He is a man gifted with a Mahatma Ghandi’s stoic disposition, never fighting back but standing on attacks to draw friends through refusal to reply abuses. He also neither initiates attacks nor would he employ invectives in his political campaigns which rhymes with his soft spoken voice to give impression of a forgiving personality. He has come across to every political watcher as not only temperate but humane.
A former governor of Anambra State who stuck to his refusal to “settle” State House of Assembly members as has unfortunately become the norm and in recompense, was impeached, he is seen as uncompromising in matters of graft and adroitly miserly with public funds. His simple appearance belies his wealth that he never flaunts and successfully resisted being swollen headed by either his wealth, knowledge or position so that he cuts the picture of one able to maintain an austere lifestyle even when he can afford virtually anything money can buy.
One thing that even his traducers have admitted is working for him is his ability to be underrated. That was helped by the fact that though he knew he was being credited with less than his abilities and capacities, he smiled away replies that would have given away his game plan. Before those who used this as a bad political joke, he had eaten deep into the trust fabric of an average Nigerian.
Obi reels out statistics and examples in development from working economies and comes across as one who has the proper knowledge of how to steer the ship of state which going by wobbly government policies poorly implemented won him the trust and hope for the future of a tottering giant of a country. Even when facts appear questionable as he reels them out, he confidently challenges his traducers and doubters to “go and verify”.
His bold move in leaving the Peoples Democratic Party where he was previously a Vice presidential candidate to join little known Labour party seem to have distanced him from the two main political parties adjudged to have administered harsh conditions on Nigerians. This was added to the fuel scarcity and Naira redesign programmes of the present government which has pulled Nigerians through the worst thereby seeing in Obi, a possible redemption.
Each time he addresses the people, he speaks to their needs and raises hope of their expectations which the regular politicians have failed to. What was meant to deride him like “we no dey give shishi” meant to cast him in derogatory light as a miser and stingy personality soon caught fire and became a sales point where people saw him as not one to put his hand into the public till in the name of sharing money as regular politicians do while actually helping themselves and their families.
Obi who doesn’t mind swimming against the tide has severally publicly resisted being railroaded into doing anything against his will and philosophy of life like when he publicly resisted being made to pledge money to a faith organisation and rather insisted that they should show him a project to execute. This made people to trust that he would not be easily blackmailed by political scavengers to sacrifice the country’s common patrimony by the political hyenas of the country.
While others are busy abusing each other and throwing muds that border on corrupt practices, Obi keeps on with messages of hope, often interposing his deliveries with short tours of places where policies that failed in Nigeria are working well to assure the people that he was minded on resolving the issues bedeviling the sector.
One point that has stood him out is the fact that he ruled Anambra for eight years and has since after leaving office, been in public space without any of the anti-graft agencies having anything on him even after scurrilous attack by opponents who realised too late that he was approaching the election as a storm.
Of all then former governors, he has loudly and publicly insisted without any contradiction that unlike his fellow competitors for the office, he was not collecting pension as a former governor nor did he exact from his state like some did, houses, cars and jumbo salaries for life as well as change of cars and domestic staff; he rather stayed on his business earnings to live his life.
Also testimonials like that from Bianca Ojukwu on how Obi prefers both his private monies and public funds should be applied which ignores and even derides ostentation further endeared him to the people who expect for the first time that if he wins the election, he will put the money of the country where development demands instead of siphoning them to foreign lands where they and their families access all the good things of life while Nigerians languish in lack and penury
He was born on July 19, 1961 in Onitsha to a business parents and is a businessman whose interest also bestrides banking and other investments. He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha before proceeding to University of Nigeria, Nsukka for his degree. Obi has maintained being a silent giver and a philanthropist whose kindness is sectional and religious blind. He commits more towards educational upliftment. He is married with children