Peter Obi
Autobiographies

How Peter Obi became Governor of Anambra State

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In 2001, Prof ABC Nwosu was approached by some power brokers to contest for Governorship of Anambra state in 2003.

He turned them down, citing his age.

He said he would be 60 years old in 2003 and won’t be able to govern a difficult state like Anambra effectively at that age.

He advised them to approach a younger and successful person.

The powerbrokers asked him to recommend three young men who can do the job.

Soon after then, Mr Peter Obi, the then 40 year old Chairman of Fidelity bank was invited to a dinner by Prof Nwosu.

As a banker, he went with the hopes of getting a bank deposit.

But rather, he found himself sharing his views about Nigeria, the economy, governance and business with the Professor.

Nothing political was discussed.

Four months later, the powerbrokers returned to get the names of the three brilliant young potential governorship candidates from Prof Nwosu.

Prof Nwosu said, “The first name on my list is Peter Obi, the second is Peter Obi and the third is Peter Obi. Go and look for him!”

Armed with the recommendation, the power brokers raced to the young man.

“You come highly recommended. We want you to run for the governorship of Anambra in 2003”

Peter Obi exclaimed, “Over my dead body!”

He said, “I am 40 years old, I am Chairman of a bank: the largest shareholder in the bank. I have interests in three banks, I sit on the board of several companies. Every weekend I fly first class to London for relaxation. I am enjoying my life. Why do you think I would want to get involved in this politics madness?”

“We need a man of your experience to rescue Anambra state” They said to him.

The thought of joining the the murky waters of Nigerian politics was ludicrous to the man but to oblige them, he promised to give them feedback, “I will give you feedback” He said.

Shortly after, Peter Obi travelled to USA for a 6 week course at Keller Graduate school of Management, Chicago.

The course was on “The Global economy” and  taught by Professor Jacob, the founder of the Institution.

A $40,000 course that had top business leaders from around the world as students.

After about a month, Peter Obi asked a question in class, “Why is nothing being said about Africa in this course?” He questioned the Professor.

“There is nothing like African economy. Nobody plans for Africa. Can you give me 10-20 years plan for your country?” Professor Jacob asked and Invited Peter Obi to lunch.

peter obi
Peter Obi exercising at his house

After lunch, they took a walk along Lake Michigan and talked about the preference of Nigerians for the dollar over the Naira, the exchange rate, the lack of economic plans and lack of faith in Nigeria.

Then the Prof said to Peter Obi,

“Go back to your country and participate in building public wealth. Public wealth enriches everybody, individual wealth impoverishes every body. All of you want to make private money but it does not enrich the people!”

The statement hit Peter Obi and the offer of governorship suddenly flashed though his mind.

He made the decision to contest for the governorship of Anambra State.

And the rest is history.

Peter Obi left behind 71 billion Naira in the treasury of Anambra State at the end of his second term in 2014, money he had accumulated from cutting costs and investments.

Lessons:

-If you demonstrate competence and are successful in your field, when there’s a need for competent hands in a higher office or situation, you will be called upon.

-The position others are fighting to get would be yours to refuse when your time comes.

-You need to know certain people who have enough faith in you to mention your name in the right places and recommend you for top jobs.

Watch Peter Obi on Brekete Family show

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