Peter ‘Okwute’ the Rock By Nonso Ozoemena

“Sounds like a very catchy nickname,” you may think to yourself? How did he get such a “cool” nickname? A nickname which brings up a vivid imagery of strength and sagacity? Let’s start off with the fact that Peter Obi has a no-nonsense-action-man-attitude when it comes to working for his people. Peter Obi, one of the leading politicians in the South-East, has shown sagacity in various ways he has navigated the political waters over the years.

All of his two tenures in the Anambra State Governorship, have been possible due to his strength and resilient attitude. Peter Gregory Obi in 2006, won a Governorship position but was later impeached controversially. Afterwards, he went to court and won. As such, he became governor. When the first four years of the Ngige/Obi tenure expired, he went to court to get a judgement that he did not complete his own tenure. He won for the second time and was allowed to complete his tenure. After that, he won a second tenure for himself. All of these controversy turned him into a strong people-oriented politician, because in all of this, he only had the people to fight for him.

A lot of people mistake Peter the Rock, fondly called ‘Okwute’, as a stingy man, well, to many Nigerians who do not believe that a politician can win elections based on plans, policies and achievements, then Peter might be stingy. However, what can be said of Peter is that he studied a lot of economics and finance and understands that what makes one rich is not how the money is made, but how it is spent.

Peter Obi’s beliefs in cutting government wastage can be best exemplified by one of his most popular actions which was the sales of the Anambra governor’s lodge in Abuja, so he could fund education in Anambra. This bold move was part of his many efforts to shift the state ranking from 28th to 1st in education, as rated by the UN. This shows Peter as a man who understands priorities and who stresses on the importance of saving money. In a recent interview, he was of the assertion that people ask them how they will get a lot of money to fund the plans and policies they have. He told them that he governed Anambra state for 8 years and he was able to ‘find that money’. Truly with Peter Obi when there’s a will there’s a way.

Another way that he has strove to find ‘the money’ to empower Anambra state, was to sell off the fleet of cars the governor had. He only retained two. Moving about town to settle matters like a regular man, no fuss, no hype. He said that people were afraid for his life, but he told them that no one will kill him. And so, he was one of the few governors that could abruptly drive himself to a project site without sirens and inspect the work going on. In his weekly radio program as governor of Anambra State, he answered questions from people on the progress of projects the government was undertaking. He knew the status of every project in the state. Has he changed? No.

Peter the Rock as he is called, is not for simple adulations. It is because of his principled nature, which has faced a lot of challenges, but remained steadfast in all ramifications. He once stated that he only had a residential house in Onitsha and that EFCC should confiscate any house found in Lagos and Abuja in his name. Till today, EFCC has not found a house belonging to Peter Obi in any other part of Nigeria, except from his hometown, Onitsha. What you get with an Atiku/Obi ticket is this invaluable experience, competence and a movement from policy formation to policy implementation. Peter the rock is a solid choice and a concrete addition to a winning team that will make for a better Nigeria.

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