PETER OBI: A SUCCESS STORY
It is popularly said that some are born great; some achieve greatness, while some have greatness thrust upon them. Governor Peter Obi of Anambra state is a rare combination of the three. His track record is not just exquisite but a model for effective governance. He encapsulates an embodiment of humility, and his selfless service to humanity is absolutely seamless. He is as focused as Christopher Columbus, as courageous as Nelson Mandela, as triumphant as Nnamdi Azikiwe, yet as simple as Mahatma Ghandi.
Born on the 19th of July 1961, Peter Obi attended Christ the King College where he completed his secondary school education. In pursuance of the golden fleece of knowledge, he went to the prestigious University of Nigeria, Nsukka for his tertiary education, where he bagged a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1984. Perhaps, a degree in philosophy helped to broaden his perspectives on issues and mould an impeccable character in him. From the word go, Peter Obi has always had an innate knack for business and the DNA of an entrepreneur. He became Chairman of Next International Nigeria Ltd, Chairman and Director of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Future views Securities Ltd and Chams Nigeria Ltd, to mention but a few. His sterling feats in the world of business confirms that Peter Obi is not your everyday politician, whose primary purpose for seeking electoral offices, is to amass wealth. In truth, he already had enough to take him a lifetime before his foray in politics.
His early days in politics were hallmarked by a myriad of upheaval and a battle for justice. Peter Obi first contested for the governorship elections in 2003 under the platform of the All Progressive Peoples Party (ANPP), but for the shenanigans of crude politicking, his rival, Chris Ngige was declared the winner of the polls. Like a dogged fighter he is, Obi challenged the daylight robbery in court and after three years of litigation, Ngige’s victory was overturned by the Court of Appeal on 15th March 2006. Obi assumed office two days later. However, the godfathers and the political forces that BE, diabolically devised a scheme that impeached him from power on the 2nd of November 2006, and installed his deputy, Virginia Etiaba. Again, Obi was not daunted by the blue murder. He returned to court and was reinstalled again on the 9th of February 2007. After the 2007 elections, Andy Uba assumed the governorship office, but Peter Obi was in court contending that his mandate was not over. On the 14th of June 2007, the Supreme Court upheld this stance. His second term began on the 7th of February 2010, after he humbled Professor Chukwuma Soludo at the polls. Without mincing words, Obi’s litany in politics was a case of standing up for what is right, irrespective of whose ox is gored. Perhaps, his biggest political achievement is in demystifying the sacred cows that held Anambra state to ransom hitherto his becoming governor. Not only has he shunned thuggery and politics devoid of morality, he has become an astute disciple against it. We all know of the infamous chronicle of Chris Uba and Chris Ngige. There were times when the state was ruled by the godfathers and kingpins, while political office holders were at the mercies of these immortal few. Today, the myth of godfatherism has been brought to its barest minimum, and the people’s voice has regained its spark.
Peter Obi came into governance at a time when the public had lost confidence in the educational structure in the state. From secondary schools to tertiary institutions, it was a case of maladministration and avarice. That trend has since been reversed by the governor. Not only are the schools now well equipped, the teachers are now better qualified and motivated in discharging their duties. As a way to ensure accountability and efficiency in the educational system, Peter Obi takes out time to visit schools on a monthly basis. Indeed, it is worth noting that Peter Obi cured a pandemic that was the order of the day in the educational sector. He returned schools taken for over 40 years away from the missionaries back to them, as a way of ensuring fairness and effectiveness.
The tide of transformation has also swept through the health institutions in the state. He has built over an astonishing 200 health centres in the state since he saddled the mantle of leadership. Today, state owned health institutions have gained accreditation and have been well furnished with state of the art facilities. The modernization of the Amaku General hospital which has been touted to be the first teaching hospital erected by a state government was Obi’s making. Same goes for the Umueri General hospital that was burnt and lost to the communal disturbances of 1995. A frugal and prudent manager of resources, despite meeting the coffers of the state in red, he has since transformed the economic fortune through his enviable economic agenda. Not only is the account of the state now in a healthy position, he has invested heavily and saved a lot without incurring foreign debts. Little wonder he was voted THISDAY Newspaper’s best governor on Public Finance Management.
It goes without saying that as a testimony to his sterling leadership he was made the chairman of the South-East Governors Forum, a position he led with unmitigated dexterity. The accolades and recognition that the governor has gotten since he assumed office is unbelievable. Peter Obi is another name for simplicity, but there is no weakness attached to his brand. In every one of the 21 local governments, projects worth billions have been carried out. In the area of Sport development, Peter Obi has been a pace setter. The mini stadia in both Onitsha North and South Local government have helped rekindled the spirit of sportsmanship in the state. Without exaggerating the bounds of reality, Peter Obi has been arguably the busiest governor in the country. As long as the issue concerns the people, he doesn’t know when to stop. His determination to deliver the dividends of democracy to the people of the state is not only unrivalled, but has become something of a sweet obsession for him.
Penultimately, words will not be adequate to fully quantify the sublime legacy of Governor Peter Obi. No doubt, he has etched his name in the annals of history. Long after he is no more, his footprints shall speak volumes and posterity will always summon courage from a life of undettered hard work, concerted convictions, unflinching courage, indelible strength and potent leadership that Peter Obi embodies. He shall remain a reference point for generations to come. For governor elect, Willie Obiano, he has a very large shoe to fill and indeed, Peter Obi is a tough act to follow. However, one can take solace in the fact that it is the hallmark of a good leader to naturally replicate himself through his successor.
Long live Peter Obi, the Okwute Ndigbo!
Long live Anambra state!!
Long live the Federal Republic of Nigeria!!!