In Praise of Peter Obi


There is little doubt that the choice of ex-governor Peter Obi, by the Waziri of Adamawa, Atiku Abubakar, has elicited unwarranted and hate commentaries from different parts of Nigeria and beyond.
While the greater number of the commentators favour the former two-term Anambra State governor, the Biblical thesis that no prophet is with honour in his home front has, however, played out. This is exemplified by the negative disposition of some people who, like Peter Obi, hail from the South East region of our country.

Speaking in the wake of Obi’s announcement as Atiku Abubakar’s running mate, the Governor of Ebonyi State (a PDP chieftain) and current chairman of South East East Governors’ Forum (a position which Obi himself had held while on the driving seat of Anambra State) argued that the PDP Presidential candidate should have asked the South East Governors’ Forum to pick a running mate for him instead of directly going for Peter Obi.

While one would not digress into whether or not the choice of a running mate is the prerogative of a Presidential candidate or governorship aspirant, one would rather take a peep into the persona of Peter Obi – his pedigree; how he governed Anambra State for eight years; his suitability for the job ahead; whether he left the state in a better condition than he met it or not, etc.

Compared to his fellow men and women from the South East geo-political zone (a zone which parades an array of star-studded professionals), what are Peter Obi’s competitive features? It is common knowledge that there are brands and there are brands. There are several things that make the Agulu-born Anambra State PDP Vice-Presidential candidate thick!

An expose of candidate Peter Obi shows that he is a rare gem. At the risk of deifying this human being, he is at once a ‘Solomon”, a Socrates, a Warren Buffet, a Bill Gates and a Mao Tse Tung and (nearer home) a rare combination of Zik of Africa and the Doyen of Western Nigeria politics, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, among several other things.
Peter Obi is not a subject for a brief narrative – a short documentary, for he cannot, repeat cannot be properly and adequately dissected because of temporal as well as spatial challenges herein.

A tip of the iceberg will however suffice in the interim. Check out these commentaries from just five referees: the Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Saad Abubakar who had as a soldier, served in Nsukka where Obi was an undergraduate at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. The Sultan sees Obi as “a visionary leader. His sustained commitment to the socio-economic transformation of the state remains a source of hope and strength to all of us. His energy and wisdom, his tolerance and accommodation and his people – centred development programmes are being appreciated even beyond the borders of Anambra State.”
In the words of the former European Union Ambassador to Nigeria, David Macrae, European Union has always emphasized on proper management of money, that’s why it’s important to have people of high integrity like Peter Obi.” The former Primate of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), Most Rev. Peter Akinola concurs with him in describing Obi as “a special gift from God and should be celebrated for his passion for the people of the state, his commitment to good governance, provision of basic things of life such as good roads, water and health and education facilities among others.”

Similarly, the former World Bank Director in Nigeria, Omo Ruhl sees him as “an exceptional leader and very prudent in financial management and I believe his interest is to better the lots of his people which to my mind is very remarkable.” For Evelyn Oputu, former Managing Director and CEO Bank of Industry Peter Obi was the first governor on assumption of office to approach the Bank of Industry for collaboration to create job opportunities for the people of the state. He understands the dynamics of the economy.

But a cynic or an arm – chair critic may ask: “is he then an angel?” Far from him to be one. Indira Ghandi was not an Angel; Lee kuan Yew of Singapore is not an angel! J.F. Kennedy was not one and several other World’s states men were/are not angels, yet they were able to turn around their countries.

In fact, humanity and angelic dispositions are antithetical to each other. They are mutually exclusive to the extent that angels and humans operate in different worlds in a variety of ways.

But it is trite to state that some human beings have some near-angelic qualities. Peter Obi is one such human being. Therefore, he has some angelic attributes. This speaks correctly to syllogism (Logic).

The critical question, therefore, goes thus: Is Peter Obi qualified to be Nigeria’s Vice President? The answer is a capital “YES”.

This is because he is a politician’s politician. By the way, what is politics about? Is it not about service, altruism, patriotism, etc? A good politician should, among other things, be articulate, humane, transparent and a man of integrity and hard work. He should be well learned, humble (not arrogant), prudent (not ostentatious and extravagant), business-like and proactive (not reactive), sensitive (not non-responsive), a wealth-creator and thorough – bred professional (not a sycophant without a day-time job), a workaholic (not an alcoholic), etc. Peter Obi is all these and much more.
––Eziokwu Nwachukwu , Abuja