MEET FRANK OSHANUGOR
By Frank Oshanugor
It is no longer news that a one-time Governor of Anambra State and currently a presidential aspirant under the platform of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP); Mr. Peter Obi in the last few days has topped the list of preferred candidates for the nation’s top job.
This is largely evident in the number of people and groups enlisting in the Peter Obi Support Network (POSN) both here in Nigeria and those in the Diaspora. The membership of these various groups cut across geo-political zones, states and ethnicity. There is unarguably a common thread that binds all the groups and that is the conviction that among the known gladiators for the Presidency, Obi possess more of the qualities the average Nigerian expects from a president who can take Nigeria further than where we are currently, developmentally speaking.
With no intent to run any aspirant down, we need not shy away from the fact that most of those putting themselves forward for the nation’s top job, are people whose propensity for primitive accumulation is legendary. A check list of their antecedents at one time or the other as political office holders reveals so much about how they cared more for themselves, their families and associates at the great expense of the nation.
His Excellency Peter Obi evidently stands out as one former Governor with an intimidating record of achievements both as a political office holder and private sector operator. That Obi bequeathed his successor in office as Governor of Anambra State the sum of about N75billion excluding other amount in hard currency has continued to trend with no denial from Ex-Governor Willie Obiano who in turn squandered the money leaving a debt portfolio of over N100billion for his successor Prof. Charles Chukwuma Soludo.
Peter Obi’s record in office as Governor for eight years glaringly reveals the prudence of a leader in a society seeking to improve the lives of the common man. What can we say of a Governor who had every opportunity to indulge in frivolous spending at the expense of the state but chose austere life style in other to save money for development. We have on record how Obi closed down the Anambra lodge in Abuja where many political hangers-on were ripping the state off, all in the name of working for the governor. We heard incontrovertible story of how he chose to vacate his Governor’s apartment for a President (Olusegun Obasanjo) who visited the state. Obi chose to lodge in a hotel of no more than N30,000 per night with his family instead of spending millions to build a Presidential lodge that would rarely be used.
As a mortal like any one of us, the former Governor of Anambra State may not be a saint, but he is certainly a lesser evil in the class of the other presidential gladiators. This is why he keeps getting endorsement even within the political high class.
The likes of me were enthused few days ago when Dr. Doyin Okupe and Chief Olabode George, two prominent Nigerians of Yoruba extraction openly endorsed Obi’s candidacy, extolling his virtues as a Nigerian with great attributes.
Peter Obi may not have the money to buy over party delegates who would vote at the primaries of the PDP in a few weeks time to choose the party flag bearer in the 2023 presidential election, but he certainly has the good will of many Nigerians who know without further conviction that our problem lies greatly in corruption in every segment of the society.
Those not likely to see any thing good in Peter Obi’s presidency are those who want the atmosphere of primitive accumulation to continue. Obi is not likely to do their bidding of wasting the nation’s resources on a few people and their associates. Obi would certainly not privatise public institutions to himself and friends to enrich himself nor assume a god-like status whom every public office aspirant would seek to pass through before realising his ambition.
Besides the fact that Peter Obi’s possible emergence as the next President of Nigeria would largely restore some peace in the country due to his Igbo extraction for the sake of political equity, his deep knowledge of political economy and industrialization would surely become catalsytic in the search for a new Nigeria.
Obi has the advantage of youth on his side and can energetically walk his talk than assume a lame duck presidency of seeing things from the prisms of his appointees many of whom would warp issues to suit their whims and caprices.
This is the time for Nigerians who want a country where cost of governance is highly reduced to come out and be counted. We need a Nigeria where schools and their students are not left to rot away because political leaders’ children are schooling overseas.
We want a country where children of the rich and poor are made to receive their education in our schools, not a situation where children of the President, National Assembly members, Governors, Ministers and other office holders are in ivy league institutions in United States of America, Canada, Europe etc and children of the less privileged are left in Nigerian universities with perennial strike by members of the Academic Staff Union of Universities (ASUU).
As the aspirants criss cross the length and breadth of the Federation seeking to market their candidacy, let it be clear to them that much of the insecurity we suffer now in Nigeria was largely precipitated by the inability of the political office holders to cater for the masses. Many of the governors, law makers etc have continued to divert the money meant for development of the country into private use, with little or no stringent action taken against them.
The bandits, kidnappers, armed robbers etc ravaging our country today are all victims of bad leadership. Over the years if they were given good eduction, technical skills or employment, they probably would not have ventured into such satanic enterprises. Remember, the idle mind is the devil’s workshop.
Corruption has eaten so deep into the fabrics of our national institutions and we need a leader with disdain for primitive accumulation to take the front seat and bring the country back to the path of sanity. Peter Obi for now, is the man with such credentials to lead us out of this national cesspool of corrupt practices and failed electoral promises. He needs the support of well meaning Nigerians.
Mr. Frank Oshanugor is the Editor-in-Chief of AtlanticNewsonline