These days you can notice governors, particularly Southeast governors, doing everything to perform. Their focus is usually in the area of infrastructure. After HE Peter Obi’s Labour Party cleared Southeast with overwhelming percentage of votes out of the total number cast, it is no rocket science to understand why Southeast governors are now focused on performance. Good development, after all PO came to instill a working Nigeria where right things are done.
However, as much as we urge all governors in Nigeria to emulate PO in using people’s money for the people by delivering people-oriented governance at all levels, it is important to also urge them to imbibe all the rudiments that make the Labour Party presidential candidate stand out.
HUMILITY. As difficult as it is to tell one to learn being left-handed at old age, PO’s most pleasing character is being seamlessly humble. It was born with him. He did not go to any special school to learn it. It is in his DNA. Yes, DNA has a lot to do with it. If you have been privileged to come into close contact with his siblings, you will understand that it runs in the blood. Perhaps, parental upbringing has a lot to contribute too. Those leaders already copying PO in delivering infrastructural upliftment should learn, as much as they can, to demystify governance. Bring governance closer to the people. Be inclusive, transparent and practical. Those are the basic ingredients of bringing values to a people.
Focusing on people’s NEEDS instead of WANTS. Perhaps, having studied philosophy and enhancing his knowledge via many other studies at globally revered institutions must have aided him in this very vital aspect but it really has more to do with natural intelligence and the discipline to limit his personal desires to only things that he needs. In Nigeria today, it is easy to make workers happy by increasing their salaries. But PO will be more interested in improving their standards via all indices of human development. He will make education affordable with improved standards. He will provide quality and affordable healthcare. He will improve and pump money into agriculture for better yields and affordable food for the people. He will concentrate in pulling people out of poverty that will last over the years. When these are firmly in place any increase in salary for workers would then be worthwhile and useful for the workers.
For instance, any student would prefer a bazaar government that will stuff their cafeteria with all manner of food, as well as reintroduce bursary awards, but PO would rather stuff all libraries with sufficient books for quality learning, all equipment needed in each of the science laboratories and all blocks built/maintained and equipped with all necessary tools of conducive learning. Of course, in the area of food, he will not starve them but will neither overfeed them. Nigerians should be taught early to differentiate between need and want as well as concentrating on the former.
PO travels abroad regularly and has also lived abroad. Therefore he knows that airports are necessary and as many as possible within the country or even state is welcome. But he equally knows that the people need more of their pensions, gratuities and salaries paid as and when due instead of owing them backlogs in pursuits of an airport project. He would rather tell his rich travellers to continue using neighbouring states’ airports instead of abandoning other issues like maintenance of roads leading to such airports. PO would rather build shopping malls in needed areas in his state than build a Conference Centre when his state had a good alternative nearby. Misplacement of priorities was and is never part of him.
PO constructed the eight-lane expressway from Head Bridge to Zik’s Roundabout in Onitsha, then the six lane from there to Umunya.
Engaging a reputable construction company like CCC to that meant he understood what quality dual carriage ways mean but he will not dualise most roads within Anambra State because of the beauty when necessary link roads to all communities and food producing areas were not in place.
One of PO’s most famous statements as governor remains, “I’m the governor of Anambra State and not that of Agulu.” He insisted that nobody from his community of Agulu would be commissioner during his eight years in office. He reasoned that there were 177 communities in Anambra State and 21 spaces for commissioners and special advisers. How could his community, after taking the lion share of the CEO of the state, add more to the State Executive Committee while other 176 communities scramble for one out of 20 slots?
He was exceedingly rational, something hardly noticeable in any Nigerian in power. Most, if not all, Nigerians in power reserve appointments for their cronies, schoolmates, religious groups, town people, ethnic people and so on. PO was strictly by merit and inclusiveness. There was no iota of nepotism in him. Little wonder he introduced zoning in Anambra State, which lives till today. His appointments were professionals who were not members of his party. In fact, he was more interested in professionals that were not partisan politicians. Is there any governor in Nigeria who governed or governs likewise? Is there any Nigerian leader who steered away from nepotism? PO did as governor and would be even more strict as a president. And when he does, national unity will automatically fall into shape.
This rare character would not need to lobby or ‘bribe’ members of the National Assembly to pass any policy. Any policy of his will be transparently people-oriented that any legislature that queries will have the people he is representing to worry about.
If PO attended any United Nations gathering, it would not cost Nigeria more than N30 million in hotel bills, feeding and estacodes. He is that prudent. And if he ever addressed the UN, that address would be talked about for over six months. His address would centre on what would be beneficial to the Nigerian people and what the world at large would benefit from a stable Nigeria.
PO did not build or rebuild any church as governor but he rebuilt mosques. He sent Christians and Muslims to pilgrimages without making any noise about it. He did not do so because he wanted votes. He rather did because he believed in equitable co-existence and religious tolerance. A Nigerian must be treated like a Nigerian anywhere in Nigeria, irrespective of ethnicity, gender and religion. When you do that as a president or governor, our religious differences will take a new look for the better.
These and many more are what make PO different. His approach to general issues of life are distinctly different and very clearly what a diverse county like Nigeria needs. That is why the OBIdient Movement came to be. PO was able to convince Nigerians who he is and what he is all about. They went, verified and then stood firm. That Professor Mahmood Yakubu betrayed the people while Haruna Tsammani and his gang followed suit has not, in any way, dropped any iota of the belief and trust OBIdients have for the people’s president.
PO is exceptionally exceptional. What makes him tick goes far beyond infrastructural development. His genuine love and care for the people endears him to the people. Nigerians will still enjoy this man. Make no mistake about it.
This is POEM.