathan to drop the notion of appointing Mr. Peter Obi a minister from Anambra.
So as the preparations towards the presidential campaign fell into gear, and as President Jonathan set up his presidential campaign organization, Mr. Peter Obi was assigned in charge of the south east – and given the organizational title of deputy director general. Mr. Peter Obi became in charge of dissemination of resources and finances for all political activities within the said region – including on Election Day.
The beginnings of the betrayal by Peter Obi came when the Election Day plan was developed by a campaign team employed by the presidency to map out a strategy for victory at the polls. The campaign team was reported to comprise of former top officers of the Independent National Electoral Commission [INEC] and of the Nigerian intelligence community. The team’s primary responsibility included coercion of voters and INEC workers at the polling units on March 28, 2015 through heavy financial inducement.
A competent source conversant with the activities within the presidency revealed the strategy employed. Varying amounts of monies were earmarked for polling units across the country. For the south south and south east geopolitical zones – which the team marked as green states – were earmarked for N300,000 per polling unit – while the polling units in the north central zone – which were marked as grey states – were earmarked N500,000 per polling unit. The team had targeted having a significantly bumped up voter turnout rate in the three geopolitical zones of south south, south east, and north central – to outbalance the expected poll figures from the north west and north east geopolitical zones.
Through this effect, the sum of N27billion was earmarked for the south east and south south – and was remitted to the deputy director general – Mr. Peter Obi – through the instrumentality of the minister of petroleum resources, Mrs. Diezani Allison Madueke. The money was remitted by Diezani Allison Madueke.
But on Election Day, the south east states deliver enough votes for the President. Mr. Peter Obi, according to PDP chieftains who participated in Anambra elections on March 28, 2015, failed to distribute the money as agreed in the plan. Only N30,000 was distributed instead of the N300,000. For this reason, the INEC polling officials were not as willing to bump up the poll numbers as was done in 2011. The numbers registered at the south east polling units averaged at 550,000 to 660,000 for the PDP against an available voter’s strength that averages a little below 2,000,000 for each of the south east – equivalent to about 4,000,000 to 5,000,000 votes – enough to give the President the expected victory.
With the defeat of March 28, 2015, it became clear to many within the outer circles of the PDP of the betrayal that might have taken place. While the PDP stalwarts observed that the PDP senatorial and House of Representatives candidates were able to manipulate their results to an easy victory for the south east and south south states – the likes of Senator Andy Uba, Stella Odua and Uche Ekwunife – in Anambra State.
Some of the concerned PDP chieftains – the like of Arthur Eze and others – found the actions of Mr. Peter Obi as clear betrayal of the party and of their presidential candidate. He clearly pointed to Peter Obi as responsible for the failed execution of the planned strategy. He “kept the money” given to him. Other chieftains within the APGA in Anambra state who also supported President Jonathan’s reelection also found Mr. Peter Obi’s actions as betrayal. The Anambra State APGA chairman, Mike Kwento was unapologetically stern as he told 247ureports.com that Mr. Peter Obi had taken President Jonathan for a ‘419’ lesson. The national chairman of APGA was also unforgiving as he called Mr. Peter Obi as ‘gamester’ who seized on an opportunity to swindle the President.