Another Peter Obi in Enugu?
“Borrowing is not the problem, borrowing for consumption is” — Peter Mbah.
As the outcome of March 18, gubernatorial election in Enugu State kept making headlines for so many reasons, with the opposition threatening legal challenge, the Governor-Elect, Barr. Peter Ndubisi Mbah has been making inroads into the hearts of Ndi Enugu, the same way he did in the build-up to the election.
Somehow, the CEO of Pinnacle Oil and Gas came prepared for the ferocious terrain of politics, when he threw his hat in the ring last year, battle ready to serve his people as governor. His acceptance speech left no one in doubt about his clear vision of where he is headed.
Today Friday March 31, (having collected his certificate of return yesterday) Mbah was a guest on a trending current affairs program on Arise TV — The Morning Show. The crossfire question series of the program saw the hosts (especially the fiery Rufai Oseni) charge him with brain racking questions bothering on policy strategy, actionable plans and how he intends to actualize his campaign promises on record times.
Mbah kept the hosts and viewers spellbound as he began to reel out his multi sectoral schemes that will pull the people of the state out of poverty. For critics, those talks still sound more like campaign rhetorics. The highlight of the question-and-answer session came when Dr. Reuben Abati asked him: “it seems you’re going to borrow more money to fund some of these your projects, even though Enugu State is already in deep debt.” This question came, despite his earlier statement that he is going to rejig the state revenue sources and maximize the IGR base, in order to fit into the capital intensive projects of his incoming administration.
Like Mr. Peter Obi, Mbah resolutely sat up on his chair and said: “borrowing is not the problem, when you borrow for consumption, you borrow to fail. But when you borrow to fix infrastructural deficit, and invest in human capital, productivity will receive a boom and repayment will be seamless.”
This was Peter Obi’s exact response few months ago, to issues of external/internal loan patronage by government that gave Nigerians the hope that in him will be an innovative president that will pull Nigeria from “consumption to production.”
Within 45 minutes that the interview lasted, the governor-elect was able to drill his quizzers through his agenda and the mechanism by which he would actualize them.
When you juxtapose his acceptance speech on a week ago with this first exclusive interview after collecting his certificate of return, you would easily see mutual harmony between them. They all mimicked the central message of Peter Obi’s campaign in 2003 in Anambra. He came from corporate world, like Mbah. He had a clear vision of what the state needs for prosperity. And he was hell-bent in pursuing them.
Mbah knew that Enugu need a functional water scheme. They need massive economic programs across all sectors such as Agriculture. He knew that Enugu was supposed to be a safe haven for industrial development. And he is combat-ready to accomplish them. Yet he was still more particular about the plight of retired workers with backlog of unpaid gratuities and pensions. He said he is going to sort these out within the first hundred days in office. The monies needed for these according to him will have to come from foreign and domestic investment in the state, which will only be possible if the state maintains its customary attribute in reality, as the safest state in the southeast. This made him reveal that he will invest consciously in security of lives and property to make Enugu the preferred destination for foreign and local investors.
The same way Peter Obi launched “Anambra Integrated Development Strategy” (ANIDS), to develop all sectors of the state economy simultaneously, Mbah has proved that he is coming with the same program without specifically stating it that way. He is plotting to develop all sectors of life in Enugu at the same time, without neglecting any.
Calm, gentle, honest, thorough and level-headed, Peter Mbah reflects the clone of his namesake — Peter Obi at every media outing. And who knows? A video clip of he and Peter Obi having tête-à-tête at the funeral ceremony of the daughter of Barr. Onyechi Ikpazu SAN in Anambra made the rounds few days ago. Both may have shifted some discussions on the way forward as regards taking back Enugu for good.
Unequivocally, Tomorrow of Ndi Enugu may just have arrived in Peter Mbah.
✍️ Jude Eze.