Saturday, June 10

Peter Obi The Frugal One

By Archie Ezenagu

Back in 2013 we had completed a flight for one of our IOC clients. It was a drop – off to Enugu and return to Lagos.

The aircraft was to return to Lagos empty as we had no charter request out of Enugu. My ground handling team told me that they saw some brisk activity in the VIP Lounge. A state governor was making his way to the tarmac. However, the only plane on the tarmac was ours. The State Governor boarded the plane with audacity and requested a newspaper. My crew were confused. They asked me if I had made the reservation or received any type of payment or even a request.

We had no record of this passenger. I was told it was His Excellency Peter Obi. I asked to speak to him. The conversation ensued. “Hello sir, I think there must be some type of mix up”. He responded calmly with his soft tone. “Mix up? Isn’t this plane going to Lagos?” I confirmed that it was. “En hen, so let’s go my friend. I have important meetings” At this point I got the impression that he might have asked his team to reserve a Corporate Jet and had confused our service for the one he had requested. Whatever the case. I was eager to get some type of payment or commitment from what was my state governor at the time. So I made my pitch. “Sir, your logistics team didn’t call us. But if you hand me over to your ADC I can make arrangements to take a payment from him later”. He chucked in his response “Young man, I didn’t ask my team to make any reservation on a jet. We don’t have that type of money. I simply came to the airport to work on some files. I knew there would be a plane that would come eventually. As you are going back empty. You might was well carry me. Not so?”

I was trying to think on my feet and find a way to get something out of this. So I took his number and chalked this one down to the game.

The following week. The same thing happened at Abuja with the same governor. When he landed Lagos. I called him. “My Excellency sir!” (as per hailing). “He responded “Young millionaire” how can I help you?” ”Oga, this one that you are regularly flying our empty legs for free. I am from Awka and currently seeking to buy land at the state capital. Is there anything that you can do to assist me sir”. He responded rather harshly “My friend go and apply, there is no preferential treatment”.

That was the end of that!

Nigeria and the state it is in right now needs a new direction. Something refreshing. If we have someone like Peter Obi to realign our consumer economy, manage our external debt profile, create industries, build capacity in the medical health sector and invest in education. that would be excellent. It would also go a long way to provide an alternative to the restive youths who are supposed to be one of our key assets.

However the truth is bitter. We know that Nigeria under a frugal President would see the National Assembly grind to a halt due to lack of settlement. It is also important to consider the political reality of the Labor Party and the lack of reach to all four corners of Nigeria. It is literally mathematically impossible to make a dent in the grand scheme of things with the limited frugal resources HE Peter Obi has earmarked for this election.

Jigawa, Kano, Kaduna, Sokoto, Borno, Kwara, Oyo and even Rivers states require solid boots on the ground to deliver the numbers that would give him the presidency. I just don’t see that happening.

This 2023 election elephant will dance with just two major band members. PDP vs APC. It might just be, that the Labour party might eventually tilt the scales in favor of Peter Obi’s former Oga VP Atiku. Atiku’s selection of Wike does indeed give the electorate a new perspective and could be a refreshing ticket. However, Jagaban has proven that he has an ace in every hand that he is dealt. He should therefore never be underestimated.

2023 will be an interesting year in the history of Nigerian politics. A deepening of democracy for the Nigerian polity of sorts. The first general election in Nigeria where the Presidential candidate fought and won his primary without the foisting of an incumbent President hell bent on naming and making his successor.

Time will tell!

Share, follow and like our page at or visit

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *