Why He’s My Idol

By Jude Atupulazi

You cannot mention five of the most exemplary, popular and influential leaders in Nigeria today without mentioning his name. Yet, he’s been out of political office for close to eight years. The person I’m talking about is no less a person than Peter Obi, immediate past governor of Anambra State and the Vice Presidential candidate of the People’s Democratic Party, PDP, in the last general elections.

The hardest thing in this part of the world is to retain the loyalty, attention and respect of people after you leave office; any office at all. But Peter Obi has not just managed to achieve that, he has remained one of the most relevant Nigerians in the scheme of things today, and that’s massive.

Obi has not been able to achieve this by making noise or by throwing money about. Still, he has been doing both in a way only he can. He has been splashing money on schools, hospitals and critical institutions.

Mr Peter Obi

Recently he celebrated his 60th birthday and how did he do it? He spent it among students of both traditional and special schools, including those with the sickle cell disease. That was vintage Obi. Where others would take up the pages of newspapers to shout about their birthdays and throw lavish parties, Obi would rather spend his with the less privileged and students; inspiring and challenging them to gun for greater heights.

As an icing on his birthday cake, he says he is going to celebrate his birthday for one full year during which time he will visit and donate to schools and institutions. Again, that’s vintage Obi.

As a governor, Obi was different, very different. He made no pretensions from the word go that he was a change agent. He knew the enormity of the challenge before him, being that we live in a society where those who benefit from a system will oppose whoever tries to stop them from doing so. These people fought Obi to a standstill but he never budged until he subdued them, thus paving the way for those after him to breathe.

Obi reduced governance to an ordinary level with his simplistic approach. This did not go down well with his contemporaries who saw his style as something that could expose their profligacy. Indeed, Obi became unpopular at a stage because of his style but he was always quick to point out that he was not in government to compete with anyone or for anything other than delivering on his mandate to the people.

Obi would pass you in his convoy and you would not know it was a governor passing because of the absence of a siren. His convoy was also the smallest at the time. He travelled only with those who had a reason to travel with him and he never spent more than two days outside Anambra State for the eight years he was governor.

Obi led by example and only listened to those who had something to offer to the state. He had no time for frivolities. He was focused and very much in charge of his government. He invested heavily in education and health and revolutionized those sectors; just as he made Anambra the state with the best road network.

Obi laid a strong foundation for the progress of the state by his selfless attitude and today, not just his state, but the entire nation, has taken notice.

That’s why, when his colleagues while he was a governor, are hardly heard of today, Obi remains the toast of Nigerians, with many groups and organizations inviting him to act as a resource person, talking to and motivating Nigerians – both young and old.

As he marks his 60th birthday, I join other Nigerians of goodwill; even if belatedly, to wish my idol a long and healthy life. It is not easy for anyone to be my idol, but Obi is, and will always be.

Can Anyone Talk to IPOB?

Next Monday will mark the beginning of the sit-at-home directive by members of the Indigenous People of Biafra, IPOB, to protest the continued detention of their leader, Nnamdi Kanu. This sit-at-home, according to them, will continue every Monday in the entirety of Igbo Land till the Federal Government releases their leader.

According to the source of the directive, anyone who dared to come out would be dealt with.

Now, if we go by previous experience, tyres will be burnt on roads and some people’s property will be destroyed, especially those who are perceived to have violated the order.

It also means that those who have emergency cases cannot come out and seek help. Thus, if a pregnant woman gets into labour, she cannot be taken out. Even if she manages to be taken out, there will be no hospital to accept her since they will all be obeying the sit-at-home directive.

The same thing applies to anyone who needs emergency medical treatment. No vehicle will take such a person to hospital. If they have a car, they cannot go out unless they want to risk their car being set ablaze.

Now, during any government holiday, no one is barred from performing their private business. Even in the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in Nigeria, when people were restricted indoors, exceptions were made for those who perform certain duties or those with emergencies. That shows a directive given with a human face and by people who think rationally.

But in IPOB’s case, there’s no room for anyone or group to be out on the streets, no matter for what reason. And here’s where they tend to fall out with many people.

No matter how heavy or bad anyone’s grievances are, no one has the right to stop any other person from performing their lawful business. Such directives as are given by IPOB should be optional.

That’s the practice in civilized countries. But mandating everyone to obey a directive can only be seen in a Zoo Country and I know IPOB has been protesting what obtains in Nigeria which they call a zoo. Does it therefore mean that even if Biafra comes, the zooness will continue?

But the most intriguing aspect of the whole thing is what appears to be the sheer stupidity of hurting ourselves here, thinking it will affect Buhari in Abuja.

If we like, we can shut down the entire Southeast for ten years but it will not affect Buhari in any way because there’s no Federal Government presence here. Buhari will even be happy at our stupidity and would wish it would continue ad infinitum.

So, if IPOB believes that by shutting down the Southeast, Buhari will be affected, then something is wrong somewhere. Whatever it is we do here will only affect us. If we burn all the tyres in the world in our home, we are only spoiling our roads. If we destroy property here, they belong to us.

If we kill anyone here, they are our people. So why do any of these in the first place? Why cut our nose to spite our face? Isn’t that sheer stupidity?

Besides, any such act is an opportunity for hoodlums to hijack things and loot. So why give them such an opportunity? One would have thought that any act targeted at hurting the presidency should be done in Abuja like the Shiite Muslims did.

This is therefore appealing to IPOB and those close to them to rescind their decision to shut down the Southeast as it will not benefit us in any way, except to make our enemies to laugh at our folly.


Ozigbo, Women/Youth and the Media

The flag bearer of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) for the November 6, 2021 Anambra State Governorship, Mr Valentine Chineto Ozigbo, has given his major focus on youths and women as one of his major reasons for the choice of Mrs Azuka Enemo as his running mate.

Mr Ozigbo, who stated this in his meeting with journalists and social media influencers in Awka, last Monday, explained that to enable him to set his  innovative agenda in motion and get optimal results, he has decided to make youths and women his anchors.

On the choice of Mrs Azuka Enemo, who is a former Anambra State Commissioner for Local Government, as his running mate, Ozigbo said her choice was the best at the moment. According to him, he needed a woman that would complement his youthfulness, and Enemo, after various considerations and consultations, was chosen, based on her high level of integrity the electoral value.

He explained that capacity, character and quality of the person, were all put into consideration; and from the recommendations he got, he arrived at the choice of Enemo who was highly recommended out of the three women that were in the list.

Reacting to the allegation that a godfather imposed a running mate on him, the PDP flag bearer, assured that nobody appointed a deputy for him. He maintained that he was not one of those who made empty promises to politicians because he was in need of their endorsement.

Mr Ozigbo, who is a former Transcorp President and Group Chief Executive Officer, said, ‘I am an independent mind. I do not believe in godfatherism, and I absolutely do not have any godfather. My decision was that my running mate must be a woman who will be from the Anglican Communion and from Anambra North Senatorial Zone. I am proud to say that I chose Mrs Enemo as my running mate because of her high level of integrity and capacity.’

He however said that there was no reason for him not to have listened to the suggestions made by PDP leaders in the state.

The PDP candidate assured that there were no litigation hindrances and that he was forging ahead with his team to change the narrative of Anambra State for the better.