Victor Umeh acknowledges Peter Obi’s support in his political resurgence, writes Pat Onukwuli

The sleepy town of Aguluzigbo, where time seems to move at its own restful pace and the hustle and bustle of city life gives way to serene tranquillity, hosted the crème de la crème on Easter Monday at the instance of one of its noteworthy sons. Senator Victor Umeh OFR (Ohamadike Ndigbo), whose presence resonates far beyond the town’s boundaries, offered a Thanksgiving Ceremony for his victory in the 2023 Senatorial Elections. The Parish Church of Saint Patrick’s, where the event took place, suddenly elevated from mundane to sublime, and its ordinarily quiet sanctuary transformed into a pastoral grandeur, with a Cardinal, a Metropolitan See, and the Local Ordinary presiding. His Eminence, Peter Cardinal Ebere Okpalaeke, the Archbishop of Onitsha Ecclesiastical Province, His Grace, Most Rev. Valerian Maduka Okeke, the Bishop of Awka Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Paulinus Ezeokafor, as well as the Bishop of Nnewi Diocese, His Lordship, Most Rev. Jonas Benson Okoye (represented) concelebrated with over two hundred priests and members of the religious community in attendance.

The awe-inspiring list of elites in attendance included three former Governors of Anambra State, Mr Peter Obi (former presidential candidate and Leader of the Labour Party), Senator Chris Nwabueze Ngige (former Governor, Senator of Anambra Central, and Minister of Labour) and Dame Virgy Etiaba (Mama Anambra). Also in attendance were members of the National Assembly, including Senator Tony Nwoye, Senator Osita Izunaso, Senator Kelvin Chukwu, Hon. George Ozodinobi, Hon. Lilian Oby Orogbu, Hon. Uchenna Harris Okonkwo, Hon. Aniekwe Peter Udogalanya, Hon. Idu Emeka Obiajulu, and Hon. Dom Okafor as well as numerous others.

Umeh, who has come to be associated with the long red cap that portrays him as a wise wizard who casts spells of persuasion and charm upon his audience, was not wearing it on this occasion. Even if he had wanted to, he could not because he was within the hallowed church precincts. This reality depicted him as human, vulnerable, and exposed, like a knight without the shining armour. This apparent vulnerability gave him grace in gratitude and strength, like a mighty oak tree standing tall amid a storm, its branches swaying in the wind but its roots firmly anchored in the earth. This stature of defencelessness made his speech powerful and authentic, and it resonated with the audience, who connected with empathy and intermittently gave thunderous acclamation.

 Accordingly, in an emotional and expressive speech, he first thanked God for saving and reviving his political career, which he thought was over as some elements in his former political party, All Progressive Grand Alliance, scuppered his ambition. His gratitude to God was more than a perfunctory acknowledgement; it was a heartfelt recognition of the faithfulness and goodness that had sustained him through the trials and tribulations of political life. In the face of setbacks and challenges, he found solace in knowing that he was not alone and that a higher power was watching over him and guiding his steps. 

Umeh reminds us of the importance of humility and faith amid success by praising God at the forefront of his remarks. His words are a powerful testimony to the enduring belief that there is always hope and redemption in God’s grace, even in the rough seas of politics. Next was his gratitude to the clergy who prayed for him, which was like a gentle breeze, refreshing and comforting in its sincerity. 

In extending his thanks, he acknowledged the profound impact of their prayers, recognising the spiritual support they provided during his time of need. Just as a beacon of light guides sailors through darkness, so too did their prayers offer guidance and solace, illuminating his path and offering strength in moments of uncertainty. His gratitude was not merely a polite gesture, but a heartfelt acknowledgement of the profound connection between faith and resilience, reminding us of the power of collective prayer to uplift and sustain us in times of trial. However, the crescendo of his speech was a heartfelt outpouring of gratitude towards Mr Peter Obi, whom he described as his political saviour. This moment resonated with genuine emotion and profound appreciation. With every word, he painted a vivid portrait of how Obi’s support and guidance were instrumental in his political resurgence, illuminating their profound impact on his life and career. 

Umeh insisted that Obi was like a lighthouse in the darkness, which had provided guidance and direction, leading him through the labyrinth of his recent political minefields. His profuse thanks were more than mere words; they testified to his gratitude and the magnitude of the political debt he owed Obi. Umeh acknowledged that Obi’s reputation was the bedrock upon which he rebuilt his political campaign and secured victory. He illuminated the profound impact of their partnership and the unwavering support that Obi had provided throughout his recent political journey. Acknowledging that his reconciliation and reunion with Obi were pivotal developments in his political career, he illuminated the transformative power of forgiveness, reconciliation, and collaboration. By setting aside past differences and coming together once again with Obi, he demonstrated a willingness to prioritise the greater good over personal grievances, paving the way for a renewed sense of unity and purpose in his political endeavours.

In reuniting with Obi, he not only healed old wounds but also opened the door to new opportunities for growth and progress, harnessing the strength of their partnership to overcome obstacles and achieve common goals. He insisted that their reconciliation was a turning point in his career, symbolising a break from the divisiveness and discord of the past and a commitment to building a future based on cooperation and mutual respect. Their reunion sends their supporters and constituents a powerful message, signalling a united front and a shared commitment to service. Standing together again, he and Obi can reaffirm their dedication to integrity, collaboration, and service, inspiring confidence and rallying support from all quarters.

Their collaboration is likened to the one between the Greek gods Apollo and Ares, representing a dynamic fusion of intellect, strength, wisdom, and courage, shaping the course of governance and inspiring people to greatness. As Apollo, the god of truth and prophecy, Obi embodies the ideals of knowledge, wisdom, and inspiration and serves as a beacon of clarity and foresight. On the other hand, Umeh typifies Ares, the god of battle, revered as a fearsome warrior whose presence instils courage and bravery in his allies and strikes fear into the hearts of his enemies. Together, they form a formidable team. Apollo provides guidance and inspiration, while Ares lends strength and courage to the fray. While conflict may sometimes be inevitable, a partnership offers a more constructive and mutually beneficial approach to addressing differences, achieving goals, and building more robust, more resilient communities and organisations. 

By embracing collaboration as a guiding principle, individuals and groups can harness the power of unity and cooperation to create positive change and achieve shared success. Ultimately, Umeh’s acknowledgement of Obi indicated the power of relationships and collaborations. It is the apogee of gracious gratitude, a moment of genuine humility. However, beyond its immediate implications, Umeh’s gesture of appreciation is a powerful reminder of the inherent decency and humanity that politics can produce, even amid heated campaigns and contentious debates. It reminds us that, at its core, politics should be more than just winning and losing; it should be about forging connections, building relationships, and working together towards a shared vision of progress and prosperity.

 Onukwuli PhD writes from Bolton, UK via

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