Updated: February 26, 2021
By Ifeanyi Izeze
Without doubt, the argument by some political leaders of the PDP Southeast zone that the party’s presidential flag bearer, Atiku Abubakar could not have picked a running mate from amongst them without their knowledge especially when he had bargained with them for the slot, is understandable and should be appreciated as adding to strengthen our democratic experiment especially in this era of “me too.” This is more so when the zone has its own calculations on how to take a shot at the presidency when the position rotates back to the South.
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Those who know would agree that if Peter Obi’s kinsmen (some of their political leaders) did not kick in their usual characteristic manner, Obi’s credentials and suitability for the office would have become outrightly suspect. I speak as nwa-afor Igbo!
Ohanaeze Ndigbo Youth Council aptly captured the picture when the group in its statement in Abakaliki stated that the insinuation that the Southeast is divided on Obi’s choice as Atiku’s running mate is untrue and a deliberate mischief by enemies of the zone to create rancour where there is none.
Despite the feigned furore which was at best an understandable political gimmick, Atiku deserves praise for making this tough choice among contending sectional interests. Those who know would agree that this was a deft move to address to some extent, issues of equity and fairness.
Like him or hate him, Peter Obi is an enigma. Apart from the way he managed Anambra State economically for eight years; Obi has frugality, global world view, and vast experience in economic management, acceptability across board and limited political baggage. Above all, he is still a young man relatively speaking.
No doubt, Atiku and Obi will make a great team that will be able to steer our nation back on the path of progress, economic prosperity and unity. They are both successful business men, they both understand the benefits of industrialization and most importantly, they are both employers of labour. What more can Nigerians ask for if not employment? Obi and Atiku joint ticket will be a veritable asset in our quest to get Nigeria working again.
As explained by Atiku himself, Peter Obi’s choice as a running mate “was largely influenced by his youthfulness, vast knowledge of global and local economics as well as being a financial expert, all experience which Nigeria is in great need of at this point in time.”
Like Atiku, Obi is a successful businessman and wealth creator. His wealth of experience in the financial sector, governance and human capital development would be of immense benefit to the government. Also, Obi’s rich experience in the private and public sectors will help him manage the nation’s economy as the Chairman of the National Economic Council (NEC).
The banking sector, which is the mainstay of the nation’s economy, will have a new lease of life with Obi in charge of NEC.
As said by Atiku, “In every other sector, such as education, health, security and infrastructure, Obi as governor left tangible and verifiable worthy legacies in Anambra state. Development partners such as the World Bank, the European Union, the United Nations Development Programme and UNICEF, adjudged the state as one of the best in development partnership and commitment to reforms for good governance under him.”
It is on record that at a time many other governors were leaving huge debts, Obi left the equivalent of US $500 million in investment as well as local and foreign currency, including $156 million in dollar-denominated bonds. So he understands the dynamics of the economy. He has an impressive track record of tangible achievements both in governance and in his private sector life.
Few Nigerians can dispute the fact that Obi has proven himself to be a man of vision, mission, focus, compassion, piety and integrity, attributes needed to turn around the pathetic state of the nation’s economy.
Does anybody dispute that Peter Obi has a reputation for frugality and good economic management, as shown in his deployment of the scarce resources of Anambra State during his eight years as governor to achieve milestones that were acknowledged even by international development agencies? His track record shows that he is a thinker who can deploy ideas to change the value frame of his people so they can achieve longer sustainable values.
As a businessman who has nurtured business from a small level, and ran government as it should be run by putting the necessary structures in place, and entrenching decency and transparency in governance, Obi no doubt will be an added advantage to our government. What else are we looking for as good qualities for someone that is to head the National Economic Council?
This ticket will be able to steer our nation back on the path of progress, economic prosperity and unity. Peter is a great choice. He brings his business intelligence into governance. He is not corrupt and as a governor, he was not wasteful.
Southeast region had long deserved a better and higher role in the administration of this country. Obi himself has proven to be competent judging from his performance as governor.
His choice as running mate normally would be the right thing to do. There could not have been a fairer running mate than Obi, from the Southeast. Obi is simply good as Obi; end of discussion! This is my view!
Ifeanyi Izeze, a public affairs analyst, wrote from Port Harcourt and can be reached via firstname.lastname@example.org or 234-8033043009