Frank has a pedigree of excellent service and integrity as can be verified from every role he serves. From President Obasanjo to his staff, colleagues, admirers and friends as Aisha Yesufu, Dr Oby Ezekwesili, and many more, their comments are full of praise for his brilliant mind, commitment to service, integrity, and excellent delivery of tasks.
Frank is a polymath with experience across several sectors, giving him a huge advantage in developmental policy making across all facets of society. His experience in the highest decision making body of the country (Federal Executive Council), with the Nigerian Economic Summit Group and the World Economic Forum gives him the edge of understanding how different industries work in relation to total human progress.
He often tells the story of his experience working with President Obasanjo and how their approach to handling security matters, which were instrumental to a more stable security situation in the country, especially coming out of the military era.
He has worked in the highest decision-making body of Enugu State and then the country during a challenging transition period from the military era. This gives him an edge with making decisive and difficult choices as far as governing is concerned. The political will to implement well-thought out policies is critical in a state like Enugu, where we have crippling debt and a serious insecurity problem.
He is a public administrator. Let me explain this. Frank has business interests and investments in media, construction, and Fintech, but his abiding interest has always been in public service. Hence, his educational and career trajectory, regardless of the core interest, has always revolved around policy making to improve the lives of people and of the economy. He has two Master degrees in public administration – from Maiduguri and Harvard – and has proven track records in policy making and implementation.
Frank is a polyglot who speaks Igbo, Hausa, Yoruba, and some French. Why is this important? Beyond being able to relate to residents of various extractions in the state, it also speaks to his worldview of being welcoming to everyone regardless of origin. In a state where seeds of discord are being planted, Frank steps in as someone who is welcoming to all and will run an inclusive government.
Frank speaks all three major languages in Nigeria – and understands their respective cultures. This has another advantage of his ability to negotiate with the federal level regardless of who is in power and also with other parts of the country.
Frank has the exposure within and outside the country to attract the right partners and investors into the state. He is a Harvard alumni and was the president of the association in Nigeria for two years. He worked on the Heart of Africa project, which saw him travelling across the world to portray Nigeria in good light. He also worked directly with President Obasanjo, travelling on several foreign missions in a bid to elevate Nigeria’s place in the committee of nations. He has retained his contacts and wide network through the years.
He is a learner. Frank is always open to new information and believes in continuous improvement. While he is fixed about his values and underlying goals, he is adaptable about the methods to be taken. This is most obvious to the public in the changes that came into the NESG when he was DG. This quality is a big advantage for Enugu today, as the challenges are complex and require the input of several stakeholders. Hence, a leader who is open to learning is key.
Frank is a teacher. Literally. Teaching excites him as he sees it as an opportunity to recreate his values in others. He still lectures with the School of Politics, Policy, and Governance but stepped back from a few of his teaching roles when he made the decision to run for governor. He also has designs to have a Michael Okpara Leadership Institute in Enugu State.
Frank is highly concerned about succession planning. He often refers to his nurture and upbringing from his parents and how he does the same things with his children now. This is also reflected in his love for teaching. At the State level, introducing the Michael Okpara Leadership Institute which will train 100 leaders annually from each local government area, his goal is to ensure that there are leaders that can carry on whatever work he starts in Enugu State. He is usually pained speaking about the progress made during the Obasanjo era and how the next few administrations could not build on it. He is passionate about raising credible leaders who, regardless of party affiliations, will be ready for public service.
Frank loves history and constantly draws attention to the history of ndi Igbo. He speaks often on the Igbo identity, being one that values honesty, hard work, truth, brotherhood, family, and other such values. His belief is that a return to our identity as Igbos is pivotal to getting the type of leadership we desire long-term. Families create the people who run for office. Going back to the basics is there important for our collective progress.
His life testifies of his belief in ‘Onye Aghana Nwanne Ya.’ This is not the easiest to verify as it is not online. Frank avoids sharing details of his philanthropic work, and more often, he simply sees it as doing it for family, which requires no thanks. It is simply who he is, who we are, as ndi Igbo and should be, as humans. However, anyone interested can do some digging to find out.
This list is not exhaustive. Frank has so much to give.