By Tai Emeka Obasi
I had resolved not to write anything on politics since that day Dr. Chike Akunyili was gruesomely murdered and subsequently our state turned into a recklessly killing field. I said no more politics until our candidates from all parties come together to marshall out appropriate solution that will return our state to its hitherto liveliness.
But this one can’t wait. It can’t wait because it got me truly truly angry..
For a start, Premium Times not only broke the rules, they also broke the law. Even if they had made that report an editorial, they still murdered professionalism by being excessively judgmental in declaring one guilty in a case that has not passed through any court. Evidently, the online-based outfit was taking a cue from the CNN-led mainstream media that manufactured all kinds of lies as facts while the United States of America battled in their last election, which was the worst show of shame in any democratic society on Earth.
Premium Times, still struggling to impose the word INTEGRITY in their mode.of practice, excessively prowled outside the fair play arena by branding a man guilty before any court of competent jurisdiction has even heard the case. Unbelievable!
Besides these unprofessional attitude, can we now look at the man being so accused of wrongdoing?
Let me resurrect the question – Who Is Peter Obi? I call him a man who came far ahead of his generation. Why?
Follow me… let’s look at the most important element of human character – ANTECEDENTS.
You can accuse this man of everything but never financial mismanagement. Let’s get it straight – he’s no saint, far from it. Oh yes, you can fault him when it comes to some political decisions. For instance, all the processes that brought Gov Willie Obiano to power were catastrophic. That was Okwute’s worst decisive moments as a leader. Having got that damning monkey off the back, let’s look deeper.
When it comes to prudence, especially in relation to handling public funds, HE Peter Obi is a saint. Take him through the scales of self-discipline and being ever focused and see a man that will score excellent on both counts.
Why did he become a very successful governor? Because he came to governance with the mentality of a trader nurtured all over the years. Yes, he prefers to refer to himself as a trader.
And what is that mentality? The ability to generate TRUST. I can’t call it being very smart or even possessing intelligence. I rather ascribe it to the benevolence of the creator who implanted a sensor or anthena inside the brain of the man we popularly call Okwute. This sensor/anthena that controls figures and efficiently manages money was built in there from the womb.
From childhood, this great man was able to manage funds and any business he did that everybody he dealt with willingly obliged him with credit facilities. He was very responsible with money, especially people’s money then and today. At 60, any bank in the world would readily grant him any amount of loan just for the asking. Such is the level of trust he has built globally.
Anyone that builds such trust ends up becoming a billionaire in any chosen business.
When this man became governor, he came aboard with same TRUST. The governed must trust the government taking care of them. He paid up outstanding pensions and gratuity inherited. Paid workers at end of every month. Paid contractors as soon as the generate certificates of works done. He promised roads and built them, promised quality education and provided it, promised quality health services and provided them. Every promise he made he kept.
And the people trusted him. Local and international donor agencies trusted him and assisted him in developing dear state to a level even the most optimist never anticipated.
But this man we’re talking about didn’t stop there. While leaving, his state never owed a dime to workers, pensioners, contractors, etc. Instead he left substantial amount for his successor to take off on a very comfortable lane. Most significantly, he started saving money for the future of the state. He saved in that best known currency for international transactions – DOLLARS. He saved in dollars because he saw that our Naira would continue to nose-dive owing to our fragile economic policies. He saved $156 million dollars in three banks. At that time the naira exchanged 150 to the dollar. Today, it’s nearly N600 to the dollar. If he had saved such future developmental funds in Naira, they would have by now depreciated to worthlessness.
Did Premium Times, with their hugely opinionative reporting, expect one with such foresight to save all his personal fortunes in same Naira?
Offshore Account? This is a global world now and transactions are matters of pressing the right digits on the phone and investments are made once you have the financial muscle to be involved. It becomes a different ball game when a serving or past politician not known with any discernible business syphons people’s funds to such accounts. The man we’re talking about was already a multi-billionaire before he became a governor, was one while he was governor and went back to improve his personal fortunes immediately he left office.
Tax evasion? Didn’t Premium Times investigation uncover that this same man went to neighbouring Enugu State to pay his taxes when his state government, led by the man he installed as successor, prevented him from paying taxes in his state of birth? In what was about the most naive political move by his predecessor, Okwute never allowed himself to be pushed into illegality. He followed proceedings and went to the most legally permitting state of Enugu to continue paying taxes since past four years. Did Premium Times uncover that Enugu State Government has been awarding the same man they’re attempting to paint black the certificate of being the highest taxpayer in all of the state since he started paying?
Okwute is a very disciplined man. When it comes to financial discipline, only Arsene Wenger, the Arsenal legend can rival him.
Let me not toe the line of the online news outfit by alleging they’re being sponsored without any proof of that allegation. Let me rather challenge Premium Times to take appropriate steps. Okwute will shock them in any court because he wouldn’t need a lawyer to explain the legitimacy of every transaction he made. And I can bet with everything that no jury would ever find him guilty.
When I said this man came far ahead of his generation, I wasn’t drunk.