Home Opinion The Peter Obi I Know, By Ama Obika

The Peter Obi I Know, By Ama Obika

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Peter Obi

I was privileged to know Mr. Peter Obi in 1988 when I was the branch manager of Savannah Bank Plc in Onitsha, Anambra State.
Peter Obi was quick and smart to identify with genuine, aggressive and progressive bank branch managers and became friends with most of them and consequently opened accounts in their banks to patronise their services. I believe his friendship and rappour with most of the bank managers and his effective utilisation of banking services at that formative period of his trading business contributed handsomely to his spiral growth and wealth.

He astronomically grew his business and escalated from trading to assessing foreign exchange for imports of containers of various goods and services that are fast moving and profitable.

When I was the Assistant General Manager, Headquarters Branch of SBN Plc in 1990, I marketed Peter to open current account at HQ Branch/Corporate Branch in Broad Street, Lagos to join the league of conglomerates the likes of Mobile Nigeria Ltd, CFAO, Shell Nigeria etc. whose accounts were domiciled and managed by us. For Mr Peter Obi to operate and included in the lists of multinationals customers speaks volumes for the level and class of his company, Next International Ltd.

Those days of bidding for FX allocations and payment of premium was rampant, Peter patronized Savannah Bank Plc FX Allocation but he did not solicit to offer and the bank did not demand premium either.

Peter right from time frowns at corrupt inclinations or tendencies and practices. He will not offer or take bribe. He will not spend unnecessarily or wastefuly and frowns at people who do. He will not try to impress you with his wealth and knowledge and will not be impressed by your exhibition of wealth either.

Peter sparingly operated with bank loans. He built up capacity to generate cash and quite liquid. So he had the ability and capacity to fund his various business from cash generated from trading operations. However, once in a while, requested for TOD ( Temporary Overdraft Facility), which he promptly paid off within few days. His volume of turnover was so enticing that every reasonable branch manager will not hesitate to oblige any request for TOD from him.

Peter, no matter how close with the bank managers, waited patiently and quietly for his turn to see the manager even though he was the number one customer of the branch in terms of volume of turnover.

What struck and attracted me to Mr. Peter Obi were his quantum of humility, simplicity. comportment, ,composure, highest level of respect to seniors and elders, obedience to constituted authority. Peter is extremely respectful. He will not address you by your first name once you’re older no matter how friendly with you. Just sir. These qualities or attributes associated with him have become legendary or simply put, his way of life, just a piece of cake.

In 1991 a certain customer of Savannah Bank Plc, a northerner, secured a Federal Government contract in billions of naira. He deposited his mobilisation in the bank, and approached the bank for facilities to fund the contract. But because of single obligor requirement my bank did not have the capacity. The chairman of the company approached me to help source for foreign exchange to import the products from Germany from any of our high net-worth customers.
From my credit evaluation I had determined that it’s almost risk free. I tabled the proposal before Peter. He did not object. He agreed to provide the funds. I linked him up with the customer. Within 45 days, the supply contract was executed and the customer promptly paid back the loan to Peter. The customer was flabbergasted that an Igbo man took that kind of risk and provided unparalleled support to an Hausa man from the North.

Peter had built up his business and accumulated his wealth long time ago, as far back as 1990 under unblemished and transparent business dealings. Peter I know is very straightforward and sincere. Because of his sincerity in business I appealed to Peter in 1992 to be a go-between, when I had disagreements with my business partner on ownership of goods I imported. He volunteered to warehouse and sale the products at no cost to us and accounted and remittted every kobo due every party. The level of trustworthiness of Mr. Peter Obi is incomprehensible.

Mr. Peter Obi also built his wealth and conglomerates from hard work, excellent, effective, efficient Credit utilisation and discipline. He promptly repaid facilities and credit card purchases. He consistently paid his credit card bills before maturity and that earned him excellent credit rating and unblemished credit records in the UK. This I figured was actually one of the reasons his business grew in bounds. In the United Kingdom where he lived, maintaining excellent credit records and effective utilisation is tantamount to access to unlimited wealth creation.

As far back as 1990, Peter was the first Nigerian businessman I knew that had Credit Black Card from UK banks. Despite the Black Card and accumulated flying hours that entitled him to enjoy first class tickets and flights, besides he is richer than most people that fly first class Peter refused to fly first class. To him that fund should be ploughed or channeled to more useful and beneficial services.

When Ovaltine producers and products exited from Nigeria sometimes in the early 90’s Peter in collaboration with a third party bought the franchise, produced the products from Switzerland and shipped and distributed the products to Nigeria. He believes very much in Nigeria. He had evaluated the potentials, the untapped resources both human and materials inherent and abound in this country and seem to have concentrated his business or rather put all his business in one basket (Nigeria nation)

Despite his enormous wealth accumulated from trading and investments, he is known to have shunned the idea of buying property in US or other foreign countries. His house where he lives in London is very simple and modest. No one will believe it’s a billionaire house. His simplicity is even reflected in the car he drove both in the UK (Honda Legend) and Nigeria (Peugeot 505) by 1990 when he was already a billionaire. His life style of simplicity didn’t start now because he wants to be President. Renowned and successful world leaders like Angela Merkel, Mahathama Gandhi, Nelson Mandela, Winston Churchill, Abraham Lincoln etc were reputed to have lived an inspirational simple and un-ostentatious life that Peter Obi practises. Also prosperous countries today were nourished, rebuilt by and escalated to greatness by leaders that Peter Obi has taken time to study and emulate. And he is poised to apply it in his Nigeria nation building projections.

The Peter Obi I know may not be capable of practising left hand in old age. He will not learn deceit now. He will stick to what he has been practising and know how best to accomplish – frugality, sincerity, transparency, purposeful leadership, disciplined spending, prudence, calculated decisions and sobriety etc

Peter as far back as 1991 was one of the highest single shareholders in Barclays Bank UK and the only black with that kind of Investment.
Also within that period, Peter had overwhelming shareholding in Fidelity Bank Plc that entitled him to a seat on the Board. He didn’t get the seat. That did not bother him. He knew he will get there one day. He eventually did, many years later, not only a seat on the board but became the chairman, with equitable or controlling shareholding.

All Peter Obi’s investments thereafter are concentrated in different parts of Nigeria not even that much in Igboland.

Peter’s quest for transparent leadership and desire to become the President of Nigeria is divinely projected and propelled since many years far back. This stems from the sacrifice of his two siblings to God’s vineyard. One, the immediate junior brother to priesthood, and the senior sister a Reverend Sister of the Holy Rosary Sisters.

Sometimes we may not guess correctly how God rewards us. Invariably, there is no iota of doubt that the prayers of parents, sacrifices, goodness or conscious dedication of their children to God’s vineyard are rewarded bountifully by God in numerous ways. So Peter Obi is a beneficiary of such reward. God is with Peter Obi all the way and he is destined for greatness. Whatsoever God has decreed and joined together man shall labour in vain to obstruct.

To prepare himself to the task in the future God inspired him to escalate his knowledge and wisdom. He went to Oxford University, he went to Harvard University, he went to Columbia University, to Cambridge etc. for studies in relevant areas to prepare him for future leadership and management. He transversed all over the world for experience and knowledge; visited and interacted with many developed countries political and business top leaders.

Mr. Peter Obi performances precipitated by the transformation and level of infrastructural improvements and development in Anambra State during his tenure as governor are already history, it cannot be covered with propaganda or political jingoism.

Mr. Peter Obi is a silent philanthropist. He is a born and devout Roman Catholic. He is the first layman I saw that gave Holy Communion on a Sunday mass celebration in London in 1988. For the Roman Catholic Church to permit a layman to administer Holy Oommunion then, was unprecedented. Peter extends generously his philanthropy to other Christian churches and Moslems too.

Nigerians time has come to salvage Nigeria and Nigerians. Mr. Peter Obi is very much qualified and very capable. We should consider him as God sent to rebuild the Nigerian nation. From all antecedents happening since he declared to contest the Precedency through the Labour Party, one will not hesitate to conclude, that truly he is God sent.

Let’s bequeath a new legacy of hope, love. prosperity and survival to the future of our children from February 2023 forward. These embodiments of hope, love, and inspiration are being propelled and burning like fire in the hearts of youths and the people that genuinely have the interest of Nigeria at heart.

Progressive and true democrates are therefore enjoined to explore the merits of the
great movement of Obi….obidients…” facilitated by The Rock (Okwute). Masses nicknamed him OKWUTE…The Rock because he is an embodiment of strength, vigour, intellect, agility, prowess etc. His parents named him Peter, after St. Peter the Apostle because he symbolises the qualities of St. Peter whom God gave the key to Heaven. The Rock upon the pillar the Church of God is built and stood. The new movement, the Obedient youths want Peter the “OKWUTE” The Rock upon which our envisaged New Nigeria will be built to stand firm.
So like God’s injunction; “Peter you are a Rock on this Rock Foundation I will build my Church, not even death will ever overcome it. I will give you the Key of the Kingdom of…….”. ? Matt;16:18-19
Nigerians let’s be gracious enough to trust and bestow Mr. Peter Obi with The Key to salvage our nation and opportunity to repair the economy and rebuild Nigeria that needs total revamping from disintegration or collapsing economy.

He built his wealth through discipline in managing resources, discipline in application and utilisation of credit, discipline in manners and ways of doing business. He can replicate what he did in Anambra State as a governor for Nigerians and for Nigeria.

Fellow citizens of our great country, we should not lose this singular opportunity that props up once in a million blue moons and come out fully to vote and elect Mr. Peter Obi as the President of a rebirth Nation-Nigeria. I bet, he will perform wonders.

Please share this to as many people as possible, to know the man, Peter Gregory Obi appropriately.

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