The emergence of former Anambra Governor, Peter Obi, as running mate to the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, standard bearer for the 2019 presidential election is not only an honour for the Igbo Nation and to Anambra State, but also to all Nigerians.
To say that Obi is an accomplished politician, business man and leader, is to state the obvious. As governor, he led by example through transparent and prudent management of resources which kept the wheel of government working smoothly. He changed Anambra from a pariah state that was home to all manner of dubious people and politicians to a state of reference.
He also scored many firsts. He was the first man to unseat a serving governor; the first governor to overturn an illegal impeachment; he made history by having his tenure successfully interpreted after the nation’s electoral umpire had gone ahead to conduct a governorship election which excluded him when the umpire should not have done so.
He was also the first governor in Anambra State to serve a second term, just as he became the first opposition governor to serve in the economic team of the federal government, as well as being appointed as an economic adviser.
Peter Obi has made a mark in the political and economic landscape of the country and his works speak for him. As governor of Anambra State, he received awards which included Outstanding Financial Planner and Manager; Leadership and Good Governance Award; Golden Award on Prudence; Silverbird Man of the Year; Best Performing Governor on Immunization in South East Nigeria; Achievers Award for Outstanding Example in Leadership and Governance; Sun Man of the Year Award, among other awards.
On leaving office, he left money in the treasury for his successor, a far cry from the empty treasuries most outgoing governors leave. This is testament to his financial savvy and discipline.
Outside office as governor, he had remained relevant by donating money to schools across the country and even beyond, just as he became a popular resource person.
Indeed, to say that Obi is loved by Nigerians for his simple governance style and humility is to over state the point. But above all, Obi is seen nationally and internationally as a man of principle and high integrity.
When therefore he was chosen by Atiku Abubakar as his running mate, Nigerians rose as one to hail his choice, regardless of party lines. To many people, not many would have been better for the choice as Obi.
If there is any man who can bring honesty, dedication and the fear of God to governance at the federal level, that person is Obi. He is one man that sees governance as serious business and public service as one not to be toyed with. Therefore the positive reaction of Nigerians to Obi’s nomination is proof that his virtues have not gone unnoticed.
Given the general view that the present government of Muhammadu Buhari has fallen short of expectations on almost all fronts, the Atiku/Obi ticket is seen by many as the panacea to the country’s problems, especially as Atiku has promised to carry out a restructuring of the country, something that the Buhari Administration has refused to do.
Also given that the PDP is the strongest opposition party in the country and the one likely to beat the misfiring All Progressives Congress, APC, we urge all Nigerians to rally round them, even if this once, to install a government that will offer Nigerians reedom to worship, associate, do business and co-exist as one.