Just like the Barcelonan ace (Messi), Mr.
dazzled, dribbled all of us, scored the winner and even thereafter, won the Man of the Match Award during the Independence-Day-match-encounter between Nigeria and recession, as was organized by the Covenant Christian Center, Lagos. The event was well timed, well conceived and well delivered by the duo of Chief Olisa Agbakoba, SAN and former Chairman of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA and Mr. Peter Obi, former Governor of Anambra State.
Chief Agbakoba, who spoke first during the program however, did the expected justice to the matter under discourse and afterward, proffered workable solutions to the pervading economic impasse in the country. Whereas, Mr. Peter Obi, Former Governor of Anambra state, a thorough-bred-economist and well studied Nigerian politician from Lagos Business School, Harvard, Oxford, Columbia, London, Kellogg, etcetera, who spoke next, took the gauntlet from the prominent Nigerian Lawyer and delivered what could pass as a ‘master piece.’
While it has become common knowledge incisive and extemporal speeches barely move people any longer in this part of the world nowadays as most politicians scarcely keep to their promises after assumption of office, Mr. Peter Obi’s is entirely a different ball game all together as he had been on the saddle for 8years in Anambra State and tried all he could to live-up to what he knows as the right thing. Mr. Obi who was neither speaking to astound his audience, nor speaking to make a common sense like Sen. Ben Murray Bruce of Silver Bird Television, ended up impressing his audience as well as making a common sense at the same time.
The former Anambra Governor told the world out there how he ran the business city, which houses the biggest and richest business moguls in Nigeria with austerity, simplicity, shrewdness, fearlessness and courage. He went forth to demonstrate what he saw and described as the monster that has continued to hold us by the jugular – ostentatious life style – The life of feasting on the nation’s wealth and quashing extravagantly what could have been saved or rather invested for the future of the nation or for times like this when our country’s continued existence is threatened to its marrow by poor economy.
Mr. Obi told humankind how Nigerian leaders acquire very many avoidable and plentiful too expensive cars that would only stand for nothing, and then travel with hundreds of aids that would add another nothing to their journeys. He relived a story of how our leaders acquire jets they don’t need for any reason and then kill cows on daily basis for breakfast, lunch and dinner. He narrated how over hundreds of drivers of Anambra state, resident in Abuja, the FCT were on government payroll before his emergence, even when their jobs were not done In Abuja.
He condemned the mammoth crowed in the name of security aids that fly with our leaders from Lagos to Anambra and from Enugu to Lagos, while infusing he only called the inspector General of Police (the IGP) to assist him with a few number of police aids upon arrival in Abuja, instead of flying his security details to and fro from Anambra state to Abuja for a meeting and what have you. Mr. Obi recounted he carried his luggage himself from Anambra to his destination, and from his destination to Anambra state without incurring the cost of an aid who would do such for him.
The Business man-cum politician, who has returned to business upon completion of his tenure as a governor, related how he avoided most courtesy visits of many of his people whom he described as ‘too rich’ while saying, he instead chose to pay visits to such ‘money bags’ after his daily activity, as the cost of hosting them in government House on daily basis would be too handy for the economy of his state.
He further told us how the bills he could have footed for hosting such figures were shifted to the supposed visitors, as well as how he made former president Obasanjo sleep in his bedroom, instead of building a presidential lodge that could have gulped millions of naira in his state for a two-day working visit of the former president of the country. Mr. Obi’s testament was one too many and a compass to be adopted by every discerning leader here.
The truth: Mr. Peter has not told us what we didn’t know before the Independence Day celebration; rather Nigerians were much impressed a former governor, who also belongs to the political class knows our problems to this extent and was able to put a disclaimer to it while as a governor. Secondly, coming at a time when we have been dealt a big blow by bad economy, and the need for a possible way out, Peter Obi’s master piece became the toast of the year.
We are in a country where the privileged-few politicians, even in most cases, bereft of the requisite academic endowment, technical now-how and showmanship bestride our political scene like demi-gods. And because this marauding class is simply an opportunist-type, they move straight into their core business of flamboyance and carting away what could have been saved, while buying and selling what could have been avoided.
This is more reasons why most of their wards drive hundred of cars with our hard earned money with every arrogance, braggadocio and impunity. And then live in the best of cities here, own the best of buildings across the world, and drive the best of cars, while leaving the country in decrepit, utter negligence and abandonment. No wonder, it often beat our imagination why a new governor would choose to build a new governor’s lodge, buy new governor’s fleet and then commit all manner of ‘new administration’s blunder.
And at the end, they would converge here to be crying recession with the rest of the citizenry. And then again, take the centre stage and fore front of the crusade for solutions to the malady, when of course, they are the real course of the dilemma. This is where we have all found ourselves, while staring at one another for solutions that are really and obviously far-fetched. And subsequently, while awaiting a magician from the world beyond to come to our rescue.
In the end, Mr. Obi has given us a lee-way out of the current economic quagmire, while voicing Nigeria must effect a shift from its present life of profligacy and wastefulness. We must do away with the teaming executive cars and simply draw our ‘scale of preference’, which will unavoidably take us to the altar of truth – where our wants would be grouped according to importance – thereby, alluding to Mr. Peter Obi’s paradigm as a true test of economics.
Gwiyi Solomon writes from Abuja.
Contact Gwiyi @: firstname.lastname@example.org