By Chibunna K. Esedo
He is no less a child of providence, wielding influence with alluring humility and exemplary focus. He has spoken and continues to speak to both regional and national uncertainties and fears with courage and conviction. He has demonstrated with his life’s trajectory that business, politics and philanthropy fundamentally addresses transformation of the human condition for good. To-date, he unabashedly maintains this unique philosophy and footing.
Little wonder, the famous American poet and essayist Maya Angelou observed that, “Nothing can dim the light that shines from within.” Angelou’s captivating insight into the existential challenges that confront great personalities fundamentally captures the life story of Nigeria’s storied businessman turned politician, the former governor of Anambra State and the PDP Vice-presidential candidate in 2019 general elections and foremost humanist – Mr Peter Onwuabuasi Obi, CON, fondly called the Rock – Okwute..
As he turns 60 today, his high vision of humanity and deep belief in Nigeria, quest for justice and positively impacting society have grown even bigger.
The enthralling odyssey of Mr Peter Obi further goes to validate the enduring wisdom that the human journey guided by faith often leads to beautiful destinations. An unwavering sense of loyalty and duty, rigorous professionalism, stern discipline, demonstrable integrity and almost a child-like faith in his beloved God had activated and enlisted those mysterious principles that guide progress.
He is a man who till this day stands out, having introduced decency and discipline into Nigerian political landscape, who broke ranks and has raised the bar as regards leadership where upon he met a State overtaken by crime, held down by huge debts and pensions of workers and retirees respectively, plus an abysmal fail on governance as well as leadership, he performed sterlingly well to leaving billions in naira and millions in dollars to his predecessor and not handing down billions of debts as many do.
No doubt, some were born great, some achieve greatness and a chunk percentage have greatness bestowed upon them. Here is a man who his conception and birth last sixty years must have been welcomed into the Obi family in Agulu community as a greatnews, making his birth a great one. Ahead, he had assiduously worked so hard into achieving greatness. He is a perfect representation of one true persona, who greatness, going by his being, works and variant successes in various fields stands him out as one who has greatness bestowed upon him.
Love him or hate him, rounded at the altar of truth as determining factor, even his greatest critic would concur that this very man introduced decency into the political space of the Nigerian nation state. He is one man who cares, knows and understands the place of integrity. He is no chalatan, no noisemaker and not in, to intimidate any person. Even as a Governor, the atmosphere wasn’t ever polluted with noise from siren of convoys and his motorcade wasn’t a chain of dozens of luxury sedans or other wonders on wheels. He also never ran an army of aides or invested in champagne puffing style.
Obi is one pointer of a diversified being in many fronts. In business, in management and in public service. In family tree, in the religious circle, to his community and the general populace, he is a true epitome who is worthy of emulation. In many fields, Peter Obi is just too good and have bountifully excelled. He was a very successful and established enterprenuer even before his entrant into politics. In Nigeria of today, if in truth, ten richest Nigerians are mentioned and Obi is skipped, then the record is coming from either an uninformed, a non-serious or a plain hater, just as simple as that!
He is a man who godfathers teamed up and his mandate was truncated and stolen. Being a man of great epitome, he patiently went through the judicial process to reclaim same. He was wrongfully impeached and was later reinstated. The peak of his tumoil was that at a point, while he was still serving, a kangaroo election was held and he was made to vacate the Government house and loudge, again the judiciary system brought back the man to office. He went ahead making history as the first Governor to serve a two term tenure in the state and went also to handing power over to his party man. Infact, following his travails as Anambra State Governor, it is safe to assert that Peter Obi is more of a cat with nine lives..
While he served Anambra State, he gave in his time, talent and treasure for the general good of his home state and her people. The hallmark of his governance was bringing Anambra State to a glorious light and out of the dark ages where the state was home for all activities and roundly known for wrongs or bads. He worked so hard to set a standard, a clear pedestal that every Nigerian politician of substance respects him for those, even till this day.
While serving as Anambra State Governor, he brought down the cost of Governance to it’s first ever lowest minimum of all times. His humility was next to none. His cool-headedness was model-like. His carraige was plain simplicity. His person was a true-father figure. And for the records, he built the first ever stock exchange in the entire South East of Nigeria at the ever busy business hub of Onitsha. He built a standard and first ever State Secretariat complex and as well, housing unit for top Government officials particularly, those in the Judiciary system. He provided official vechicles for all top Government officials, including Directors, making him the first Nigerian Governor to extend that gesture to those. He built a university teaching Hospital. He built a digital library. He built and fully equipped the state general hospitals.
Obi didn’t stop there. His concentration in the education sector was the climax, returning schools to her original owners, the church and funding them too. In security, he provided all towns, markets and unions with security vans. In road construction, following the lead of his predecessor, Chris Ngige, he built upon that, it is a known record that till this day, Anambra remains the state in Nigeria with the highest or easiest intra state road network. Nomatter how far or the distance, one can easily cover an extreme to the end of any part of Anambra within just an hour.
To sum it up, while he rounded up his service to Anambra State, before the whole world, he gave an account of his stewardship, where he made new record which remains yet to be matched or broken. After his many works, he had saved for the state and her future, in cash and investment, a worth or value in excess or within 75billion naira. What a Man!!
Obi did so well that the entire Igboland stood still as the traditional institution honoured him, all the Igwes or Kings in Anambra State came together and bestowed upon him the revered title as “Okwute ndi-Igbo” or the Rock of the Igbos. Like the Biblical Peter, Obi is also a rock upon which the new Anambra state was built. The church, right from Rome and by the Pope honoured him with it’s highest, the Papal Knight of the Roman Catholic Church. The Papacy must have been updated about Obi’s great works.
Of course, accepting Obi as a great man does not also mean that he is without form or void, he has one or two wrongs which should have been done better. Many others and I continue to get confused on why Obi chose saving that much, especially monies for Anambra State, leaving the destiny of the people in a hand of who only tomorrow and God knows. While he saved the money, does it mean that all works needed in Anambra State has been completed? Of course not! Well, it’s been done and I feel that he shouldn’t be crucified for thinking ahead for the future and deciding to save for the rainy days.
A whole lot of individuals till this day maintain that Anambra is still capable of paying her workforce and running the Government because Obi saw into the future and saved for days like this. Oil is at an all-time lowest and most Governments are borrowing and recouping from every and indeed all quaters ever possible, including an incredible hike in taxation, so as to raise state internally generated revenues.
Till this day, even after leaving office as Governor, Obi is still transversing various parts of Nigeria and even outside our shores delivering lectures and donating to building of institutions, majorly schools. He understands the place of learning and the wonders in books for nation building. Education is always the key, this he knows too well. Take this to the bank, Obi is not a saint, but the man is not only too good, he is saintly!
In Obi, many young Nigerians can proudly see a true mentor, a model and as well, a father-figure. He represents the true audacity of progress, humility, decency and hard work. He is indeed, a superlatively distinct.
Today, the oracle himself, Okwute ndị-Igbo, a true son of Igbo land, Peter Gregory Onwubuasi Obi clocks 60 years. We celebrate him. We thank God for him. We wish him well.
Happy Birthday and long may you live, the Rock himself, Okwute Ndigbo!
Happy Birthday and long may you live, the transcender of the modern Anambra.
Happy Birthday and long may you live, the beacon and hope for the young generation!!!
Ad Multos Annos!
- Kingsley Chibunna Esedo, writes from Anambra State.
NEWSIE EVENTS MEDIA TEAM Follow Us On Twitter: @NewsieEvents, Instagram: newsieevents, Facebook: Newsie Events (Subscribe to our YouTube Page: Newsie Eventsng.