Chief Jim Nwobodo, former Governor of old Anambra State says he left the All Progressives Congress for the Peoples Democratic Party to toe the line already taken by Ohaneze Ndigbo.
Nwobodo, a onetime senator and Sports Minister, announced his return to PDP at a ceremony in his Amechi Awkunanaw country home in Enugu on Friday.
According to him, I have no option than to toe the line already taken by Ohaneze Ndigbo when they had genuine worry about the fate of Ndigbo in Nigeria.
He said: “As you can see, they are here today in a larger number, after their meeting with Ohaneze.
“It is difficult for me to ignore their call and turn my back on them when they have a genuine worry about the fate of Igbos in Nigerian polity.
“I will do the same for any other zone that feels excluded because I am a true Nigerian in all sense of it.”
Nwobodo said he could not pretend that all was well in the country today with the escalating crisis, ranging from the economy, insecurity, tension among the three arms of government comprising executive, legislature and judiciary.
He decried the existence of divisions along tribal and religious lines, and different militant groups arising from the hues and cries of marginalization.
Nwobodo said: “What we are seeing are symptoms of deep rooted issues that should be brought to the table for discussions on how to address them.
“I am a democrat and a strong believer in democracy. Those of us who claim to be democrats have a duty to tell the president the truth and advise him appropriately.
“I was born in Lafia, spent my childhood and my early education there. Thereafter, I moved to Kafanchan in Kaduna state, where I had part of my education before going to University of Ibadan and thereafter taught at Kings College Lagos.
“From Kings College, I went to work for Shell BP in Port Harcourt. I have friends and relationships across all parts of Nigeria.
“As a governor, I worked hard to reconcile the late Dr Nnamdi Azikiwe and the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who had not sat together since after 1952 as a result of their political difference.
“I succeeded in bringing the two great leaders of blessed memory to my private residence in Enugu and they sat together, had lunch and discussed at length.
“Thereafter they communicated and attended political meetings and rallies together under the Progressive alliance we had in the second republic.”
Nwobodo said at this stage in his life, he saw himself more as an elder statesman than a partisan politician and spoke from the standpoint.
He recalled that he had served the country both at the state and the federal level and in the course of his political journey from second republic till date, had his fair share of ups and downs.
He said: “I made mistakes and learned from my mistakes, I have learned a lot from my experiences and feel qualified to speak on burning issues confronting us as a nation.
“My expectation had been to see an inspiring new hope and values for the younger generation of leaders in our country.
“But a situation where current leaders of political parties and public office holders disparage former presidents and former leaders in the media shows we have learnt nothing from history.
“Is that how we intend to groom and mentor the “not too young to run” and prepare them to take over the mantle of leadership?”
The News Agency of Nigeria reports that Nwobodo was a founding member of the PDP in 1998 but had left the party shortly after it lost power to APC in 2016.
Nwobodo was welcomed back by prominent PDP chieftains including Prof Alphonsus (ABC) Nwosu, Senator Ben Obi, Chief Simeon Okeke and Oseloka Obazee.