“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 smart to identify with genuine, aggressive and progressive bank managers and become friends with most of them and open accounts in their banks. I believe his effective utilization of banking services at that formative period of his trading business contributed handsomely to his spiral growth and wealth.
He assessedf 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. His being included in the lists of multinationals customers speaks volumes for the level and class of his company-Next International Ltd.
In those days of bidding for FX allocations, payment of premium was rampant, Peter patronized Savannah Bank Plc FX allocation but did not solicit to offer and the bank did not demand premium either.
Peter 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 was most attractive in Mr. Peter Obi were his quantum of humility, highest level of respect for seniors and elders, obedience to constituted authority. He will not address you by your first name once you’re older no matter how friendly with you.
In 1991 a certain customer of Savannah Bank Plc, a Northerner, secured a Federal Government contract in billions of naira.
He deposited his mobilization 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 forty -five 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 sell 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 utilization 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. T
This, I figured was one of the reasons his business grew in bounds. In the United Kingdom where he lived, maintaining excellent credit records and effective utilization, 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 funds should be ploughed or channeled to more useful and beneficial services.
When Overtine 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 seam to have concentrated his business or rather put all his business in one basket( Nigeria Nation)
Despite his enemous 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. OBI has long known that non-ostentatious leaders build prosperity..
The Peter Obi I know may not be capable of practicing left hand at old age. He will not learn deceit now. He will stick to what he has been practicing 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 Shareholder 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 a equitable or controlling shareholding.
All Peter Obi’s investments thereafter are concentrated in different parts of Nigeria not even that much in Igbo Land.
Peter 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 Pristhood, and the senior sister a Rev. 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. God is with Peter Obi all the way.
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 leaders.
Peter Obi infrastructural improvement and development of Anambra State during his tenure as Governor cannot be erased by propaganda.
Nigerians, time has come to salvage Nigeria and Nigerians..
From all happening since his declaration for the Presidency through the Labour Party, one will not hesitate to conclude, that truly Obi is God sent to bequeath a legacy of hope, love and prosperity to us and our children from February 2023.
The Masses nicknamed him OKWUTE…The Rock because he is an embodiment of strength.
He built his wealth through discipline in managing resources, discipline in application and utilization 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.
Ama Obika (abridged by Chimez)