On 27 June 1988, Akonobi reconstituted the board of Nigeria Mineral Water Industries, empowering it, and turned the company into a profitable private venture. In 1989, he established the Anambra State Oil Palm Development Agency. He officially commissioned the Anambra State University of Technology Teaching Hospital, since renamed the Nnamdi Azikiwe University Teaching Hospital, on 19 July 1991. Akonobi got entangled in the struggle between the Wawa (Anambra North) and Ijekebee (Anambra South) groups, which had reached its peak in a bloodbath at Nkpor junction in 1983.
In a controversial book titled Akonobi Brothers and Sisters (ABS), a later governor of Anambra State Christian Onoh accused Akonobi of using his position to acquire property in Enugu. Onoh, who himself owned 510 undeveloped lots of land, described “monumental corruption” and said the Akonobi brothers had stolen huge amounts of Federal funds. Akonobi denied the allegations.
After the restoration of democracy with the Nigerian Fourth Republic, Akonobi joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and became a force in Anambra State politics. In 2002, he was coordinator of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Campaign Organization in Anambra State for the 2003 elections. He became a member of the New Anambra Elders Forum, set up after a political crisis that followed the 2003 elections. In February 2008 Akonobi’s home in Enugu was destroyed by fire.