Anambra’s immediate past governor is one of the few Nigerian leaders you can proudly recommend to any youth as a role model.
He stands out from the crowd of mostly self-serving, daft and dangerously ostentatious set of leaders we have in the country at present.
This is not to say that he is perfect, nor can we really rate him among the best leaders in the world if we had some reasonable number of leaders to talk about.
But if like my Igbo elders would say; in the land of the blind, a one eyed man is king; Peter Obi is a shining role model of whom a leader should be.
Not just because of his beautiful speeches but also going by some of the things he was able to achieve as the governor when he held sway in Anambra.
One of the salient principles of governance which the Agulu born businessman turned politician exudes is the fact that one must handle public resources like he would have handled his hard earned personal wealth.
This is the idea every aspiring leader, especially in Nigeria and Africa generally must have about governance.
The country is the way it is because of the idea held by a good number of our citizens that government is nobody’s business and whatever government business you are given does not deserve any serious sacrifice.
It is not unusual to hear people tell you that; government work should not be carried on one’s head, but on the shoulder, so that if it gets too heavy, you throw it off.
Peter Obi got all the applause he got during his speech, because he was able to prove that he did not only carry his work as a governor on his head, but he also put all his heart to it, hence, his ability to achieve some of the enviable things he achieved in his eight years in office.
This is why every line of that speech should be well recorded in the hearts of every Nigerian youth, especially, those ready to hearken to the former governor’s charge for us to show more interest in politics.
The acceptance which Peter Obi’s speech got goes a long way to show that Nigerians are not allergic to good leadership.
In fact like every other group of people anywhere, Nigerians are desirous of good leaders and when they see anyone with the slightest promise of good leadership, they will be ready to applaud such person and even sing his or her praises to the highest clouds.
The problem however, is; Nigerians hardly appreciate such leaders while they are still in power.
We are better at recognizing and appreciating leaders who have either not taken up positions of authority or are already out of office.
For those who are celebrated when they are out of office, it is either we concentrated more on castigating them for the mistakes they made while in power, or such leaders began to identify more with us through talks or actions when they must have left office.
For Mr. Peter Obi of Anambra State, he has seen both sides of the coin.
As an aspiring governor, he was greatly loved by the people and throughout the three years he went from one court to the other either trying to recover his stolen mandate…
… arguing on why his tenure had to start from the day he took office, instead of from the day the person who was wrongly declared winner took office…
… to the days when he resorted to the same judiciary to nullify a black market impeachment meted on him by some desperate power brokers from within and outside his State…
The soft spoken entrepreneur turned politician always had the people on his side.
But, a good number of his supporters distanced him when he consolidated on power.
For some of the supporters, they became estranged with Mr. Obi because they found it difficult to identify with some of his policies and programs, while for some others, it was as a result of the pummeling the soft spoken governor got from the media.
It did not matter, that most of these media pummeling were sponsored by those who were keen on taking the governorship from him.
Such was the estrangement he experienced from even the most ardent of his supporters that he struggled to win his re-election bid and struggled even more in delivering victory to his chosen successor in office.
At the platform event during the 2016 Nigeria’s independence anniversary celebration, the former governor deviated from the usual reading of a prepared speech style for which the program and most other events like it are known.
He rather used that event to give account of his eight years stewardship and recount the experiences he had as the governor of one of the most economically, politically, educationally and socially advanced States in Nigeria.
I am not one of those who think that Obi was trying to score some political points with the theme he chose to dwell on in his speech, neither am I one of those who believe that he was completely sincere in the story he told.