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Who Is Peter Obi? Biography, Education, Career, Wife, Children, Scandal, Awards, and Net Worth

Peter Gregory Obi is a Nigerian businessman and politician who served as governor of Anambra from March to November 2006, February to May 2007, and from June 2007 to March 2014. In May 2022, he became the Labour Party candidate for President of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential election.

 

Early Life & Education

Born 19 July in Onitsha in 1961, Obi attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, in 1980, graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy in 1984. Afterwards he entered business and banking, eventually rising to hold several high-ranking executive positions at banks. By the early 2000s, Obi was the chairman of Fidelity Bank before leaving the position to enter politics.

Peter Obi attended Lagos Business School, where he completed the Chief Executive Program, Harvard Business School, where he completed two major programs, the London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, and the International Institute for Management Development where he received certificates in the Senior Executive Program and the Chief Executive Officer Program. He also attended the Kellogg School of Management of Northwestern University, Saïd Business School of Oxford University and the Judge Business School of Cambridge University.

 

Political Career

Obi ran for governor in 2003, as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance but his main opponent was unlawfully declared victor. After three years of legal battles, Obi was declared winner in 2006 and assumed office in March 2006. He was impeached in November the same year, before his impeachment was overturned and he returned to office in February the next year, 2007. Again, Obi was removed when the 2007 Anambra State gubernatorial election; the election was held in accordance to the timeframe of the normal Nigerian electoral calendar of a four year election interval, which in this case dated back to his first, previously annulled election. But the judiciary intervened again and ruled that he should be allowed to complete a full four-year term. In 2010, he won re-election to a second term. Obi’s terms were marked by improvements in state finances, education, and healthcare.

After leaving office in 2014, Obi gained new status as an advocate for good governance and national political figure after decamping to the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014. In 2019, he was selected as the vice presidential candidate in the presidential election running alongside Atiku Abubakar, but lost to incumbent president Muhammadu Buhari and vice president Yemi Osinbajo.

In May 2022, Obi became the presidential candidate of the LP in the upcoming 2023 general elections, after defecting from the PDP. Obi’s presidential campaign has been described as populist and has been noted for its support among many young Nigerians, who have been nicknamed “Obi-dients”.

Aisha Yesufu, a prominent activist noted as the cofounder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement and a supporter of the End SARS campaign, endorsed Obi in her first-ever endorsement of a presidential candidate.

Physician Doyin Okupe initially served as the temporary running mate of Obi until a substantive candidate could be selected. In the run-up to the final selection of a running mate, media outlets reported that there was an effort to have former Senator Shehu Sani of Kaduna State serve as Obi’s running mate.

On 8 July 2022, Obi unveiled his running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.

Personal life

Peter Obi married Margaret Brownson Obi (née Usen) in 1992. They have two children together – a male and a female named Oseloka and Gabriella respectively. Obi is a Catholic of Igbo descent.

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Dallas Citizenship

In October, 2022, Peter Obi was conferred with the honorary citizenship of Dallas in the United States of America.

 

Scandal

The result of the Pandora Papers leaks, the Premium Times reported on Obi’s involvement in offshore companies in tax havens such as the British Virgin Islands and Barbados. Obi appeared to have made shell companies in the 1990s with the Barbados-based Beauchamp Investments Limited and UK-based Next International (UK) Limited being tied back to Obi and his family. This was before he held any political office in Nigeria. Further reporting showed that in 2010 as well, Obi had Access International help him set up and manage Gabriella Investments Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands named after Obi’s daughter. One of the directors was also the director of a Belize-based shell company that was issued 50,000 shares in Gabriella Investments. In 2017, Obi reorganized the company under the name PMGG Investments Limited and created a trust named The Gabriella Settlement which became the sole shareholder in PMGG Investments Limited. Obi was not holding any political position at this time.

According to the Premium Times report which claimed that Obi had broken several laws due to his business dealings. The report claimed that firstly, Obi remained as director of Next International (UK) Limited while serving as Governor of Anambra State, which is in direct violation of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. However Obi described that claim to be misleading and wrong in an interview with Arise News stating that he resigned from all companies before taking the office of Governor of Anambra State.[92] Secondly, it claimed that Obi’s non-declaration of his offshore companies broke the Nigerian Constitution’s provision that require public officers to declare all their properties, assets, and liabilities. Lastly, both the Constitution and the Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act outlaw a public officer from holding a bank account outside Nigeria and the leaks made it clear that Obi maintained his foreign accounts while serving as Governor.

After the revelations, civil society groups pushed for investigations into Obi as reporters queried the EFCC on if the commission would start investigating Obi. A few days after the report, Obi responded by claiming that he did not break any laws and clarified that the accounts’ money was accrued from his time as a businessman. The EFCC invited him for questioning later in October 2021 after Buhari directed all anti-corruption agencies to investigate those named in the leaks. However, no criminal case has ever been filed against Obi.

 

Awards and honors

These are some of the notable awards of Peter Obi:

  • Sun Man of the Year (2007)
  • This Day’s Most Prudent Governor in Nigeria (2009)
  • Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Best Performing Governor on Immunization in South-East Nigeria (2012)
  • Silverbird’s Man of the Year (2013)
  • Distinguished Alumnus Award – Lagos Business School Alumni Association (LBSAA) (2014)
  • Nigerian Library Association’s Golden Merit Award (2014)
  • Pontifical Equestrian Order of Saint Sylvester Pope and Martyr (2014)
  • Catholic Diocese of Onitsha’s Golden Jubilee Award (2015)
  • This Day’s Governor of the Decade (2020)
  • Leadership Excellence Award’s Man of the Year (2022)

 

Net Worth

Peter Obi’s net worth is estimated at $10 million. His wealth comes mainly from his several business endeavors and his career as a politician.

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Written by PH

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