Who is Peter Obi? (Complete biography)
Mr. Peter Gregory Onwuabusi Obi (CON), is a former Governor of Anambra State in the South East region of Nigeria and the Labour Party (LP) candidate in the 2023 presidential election.
Peter Obi, for short, has an intimidating, unmatched and enviable profile, first as a governor, and secondly as a presidential candidate.
Quick Bio of Peter Obi
Peter Obi was born on 19th July, 1961, in Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria and a Nigerian by nationality.
He is married to Margaret Obi and the union produced two children, Mr. Gregory Oseloka Obi, a British-American actor and producer, and Gabriella Nwamaka Frances Obi.
He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education and obtained the West African School Certificate (WASC).
He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka in 1980 and graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in Philosophy in 1984.
Other Educational Institutions Attended
Lagos Business School, Nigeria (Chief Executive Program)
Harvard Business School, Boston, U.S.A. (Mid to Mid Marketing)
Harvard Business School, Boston, U.S.A. (Changing the Game)
London School of Economics (Financial Management /Business Policy)
Columbia Business School, New York, U.S.A. (Marketing Management)
Institute for Management Development, Switzerland (Senior Executive Program)
Institute for Management Development, Switzerland (Break-Through Program for CEOs)
Kellogg Graduate School of Management, U.S.A. (Advanced Executive Program)
Kellogg School of Management U.S.A. (Global Advanced Management Program)
Oxford University: Said Business School, (Advanced Management & Leadership Program)
Cambridge University: George Business School (Advanced Leadership Program)
Peter Obi was a businessman before he ventured into politics and he held leadership positions in some private establishments.
Some of the companies he served include Next International Nigeria Ltd, Guardian Express Mortgage Bank Ltd, Guardian Express Bank Plc, Future View Securities Ltd, Paymaster Nigeria Ltd, Chams Nigeria Ltd, Data Corp Ltd and Card Centre Ltd. He was the youngest chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc.
2019 Vice Presidential Ambition
On 12 October 2018, Peter Obi was named as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP)’s Presidential Candidate in the 2019 presidential election.
As a candidate for Vice President, Obi opposed proposals for a standardized national minimum wage, arguing that different states should have different minimum wages. The Abubakar/Obi ticket came second in the presidential elections.
Governor, Anambra State of Nigeria (2006-2014)
Honorary Special Adviser to the President on Finance (till May, 2015)
Member, Presidential Economic Management Team (till May, 2015)
Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (2008-2014)
Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum (2006-2014)
Former chairman: Board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC)
Former chairman: Fidelity Bank Plc.
Former chairman: Guardian Express Mortgage Bank, Ltd.
Former chairman: Future Views Securities, Ltd.
Former chairman: Paymaster Nigeria Plc.
Former chairman: Next International (Nigeria) Ltd.
Former director: Guardian Express Bank Plc.
Former director: Chams Nigeria Plc.
Former director: Emerging Capital Ltd.
Former director: Card Centre Plc.
Membership of Professional Associations/Organizations
Member, Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG)
Member, Nigerian Chartered Institute of Bankers.
Member, British Institute of Directors (IOD)
Membership of Federal Government Committees
In my capacity as the Governor of Anambra State, I served as a member of:
Federal Government Committee on Minimum Wage.
Federal Government Committee on Negotiation with Labour on Subsidy.
Federal Government Committee on Mass Transit.
Federal Government Committee on Natural Resource.
National Economic Council Committee on Power Sector Reform.
National Economic Council Committee on Sharing of MDGs Funds.
National Economic Council Committee on Accurate Data on Nigeria’s Oil Import and Export.
Agricultural Transformation Implementation Council.
Sub-Committee on Needs Analysis of Public Universities in Nigeria.
National Economic Council Review Committee on the Power Sector.
Awards and Recognitions
Peter Obi received the following awards and recognitions in and out of office:
2015: Golden Jubilee Award from Catholic Diocese of Onitsha for outstanding contribution to quality healthcare delivery in St. Charles Borromeo Hospital in particular and Anambra State in general, on the occasion of the Golden Jubilee celebration of the hospital.
2014: Nigerian Library Association Golden Merit Award for remarkable improvement of libraries in Anambra State, exemplified by our Government’s construction of the Kenneth Dike Digital State Library, remarkable upgrade of the Onitsha Divisional Library, and provision of library facilities in secondary schools across the State.
2014: Champion Newspaper Most Outstanding Igbo Man of the Decade.
2014 The Voice Newspaper (Holand) Achievers Award for Outstanding Example in Leadership and Governance.
2013: Silver Bird Man of the Year (with Governor Babatunde Fashola of Lagos State).
2012: Business Hallmark Newspaper Man of the Year.
2012: The Golden Award on Prudence – by the Methodist Church of Nigeria as the Most Financially Prudent Governor in Nigeria.
2012: Leadership and Good Governance Award by The Ezeife Leadership Foundation Award for restoring peace and harmony to Anambra State.
2012: Best Performing Governor on Immunization in South-East Nigeria – by Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
2012: Outstanding Financial Planner and Manager – by the Church of Nigeria, Anglican Communion for my resourcefulness and creativity in governance.
2011: Zik Leadership Prize.
2010: ICT Governor of the Year – by the West Africa ICT Development Award.
2009: Champion Newspaper Nigeria’s Most Trustworthy Governor Award.
2009: ThisDay Newspaper Most Prudent Governor in Nigeria.
2007: The Sun Newspaper Man of the Year Award.
The Nigerian MDGs Office/UNDP Best Governor in the Implementation of the MDGs in Nigeria.
Introduction of Constitutional and Other Major Changes in Nigerian Politics
Peter Obi was the first gubernatorial candidate in Nigeria to legally challenge to its logical conclusion, his governorship electoral victory that was denied him. He won in the Courts and reclaimed his mandate.
He was the first Governor in Nigeria to legally challenge his wrongful impeachment and was reinstated by the Courts.
He was the first Governor in Nigeria to seek the interpretation of tenures of Governors when INEC allowed elections to take place in Anambra State when his tenure had not expired; the election already concluded was cancelled and he was allowed to complete his tenure.
He was the first Governor to serve a 2nd term in both the new and old Anambra State, that is, almost 40 years after creation of the State.
He was the first Governor, whilst still in Office, to be appointed a Special Adviser to the President.
He was the first serving Governor to be appointed into the Presidential Economic Management Team.
He was among the first governors to be honoured with a National Award in 2011, while still in office.
Though the only governor in only one state whose political party was in government, he was elected Vice-Chairman of the Nigeria Governors’ Forum twice.
Though the only non-PDP Governor in the South-East (made up of 5 States), he was elected by the other 4 PDP Governors as their Chairman for 8 years rather than the usual one year.
Fundamental Achievements of Peter Obi as Governor of Anambra State
- Anambra was the first State to commence Sub-Sovereign Wealth savings, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa. At a time many other Governors were leaving huge debts, I left the equivalent of $500 million Dollars in investment as well as local and foreign currency, including $156 million in Dollar-denominated bonds.
- For the first time in the history of Anambra State, Ambassadors and High Commissioners of notable countries such as United States, Britain, Russia, European Union, South Africa, Belgium, Israel, the Netherlands, Canada, among others, visited the State. Before my tenure, Anambra was practically a pariah state blacklisted by the Diplomatic Corps and international development partners.
- Development partners such as UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank, DFID, the European Union etc., which hitherto were not in Anambra State started working with the State. Anambra was consistently adjudged one of the best states in development partnership and commitment to reforms for good governance.
- He was recognised as Best Governor by the Millennium Development Goals Office (OSSAP-MDGs) and the UNDP in the implementation of their programmes in Nigeria.
- The Nigerian Debt Management Office (DMO) rated Anambra as the least indebted state in Nigeria. In spite of visible and measurable achievements recorded in various sectors, the State under him did not borrow or raise bonds for her various projects.
- The Senate of the Federal Republic of Nigeria rated Anambra State as the most financially stable state in the country.
- The State’s ground-breaking return of schools to their original owners – Voluntary Agencies (Churches) on 1st January 2009, and subsequent partnership with the Agencies in Education, saw the State move from 24th position out of 36 States to Number One in National Examination Council (NECO) and West African Examination Council (WAEC) examinations for three consecutive years. This made the World Bank to commission a study, led by the renowned Prof. Paul Collier of Oxford University, on this revolutionary partnership and phenomenal achievement.
- The State also entered into strategic partnership with the Churches in the Health sector. This symbiotic relationship resulted in a tremendous boost to health care because of the services offered by health institutions owned by Voluntary Agencies, while the State restored grants to the agencies and made available to them more than 50 million Dollars in various types of support.
- Through partnership with the Church in the Health sector, his Government funded the transformation of:
a: Iyienu Hospital, Ogidi;
b: Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Ihiala;
c: St Charles Borromeo Hospital, Onitsha;
d: Holy Rosary Hospital, Waterside, Onitsha; and,
e: St. Joseph Hospital, Adazi-Nnukwu.
- His Government also built the Joseph Nwilo Heart Centre in St. Joseph, Adazi-Nnukwu, where heart operations are now being performed.
- His Government won the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (1 Million dollars) as the best-performing state in immunisation in the South-East. With complementary funding from our Government, they used the money to build 10 Maternal and Child Care Centres across the State, particularly in rural communities, in partnership with the Churches.
- The State was the first to procure and distribute more than 30,000 computers to secondary schools, including 22,500 from HP. The Managing Director for Personal Systems Group HP Inc, Mr. Fabrice Campoy described the deployment as the biggest of such projects in the Middle-East and Africa.
- Anambra State Government provided Microsoft Academies to more than 500 secondary schools, which the Head of Microsoft in Nigeria (Mr. Ken Span) described as the biggest such deployment in Africa so far.
- The State provided Internet access to more than 500 secondary schools, which the CEO of Galaxy Backbone (Mr. Gerald Ilukwe) characterized as incomparable to any in the country.
- More than 700 buses were provided to secondary schools in the State by our Government.
- Boreholes were provided in schools all over the State.
- Numerous classrooms were built in all the 177 communities of the State.
- As part of the efforts to turn around the economy of the State, a number of companies were attracted to build their facilities in the Anambra State. A case in point is SABMiller, the 2nd largest brewery in the world, which built their first Green Field facility in the State, which is today one of the most successful facilities they operate globally.
- A number of other companies followed the SABMiller initiative and were all supported and encouraged under our Government; a good example is INNOSON Motor Manufacturing Company, from which our government bought more than 1,000 vehicles.
- Anambra State for the first time started close collaboration with recognized government security agencies (the Police, Army, Navy, Department of State Security, Civil Defence, among others), offering them various types of support including provision of more than 500 security vehicles. The improvement in security was phenomenal, such that the former IG of Police (Abubakar Mohammed) lauded Anambra State for not witnessing any bank robbery in my last three years in office.
- To further enhance security, Anambra State provided at least one security vehicle to each of all the 177 communities in the State as well as various organizations such as markets and Churches.
- His Administration conceived and built, from scratch, the first state-owned Teaching Hospital, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu teaching Hospital, Awka.
- His Government commenced the planned development of the Igbariam Campus of the ChukwuemekaOdumegwu-Ojukwu University, including the fencing, construction of internal roads, electrification, construction of the Faculty of Law, Auditorium, Administrative Block, Faculty of Agriculture, Management Building, among others).
- His Government attracted the World Bank support on erosion – National Erosion and Watershed Management Project (NEWMAP) – to Anambra State.
- His Government was the first to do Poverty Mapping in Nigeria, as a guide for the effective implementation of our poverty-alleviation strategies.
- His Government, for the first time, undertook the aerial mapping of Awka as well as the production of Structure Plans for Awka Capital Territory, Onitsha and Nnewi.
- During his tenure and with his Government’s support, Anambra State became an oil producing State.
- He built the first Secretariat Complex to house State Government Ministries that were hitherto scattered around the State.
- His government commenced the development of the ‘Three Arms Zone’ comprising Government House/Governor’s Lodge, Legislative Building/Speakers Residence, and Judiciary Building with Chief Judge’s Residence.
- By the end of his tenure in 2014, more than twelve (12) health institutions, including two hospitals, had secured accreditation; when we took off in 2006, no health institution in Anambra State was duly accredited.
- Anambra State was the first to undergo national peer review, which scrutinised State Governments for good governance, through the State Peer Review Mechanism (SPRM), an initiative of the Nigerian Governors’ Forum in collaboration with the DFID.
According to a source close to Obi, all these records can be easily verified with just a click of the mouse.
He noted that Obi has numerous other achievements, especially while he was the Governor of Anambra State that could not be listed here.
Peter Obi the Jinx Breaker
According to a data compiled by Prince Ifetike Chekwube Hope, Peter Obi is the first governor to regain his stolen mandate through court in Nigeria.
He is the first person to introduce staggered election in our electoral system in 2007.
He is the first governor to win an election without structure in 2003 with the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) in Anambra state.
He is the first presidential candidate to contest for office of the president without giving them a dime to the electorates, yet they followed him happily.
He is the first presidential candidate to challenge the big dominant parties without an elected representative in government (no structure).
He is the first person in Nigeria to win equal states (12 states) with the ruling parties during collation of results with a party without structure.
He is the first presidential candidate to use a small party to win some 84 seats in the National Assembly in his first attempt.
He is the first presidential candidate to attract over 1 billion viewers worldwide during appearances on TV.
Through his adventures as a presidential candidate, an Okada rider and bus driver won legislative seats in Nigeria during parliamentary election.
He is the first presidential candidate that denied PDP and APC 25% of votes in FCT since 1999.
He is the first person to defeat a presidential candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu and another running mate Arthur Ifeanyi Okowa in their home states.
Also, Peter Obi is the first presidential candidate that prompted over 11 million people to register to vote.
He is the first and only presidential candidate that gave youths and old people hope to vote and fight for a better Nigeria since 1999.
According to verifiable data, he is the only Nigerian and African leader who left billions in the treasury of his state, Anambra.
He is the first and only governor who never had a piece of land allocated to himself during his term as governor.
He is also the first and only governor who never received retirement gratuity from his state.
He is currently the presidential flag bearer of the Labour Party (LP) in the 2023 general election which he acclaimably won.
Younger generations under 30 proved to be some of the biggest Obi’s supporters, showing their support via social media and protests and street marches.
Young supporters of Obi’s campaign have been nicknamed “Obidients”.
Obidients are attracted by Peter Obi’s ideology of frugality, economic production rather than the ostentatious consumerism and waste, and resourceful management and investment in key sectors, for economic growth and development.”
Commentators have argued that Obi’s third party candidacy appeals to young voters dissatisfied with the two major parties, which has resulted in the “biggest political movement in recent Nigerian history.
With his core message of prudence and accountability, Obi has managed to gain the backing of voters for his previously largely unknown Labour Party into a strong third force against two political heavyweights.
Before campaigns were officially kicked off, Obi’s supporters held a series of One Million Man Marches in several Nigerian cities including Makurdi, Calabar, Lafia, Port Harcourt, Afikpo, Owerri, Enugu, Auchi, Abuja, Kano, Ilorin, Abakaliki and Ibadan.
The marches were not part of the official campaigns as they were led by volunteer Obi supporters and not Obi’s in-house team or political party. The marches experienced massive turnouts. Read more.