Peter Obi: Businessman, politician with incredible triangulation, by Sunday Adebayo
His public policy understanding, prowess and scope together with his experience as a business executive was vividly portrayed in his political career
Where many politicians have tried and failed, Peter Obi, the former Governor of Anambra State and a candidate for the Senate has managed to succeed, if not triumphed. It will not be an understatement to call Obi one of the most successful Igbo politicians in the contemporary Nigeria’s disconcerted political topography.
Obi as an astute politician understands the theatrics of modern politics and the application of political triangulation that is rooted in the third force of political arrangement. Obi comprehends the sense and sensibility of his political grassroots, more so the voting religious and business groups in the Igbo political sphere, especially in Anambra State.
Obi is among the rare Nigerian politicians that can be described as a personality of a 21st century; a disciplined caliber that understands political economy and its application in the polity. With a capitalistic conscience grounded on private enterprise and enriched with an experience on public policy he derived as a former governor of Anambra State, his political ambition appears regimented.
His public policy understanding, prowess and scope together with his experience as a business executive was vividly portrayed in his political career. His logicality and reasoning shows a serious mind and a dedicated citizenship that is willing to apply his best for the greater good of our country Nigeria.
How was he able to emerge as most respectful and successful politician despite the low trust of politicians in Eastern Nigeria?
Yes, he represented the modern politics of third force which is rooted in political triangulation. The study of the act of successful politics with zenith attention on the environment is the permeable to a political triangulation, which becomes as a means to define oneself with successful tools to accomplish a given task at hand.
Triangulation was first introduced into political lexicon by Dick Morris, the chief political adviser to President of the United States. Triangulation as Dick Morris philosophized is anchored on a given politician taking “a position that not only blended the best of each party’s views but also transcended them to constitute a third force in the debate.”
Obi’s style of governance is rooted in discipline and simplicity. He comes to work on time, does his work and goes home to his family at the end of day. His governorship was controversy free and I am no way suggesting that he is a saint. But he has demonstrated that he can do his job without distraction and pandemonium.
So far, Obi has demonstrated that longevity in politics, especially in Anambra State, is attainable when you are willing to work for it. With many political foes and well-wishers, the greatest strength of Obi will be his ability to leverage his profound political calculus for survival and success in the uncanny world of politics.
Obi exhumes humility, and this is always very evident at every encounter with him. He also affirmed this in a recent interview with a national daily where he was asked if he has any regret so far in his political career, and he exhibited his humility by responding.
“I have never regretted anything in my life. I came here with nothing. I’m going away with nothing. Whatever I have in my life is by the grace of God. So, I have never had any regret. I can tell you, at 55, I’ve never been to hospital, except when the doctor said they saw a small growth in my system, they wanted to remove it and I was in hospital for two hours for that.”
The man, Peter Obi
Obi was born on July 19, 1961 at Onitsha, Anambra State. He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1980, graduating with a B.A (Hons) in philosophy in 1984.
Going into business, he became chairman of Next International Nigeria Ltd, then chairman and director of Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd, Paymaster Nigeria Ltd, Chams Nigeria Ltd, Data Corp Ltd and Card Centre Ltd. He was the youngest chairman of Fidelity Bank PLC. Obi married Margaret Brownson Usen in 1992 after which they had their first child Gabriella Nwamaka Frances Obi, two years later they had their first son Gregory Peter Oseloka Obi. He was appointed the chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) by former President Goodluck Jonathan after the 2015 general election. Obi operated a very meticulous financial regime in Anambra State that includes cutting of unnecessary spending, and ploughing of revenue wastage, among others.
His political journey
He contested the Anambra State governorship election as candidate for the All Progressives Grand Alliance in 2003, but his rival, Chris Ngige of the Peoples Democratic Party, was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission.
After nearly three years of litigation, Ngige’s victory was upturned by the Court of Appeal on March 15, 2006. Obi took office on March 17, 2006. On November 2, 2006, he was impeached by the state House of Assembly after seven months in office and replaced the next day by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy, making her the first ever female governor in Nigeria’s history. Obi successfully challenged his impeachment and was re-instated as the governor on February 9, 2007 by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu. Etiaba handed power back to him after the court ruling.
He once again left office on May 29, 2007 following the general election, which Andy Uba won. Obi returned to the courts once more, this time contending that the four-year tenure he had won in the 2003 elections only started to run when he took office in March 2006. On June 14, 2007, the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld Obi’s contention and returned Obi to office.
On February 7, 2010, the Independent National Electoral Commission declared Obi the winner of the February 6, 2010 gubernatorial election, where he defeated Prof. Charles Soludo, former governor, Central Bank of Nigeria. This election victory gave Governor Obi an additional four years as the governor of Anambra State. On March 17, 2014, Obi served out his second term and handed over the governorship to Willie Obiano.