Peter Mbah: Seeking Enugu’s New Dawn

Louis Achi

Today, Nigeria and Africa stand on the brink of substantial disruptions – and of considerable opportunity – as new political and economic models challenge traditional templates. This gripping scenario also applies to Enugu State, an entity whose governance trajectory will indisputably impact the old Eastern Nigeria – for good or ill.

This is especially more so as the Covid-19 pandemic massively unsettled conventional political-economic playbooks and upended the global economy. Even as the recovery phase kicks in, only tested trailblazers with vision, knowledge and courage can provide the imperative cutting-edge leadership to ensure both stability and progression. And this is Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah’s forte.

Dr. Mbah, international maritime lawyer, business mogul-cum-key energy sector player, financial analyst, astute public administrator and philanthropist of note is the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governorship candidate for Enugu State, come the 2023 general election.
Arguably powered by a quartet of forces – unique vision, an unrelenting drive to succeed, providence and careful planning, the ascendancy of the soft-spoken Dr. Mbah to the state, regional and national stages provide a study in the imperative of unswerving perseverance and a strong belief in the possibilities of focussed human striving.  

For Mbah, a powerful vision pulls in ideas, people and other resources. It creates the momentum and will to make change happen. It inspires individuals, complementary organizations and institutions to commit, to persist and to give their best. Enlisting this enduring philosophy, the unassuming Enugu State politician has also deployed impeccable professionalism, discipline and persistence to change the traditional narrative in the triple arenas of his impactful engagements, thus far.

No less a child of providence who wields influence and authority with alluring humility and exemplary focus, the Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd boss has demonstrated with his life’s trajectory that law, business, public administrator, philanthropy and faith fundamentally address transformation of society and the human condition for good. To-date, he unabashedly maintains this unique footing.
The enthralling odyssey of Dr. Mbah’s life further validates the enduring wisdom that difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations. An unwavering sense of duty, rigorous training and firm professionalism, demonstrable integrity and almost a child-like faith in his beloved God form the navigational compass of his life story.

Dr. Mbah certainly is not the kind of professional who stays tamely at the receiving end of received policy prescriptions. He covets knowledge-driven innovations, proactive engagement with stake-holders, policy makers, fluid operating environments and sure-footed action. These dimensions have been boldly mirrored in the nimble leadership of his several pace-setting entrepreneurial entities.

His amiable, soft-spoken mien hides an inner steel that has enabled him create and grow an enviable entrepreneurial empire and rise to the top of his game. Up close, the vibrations of controlled energy are discernible and the sense of a man who has identified his life’s calling is palpable. But who really is this youthful politician who has been thrust on the biggest stage of his development-hungry state?

Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, born March 17 1972, hails from Owo in Nkanu East Local Government Area of Enugu State. A product of the Army Children’s School, Bori Camp, Port Harcourt, Rivers State, where he passed his First School Leaving Certificate with distinction, he subsequently gained admission into Owode High School, Owode Egba, Ogun State, where he obtained his Senior Secondary School Certificate in 1992.

Going forward, he left Africa for tertiary educational pursuits, graduating in Law at Uk’s University of East London (UEL), obtaining a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) degree, in the Upper-Class Division in 2000. While at the University of East London, he was elected President of the Students Law Society between 1998 and 1999.
From 1999 to 2000, Peter was Member, Students Representative Council of the UEL, as well as Member of the School of Law Board, where he represented the final year students. He won the first prize of the University of East London Mooting Competition and led the university’s team to the International Negotiation Competition. He was later called to the Nigerian Bar, having earned the Barrister-at-Law (BL) from the Nigerian Law School.

For his postgraduate studies, Dr. Mbah acquired a Master’s degree in Maritime and Commercial Law from the Lagos State University in 2004 and a Master’s degree in Business Administration from the IESE Business School, Barcelona, University of Navarra, Spain. He attended the Chief Executive Programme at the Lagos Business School, Post Graduate Diploma programme in Strategy and Innovation at the Saïd Business School, University of Oxford.
Always hungering after self-improvement, he attended numerous other executive programmes in leading business schools across the world, including the Stanford Business School and Harvard Business School.

Since graduation from the university, Dr. Mbah has distinguished himself in entrepreneurship and business innovation. Besides founding Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd., from an almost zero base-worth and nil reckoning in the corporate world, he sits atop the board and management of Pinnacle Pointers, a real estate and hospitality company. His business and professional interests traverse import trade, oil and gas sales and distributions, maritime logistics and public service.
A Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of numerous successful companies, he also sits on the boards of several establishments. Before Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd., he had earlier founded the Peter Mbah Investment Limited, a trading firm that served as the sole Nigerian representative to International Oil Corporation (IOC) based in Fresno, California, USA.

He also founded GILPEL Industries Ltd., a trading company involved in the import and sales of domestic electrical appliances, as well as Focus International Schools, a world-class Primary and Secondary school based in Lagos.
Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd. entered the Nigerian oil and gas industry in 2008 as a late entrant but has gained preeminence through revolutionizing petroleum product handling by significantly reducing costs and turn-around time of operations. The company’s ultra-modern Offshore Petroleum Products Intake and Off-take Facility in the Lekki Free Zone, Lagos, is the first of its kind in West Africa, boasting of one offshore mooring system and 300,000,000-ltr capacity of petroleum storage.

Pinnacle Oil and Gas Ltd. also operates another storage facility and jetty in Warri, as well as a fleet of trucks and a network of retail petroleum service stations with branches across the country.
Dr. Mbah’s first foray into public service was between 2003 and 2007 when he served first as the Chief of Staff in the administration of His Excellency, Dr. Chimaroke Nnamani, and subsequently as the Enugu State Commissioner for Finance and Economic Development. As a testament to the uncommon innovation he made in the state’s fiscal operations, the NewsWatch magazine’s special edition of July 3rd, 2006, aptly described him as “a man ahead of his time”.

He is also the founder of Peter Mbah Foundation (PMF), a non-profit, non-political, humanitarian-oriented organization aimed at improving healthcare and standards of living in rural communities. PMF has since developed a 40-bed hospital in Enugu State, built several kilometers of rural roads, defrayed hospital bills for countless patients in hospitals across the country and funded the education of numerous students through the Foundation’s scholarship programme. He is also a member of the Governing Council of Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu.

Dr. Mbah, happily married in a union blessed with children, is a Fellow of the Certified Institute of Public Administration and Management, (CIPM), a member of the Nigerian Institute of International Affairs and the Nigerian Bar Association (NBA), and holds an honorary Doctorate degree in Political Science from the Godfrey Okoye University, Enugu. He is a member of the Lagos Yacht Club and the Enugu Sports Club.  

Dr. Mbah opens a chink into his thoughts on leadership in a recent paper he delivered on September 24, 2022 at the MEDRHUS Leadership Forum 2022, held at the Justice Mary Odili Moot Court, Faculty of Law, University of Nigeria, Enugu Campus (UNEC), Enugu State.
He contrasts three types of leadership: transactional, transformational and transcendental leadership. On transactional leaders he stated that they “Engage with their followers strictly based on economic influence, relying on reward or punishment to motivate their team members. However, this style of leadership is generally unable to deliver any revolutionary growth or any performance outside what is contractually agreed.”

According to him, transformational leaders tend to be more visionary and charismatic than the transactional leaders but noted that this style of leadership is prone to becoming selfish or narcissistic whereby the leader becomes carried away and builds the vision around himself. He however stressed that authentic transformational leadership would involve the leader being guided by ethics.

Transcendental leadership, according to him, “involves leaders who go even further to motivate their team members with not only reward and punishment, professional learning and capacity development, but also with the promise of satisfying real needs of individuals, groups or societies in general.
“These leaders tend to be servant leaders and therefore tend not to restrict the authority of leadership at the topmost level. By this willing delegation of powers, they therefore tend to be better at developing new leaders within their teams.” It’s anyone’s guess at his preferred leadership model from the distinctions he offered.

Today, clearly aware of the challenges ahead, he heeded the call to serve the people of his home state of Enugu as governor come 2023. He was subsequently elected in a landslide as the governorship candidate of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the primary election held in Enugu on May 25, 2022.
To transform Enugu State and align it with the human development imperatives of the 21st Century certainly requires an organisational cultural transformation, especially in a milieu that has long been driven by traditional metrics. More, it requires bold, game-changing leadership. Dr. Mbah is ready and raring to go.
Significantly, Dr. Mbah’s tasks have perhaps been made easier with the considerable development grounds Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuany has covered.

Related Articles