Gov Peter Mbah: Still a Disruptive Innovator at 52

Gov Peter Mbah: Still a Disruptive Innovator at 52

By Louis Achi

Another year around the sun is always something to celebrate. And when an outstanding personality, a star, completes this existential course, there is even more reason to revel. Incidentally, a folk who cares little for mundane revelry achieved this milestone a few days ago.

He is His Excellency, Dr. Peter Ndubuisi Mbah, the governor of Enugu State. Dr. Mbah, who turned 52 on March 17, 2024, is significantly defined by his controlled kinetic energy. He also clearly revels in pushing new frontiers.

Governor Mbah, circumspect international maritime lawyer, suave business mogul-cum-key energy sector player, financial analyst, astute public administrator and philanthropist of note is an inimitable visioner and leader. Arguably powered by a quartet of forces – unique vision, an unrelenting drive to succeed, providence and careful planning, the ascendancy of the soft-spoken Mbah to the state, regional and national stages demonstrates the power of unrelenting focus and courage.

It’s no secret that today, Enugu State, Nigeria, Africa and the world stand on the brink of substantial disruptions – and of considerable opportunity – as new governance and business models challenge traditional playbooks.

As it were, only tested pathfinders with vision, knowledge and courage can provide the critical leadership to ensure both political stability and progression. And this is Governor Mbah’s forte where a disruptive environment meets a bold, focussed, disruptive innovator.

Today, at a vigorous 52 years of age, Governor Mbah is no less a child of providence. He wields political power and influence with alluring humility and exemplary focus. With his life’s trajectory, he has demonstrated that faith, law, business, administration, politics and philanthropy fundamentally address transformation of the human condition for good.

 The governor has also demonstrated that he is a personality and leader not swayed by extraneous emotionalism and parochial sentiments but one driven by principle. He has made it clear that he 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 stakeholders and policy makers, fluid operating environments and sure-footed action. These dimensions have been boldly mirrored in the nimble leadership of his several pacesetting entrepreneurial entities and most importantly, his sweeping political and development engagements in Enugu State currently and beyond.

Against this backdrop, it’s hardly surprising the disruption he has instigated to compel growth in Enugu State. With less than a year in the saddle as governor, Dr. Mbah has impacted four critical governance arenas. These include security, potable water, road infrastructure and education. A key component of altering the regressive narratives is by deploying disruption.

The exploitative sit-at-home scenario which bled the state and the region’s economy has been swept off and normalcy restored. Monday businesses have returned to their former status, tourism and adequate hospitality businesses are back and bubbling, normal nightlife has returned as well, while people can go about their Monday businesses and at night, sleep with their two eyes closed.

For over 20 years, Enugu State has had the problem of a lack of pipe-borne water.  But Governor Mbah  made a daring promise of giving water to Ndi Enugu within 180 days. He fulfilled this promise with practical and visible indices and pipe-borne water is now flowing in Enugu State.

On road infrastructure, within one year, Governor Mbah has awarded over 1000 kilometers of road in Enugu State, Enugu Urban is being transformed. Virtually all the roads within the city are undergoing constructions, rehabilitations and renovations according to its conditional demand with the COREN principle of quality assurance control.

According to Governor Mbah, “The 2024-2026 Multi-Year Budget is named Budget of Disruptive Economic Growth. This is because it is structured to drive growth in a markedly different pattern than we had attempted to do hitherto. This departure from the usual is most apparent in two main areas.

“First, our approach to basic education where we are bringing into effect our cut-off programme through the development of the 260 model schools to which I had earlier alluded. These schools are unique, not only in the fact that they will house the entire basic school classes from creche to JS3 but also in terms of the significant changes we are making to the curriculum of the children, where we will be infusing new subject areas like Technology, Robotics, Artificial Intelligence, to mention but three.”

It is a given that a powerful vision pulls in ideas, people and other resources. It creates the momentum and will to make change happen. It inspires individuals, diverse complementary organizations and institutions to commit, to persist and to give their best. Enlisting this enduring philosophy, the unassuming governor  has essentially changed the traditional narrative of governance in Enugu State, with barely a year in the saddle.

But who really is this youthful politician who has been thrust on the biggest stage of his development-hungry state?

Dr. 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 Law (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 hungry 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 his 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 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 pre-eminence 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 built 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 who has deservedly swept several prestigious newspaper awards for leadership and excellence this year, is happily married in a union blessed with children. He 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. 

Happy birthday to the disruptive innovator.

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