Peter Obi: The Dogged Fighter, By Demola Abimboye

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

For Peter Obi, Vice Presidential Candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Sunday February 10, 2019 was another watershed in his political career. That day, he escaped death by the whiskers at the international building materials market, Dei Dei, a suburb of Abuja in the Federal Capital Territory, FCT.

Advertisements

As he has been doing in his campaigns lately, he had gone on a vote seeking venture to the thickly populated settlement. After a successful attempt, and on his way out, supporters of the PDP and the All Progressives Congress, APC, clashed. When the crisis subsided, about 10 vehicles were burnt to ashes while many individuals sustained varying degrees of injuries.

Advertisements

To his supporters, the suave Obi, former governor of Anambra State is a perfect job for the number two position in Nigeria. They allude to his doggedness in his quest for political power in the face of daunting challenges. In all his vicissitudes, Obi never resorted to violence but always had recourse to the courts to claim his mandates. When he became governor on March 17, 2006, he barely served for eight months when the opposition party dominated Anambra House of Assembly impeached him on November 2, 2006. But the court reinstated him on February 9, 2007. His traducers would not let him be as they sought to remove him following the April 2007 fresh election which proclaimed Andy Uba as governor and was sworn in on May 29, 2007. But again, the court returned Obi as governor on June 14, 2007 and declared that his four year mandate would end in February 2010.

Advertisements


Obi the dogged fighter won a second term on February 6, 2010 and was sworn in on March 17, 2010.

For his consistency; perseverance and patience, Obi has singled himself out in the current democratic experiment in Nigeria as the man with the most victories at the Supreme Court. In all his travails, he has never resorted to violence or intimidation to claim his dues. “Peter Obi’s case should teach a lesson that upon everything we are going through; we should be consistent in our messages, perseverance in our actions and patient in our attitudes,” wrote an analyst.

Advertisements

“My generation is proud of whom we are and are confident in our ability to survive in spite of the competition. To this generation, the hills, rocks and mountains will not be obstacles to their existence otherwise we will level them by strong will and determination and not through war. To this generation, the seas, rivers, lakes and lagoons should be drained if they become stumbling blocks through perseverance and consistency.”

Indeed, throughout his tenures, Obi distinguished himself as a good administrator. He was an apostle of budget curtailment especially unnecessary expenses. His usual refrain was that “the resources we are enjoying today (oil inclusive) are diminishing assets, hence the need to save at least 10% for future generations.”

As governor, Obi adopted the UN Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) with the focus on several target sectors. He succeeded in this regard and became the Best Governor in the realisation of the MDGs, and was subsequently invited to the 69th Session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York.

His notable achievements included “reanimation” of the education sector through returning of former private schools to their initial owners while Government withheld the duties of capital spending. Schools across the State received 750 buses; N5 million each for creation of school testing rooms and Internet connection and computers.

In the health sector, Peter Obi built and equipped the state-of-the-art Anambra State University Teaching Hospital, Awka, and equipped Government Hospitals, Schools of Nursing, Schools of Midwifery and Schools of Health Laboratory Technology.

During Peter Obi’s terms, more than 900 kilometers of roads and bridges were asphalted and reconstructed. He undertook a social security system and paid all debts (over N37 billion) for salaries and pensions owed since 1999.

Born on July 19, 1961 at Onitsha, Peter Obi attended Christ the King College, CKC, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1980 and graduated with a B.A (Hons.) in Philosophy in 1984.

Obi had a meteoric rise in the business world. He was chairman, Next International Nigeria Ltd; chairman and director of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd, Paymaster Nigeria Ltd, Chams Nigeria Ltd, Data Corp Ltd and Card Centre Ltd. He was the youngest chairman of Fidelity Bank PLC.

Since his foray into politics, Obi has oscillated between the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) on which platform he was governor twice and the PDP where he is now the vice presidential candidate. Not a few bodies and personalities have thrown their weight behind him since then. On November 3, 2018, an intelligentsia group, comprising over 200 professors and operating under the name, Anambra Consultative Forum, University of Nigeria Nsukka, UNN, declared its support for Atiku Abubakar and his running mate, Peter Obi. In a statement signed by Prof. E.O. Ezeani, Prof. F.O. Orabueze and Prof. P.U. Okpoko, president, secretary and co-convener respectively, the group said Obi’s vice presidential candidacy was the best for the country at a time like this.

They said that having dissected the problems of the country, they found the choice of Obi as apposite. While granting dissenting voices the right to their opinions, they said in other climes, people like Obi would have been begged by search parties to come out and salvage the country.

“What should be uppermost in our minds now is how to salvage this ailing economy and save Nigeria from total collapse. This demands for a personality with proven competence, remarkable legacies, zeal, pedigree, unwavering commitment and strong desire to serve, which Mr. Peter Obi has in abundance. He is not an idealist, but a pragmatist.”

On November 14, 2018, Igbo leaders, including the Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Igbo Leaders of Thought, the political elite, religious leaders, among others, resolved to support the presidential candidate of the PDP and his running mate in the 2019 presidential election because of their promise to restructure the country along geopolitical zones. This was contained in a communiqué read on behalf of Ndigbo by Chief Olisa Agbakoba (SAN).

The communiqué titled “Ndigbo 2019 and beyond Summit” read: “The Igbo people of Nigeria held a one day non-partisan and inclusive summit, convened by elders, traditional and religious leaders on November 14, 2018, to consider Ndigbo’s place in the polity, especially in the light of the forthcoming 2019 elections.

“The summit deliberated on the state on Ndigbo in Nigeria today, especially after years of exclusion from the centre. This country has never been so divided as it is today. We, Igbo, have always yearned for a level playing field with justice, equity and fairness.

“The summit recognised the nomination of His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State as the vice presidential candidate of the PDP and fully endorse this nomination. It was acknowledged that this nomination puts Ndigbo back to the centre of governance. It is therefore important that Ndigbo should rally behind the Atiku/Obi ticket.

“We identify with Atiku/ Obi ticket on the restructuring agenda as has been reiterated by the four zones of the country, namely South-South, South west, North Central and South East. We believe that as long as the federating units remain weak, the centre will continue to be weak. We equally move to appreciate the position of the Atiku/Obi ticket in promoting national unity.

“In conclusion, the summit reiterated that the time is now for Ndigbo to mobilise and organise effectively, realise the Atiku/Obi ticket. We are not campaigning against anybody; we are simply campaigning for our very survival. Igbo votes must count wherever leave in Nigeria.”

Speaking earlier, the President General of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Chief Nnia Nwodo had said that although the body would meet in January to decide the way forward for Ndigbo, Atiku performed better than other presidential candidates interviewed by his committee to find a president for the country.

He said that there were four million Igbo residing in Lagos; 11.6 million in the north and 500,000 in China, among others, pointing out that Igbo votes can make the difference if counted.

Also speaking, wife of former president of Nigeria, Prof Uche Azikwe, said that there should be written agreement between Ndigbo and Atiku over his polices to serve as reference point.

Senator Ike Nwachukwu, Chief SN Okeke, Dr. Okesilieze Nwodo also spoke their different states.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *