Peter Gregory Obi is a businessman and politician from Nigeria who served as governor of Anambra from March to November 2006, February to May 2007, and June 2007 to March 2014. He was elected as the Labour Party’s candidate for President of Nigeria in the 2023 presidential election in May 2022.
Early Life & Education
Obi was born on July 19, 1961, in Onitsha, and completed his high school education at Christ the King College. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria in 1980 and graduated in 1984 with a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy. Following that, he went into business and banking, eventually ascending to various high-ranking executive positions at banks. Obi was the chairman of Fidelity Bank in the early 2000s before leaving to enter politics.
Peter Obi attended Lagos Business School, where he finished the Chief Executive Program, Harvard Business School, where he finished 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 Northwestern University’s Kellogg School of Management, Oxford University’s Sad Business School, and Cambridge University’s Judge Business School.
Obi campaigned for governor in 2003 as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, but his major opponent was declared the winner illegally. Obi was proclaimed the winner in 2006 after three years of court challenges and took office in March 2006. He was impeached in November of the same year, but his impeachment was reversed, and he was re-elected in February of the following year, 2007.
Obi was ousted once more when the 2007 Anambra State gubernatorial election was held; the election was held in accordance with the standard Nigerian electoral calendar of a four-year election gap, which in this case dated back to his first, previously invalidated election. However, the judiciary intervened once more and ordered that he should be permitted to serve the entire four-year term. He was re-elected to a second term in 2010. Improvements in state finances, education, and healthcare were hallmarks during Obi’s tenure.
After leaving office in 2014, Obi achieved new significance as an advocate for good governance and national political figure after decamping to the Peoples Democratic Party in 2014. In 2019, he was chosen as the vice presidential candidate to contest alongside Atiku Abubakar in the presidential election, however he lost to incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
After defecting from the PDP, Obi became the LP’s presidential candidate in the impending 2023 national elections in May 2022.
Obi’s presidential campaign has been described as populist and has been highlighted 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.
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.
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. 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)
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.