Peter Obi As Nigeria’s Man Of The Year

By Casmir Igbokwe

As soon as Mr. Peter Obi entered the compound of Chief Benji Uba, his friend and host, the atmosphere became electrified. That was on Friday, December 30, 2022. Mr. Obi had visited Isuofia community in Aguata Local Government Area of Anambra State to interact with Aguata Stakeholders. As the Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate moved round to greet people and take photographs with them, one could feel the love for him and the hope for a better Nigeria. The traditional ruler of Isuofia, Igwe CAO Muoghalu, put it succinctly, “We love him.”

As it was in Isuofia, so it has been in many places Obi has visited. What he has going for him is his philanthropy, track record, competence and character. Since May 2022 when he became the standard-bearer of the Labour Party, his opponents have been sweating. But, like a goat whose sweat is unnoticeable because of hair, Obi’s major opponents have continued to mask their discomfort and pretend that all is well.

Nevertheless, the former Governor of Anambra State is not looking back. He has continued to gain grounds in his bid to become the President of Nigeria. In August 2022, Obi emerged the ‘Man of the Year’ in the 2022 Leadership Excellence Awards. He was voted ahead of three other nominees in a 14-day Leadership Excellence Awards voting by Nigerians both home and in the Diaspora. The Igbere TV organized the online voting. The nominees Obi beat are the Chairman and Founder of BUA Group, Abdul Rabiu and star musician, David Adeleke, popularly known as Davido.  The prestigious annual award, which is endorsed by the African Union and African Film Institute, promotes outstanding leaders and personalities who have made tremendous impacts in Nigeria’s political, social and economic spheres.

A few days ago, an online medium, Alltimepost.com, also nominated Obi as the newspaper’s ‘Man of the Year’. In picking Obi, the management of the United States-based newspaper said he had become an incomparable and incalculable watershed in the political history of Nigeria. Saying Obi represented a profound national character that defines democracy, the newspaper noted that “in Peter Obi’s candidacy, we see the drive for fairness, inclusiveness, equity, justice and people-driven transformative agenda.”

THE WILL online newspaper also named Obi together with his ‘Obidient Movement’, as his followers are known, as its ‘Person of the Year 2022’. In a recent statement, the management of the newspaper stated that it chose Obi and ‘Obidient Movement’ “for promoting a new vision for real change.” The newspaper added, “In traditional Nigerian political parlance, Peter Obi is an Igbo but the ‘Obidient Movement’ is not an Igbo business. Since May 2022 when he became the presidential candidate of the LP, he has grown in stature and many Nigerians now see him as a different politician from the prevailing status quo.”

There is no better way to put it. That is why very prominent Nigerians have been endorsing him. Former President Olusegun Obasanjo leads the pack with his recent endorsement. According to him, Obi is the best among the lot who want to rule Nigeria. He therefore appealed to young Nigerians to stop inheriting other people’s prejudices and enemies.

In a recent open letter to young Nigerians, Obasanjo said, “None of the contestants is a saint but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge. Others like all of us have what they can contribute to the new dispensation to liberation, restoration and salvaging of Nigeria collectively. One other important point to make about Peter is that he is a needle with thread attached to it from North and South and he may not get lost.”

Elder statesman, Chief Edwin Clark, followed suit. He said Obi would unite the country if he won the presidential election. Legal luminary, Chief Afe Babalola, expressed the same sentiment. He said Obi remained the best qualified to lead Nigeria and that the only people opposed to him were those who participated in plunging the country into its current sorry state.

Before the recent endorsements, the leader of Afenifere, Pa Ayo Adebanjo, had endorsed the Labour Party candidate, urging Nigerian youths to be mindful of voting those who were the architects of their misfortune.

No matter what anybody may say, Obi remains the candidate to beat in this election, all things being equal. He has been leading in successive opinion polls that have been conducted in recent times. Such polls were conducted by credible groups such as NOI Polls, established by Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, and Atedo N.A. Peterside (ANAP) Foundation. In the most recent opinion poll, Obi came tops, beating the candidates of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu; that of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar; Rabiu Kwankwaso of the New Nigeria People’s Party (NNPP) and the other 14 presidential candidates.

It is worthy to note that Politics has not stopped him from his philanthropic activities. When he visited Benue State on Christmas day, he went to see people living in one of the Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) camps in Makurdi and made a donation of N3 million to them. An appreciative Governor Samuel Ortom hailed him for the gesture, saying he was the only presidential candidate who had done so. Others visit principally to engage in their political activities but have no empathy to visit any of the over eight IDP camps to share in their pains. On New Year day, Obi also visited the Wassa IDP Camp located in the Apo Resettlement Area of the Federal Capital Territory (FCT) where he donated food items and cash of N1.5 million.

One significant attribute of Obi is his hard-working nature. Sometimes, the man could visit three to four states in one day.  One wonders how many hours he is able to sleep a day. He is not doing this for his own good. His two children are all grown-ups and are living independent of their father. He is doing it for the betterment of Nigeria. He has been preaching the gospel of production as a major way to change the country.

For changing the political trajectory of Nigeria; for remaining his true self despite provocation from opponents and political misfits; for bringing hope to millions of Nigerians across every ethnic divide, Obi remains not just the man of the year, but also the man of the decade. At the end of the election on February 25, 2023, Nigerians will have cause to clink their glasses and say, “Nigeria we hail thee!”

 

Congratulations Igwe CAO Muoghalu

Wednesday January 4, 2023 was a special day for the traditional ruler of Isuofia, Igwe (Col.) CAO Muoghalu (retd.) It was a day he marked his 85th birthday as well as his 47th marriage anniversary. The occasion was grand, as prominent stakeholders in the community and beyond were in attendance. Nze na ozo title holders, Ndi Ichie, members of the Isuofia Club of Elite and many people from far and near came to pay homage to the Igwe.  I hereby congratulate the Royal Father and wish him many more years of fruitful life on this earth.

 

Re: Akulu-Isuofia: Good Anambra example in community development

Dear Casy, the Akulu-Isuofia street light project is a microcosm of the Igbo man’s never-die spirit and efforts towards updating and upgrading his living conditions, nay, that of his community. Casy, you know that when unjust hatred and maltreatment of the helpless become too glaring, God almighty comes handy in defence. In other words, proverbially, a tail-less cow has only her God as her protector. Drawing from the aforesaid, the community project concept came into being  to fill the yawning gap in the development process created by the Federal Government’s deliberate inequitable distribution of infrastructure in Igboland, a race unjustly hated, despised and maltreated by those wielding the levers of political power and deployed as instrument of subjugation against the said race but fortunately loved and graciously blessed by God almighty to thrive to the chagrin of same wielders cum manipulators of political power. The current APC Government with glaring cases of nepotism buried in lopsided appointments and disequilibrium in the distribution of infrastructure is a living case-study.

-Steve Okoye, Awka, 08036630731. 

Casmir, kudos to the people of Akulu Isuofia as well as other communities that are implementing the saying: think not what the country can do for you but what you can do for your community and by extension your country. It takes a combination of: rich ideas by and from the indigent/people, great vision, spirit of giving, selflessness, unity of purpose, trust/integrity, great passion and determination to actualise projects in any community. He who helps his community helps himself. Proverbs 11:24-25 a generous person will prosper, whoever refreshes others will be refreshed. He that watereth shall be watered. May God prepare a seat and a table of honour – to occupy – for those who have a good attitude of giving back to their community. They certainly have a large heart! He has seen your good works and they shall be rewarded IJN. Amen. Life does not consist in the abundance of things, but, in helping to ‘recreate the world’ which God created and making it a better place for all of us to live in. The efforts of the ‘small but mighty Akulu village’ are noted and commendable. It is not about ‘the quantity of people’ but ‘the quality of people’ in the community. The multiplier effect on others will be enormous.

-Mike, Mushin, Lagos, +234 816 111 4572

 

I believe communities in the Southeast region should emulate Isuofia community for their infrastructural development. Kudos to them! Communities should not wait for government to provide infrastructure for them. There is one popular saying, ask what you will do for your government not what government will do for you.

-Gordon Chika Nnorom, Umukabia, +234 807 316 5732

  • Also published in the Daily Sun of Monday, January 9, 2023

Leave a Reply

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

*