Peter Gregory Obi CON (born July 19, 1961) is a Nigerian politician and businessman who functioned 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 2023.
Obi was born in Onitsha in 1961 and graduated from the University of Nigeria in 1984. Following that, he went into business and banking, eventually rising to hold several high-ranking executive positions at banks.
Obi was the chairman of Fidelity Bank by the early 2000s before leaving to enter politics. Obi ran for governor in 2003 as a member of the All Progressives Grand Alliance, but his main opponent was declared the winner illegally.
After three years of legal wrangling, Obi was declared the winner in 2006 and took office in March 2006.He was impeached in November of the same year, but his impeachment was overturned, and he was re-elected in February of the following year, 2007.
Obi was removed once more when the 2007 Anambra State gubernatorial election was held; the election was held in accordance with the normal Nigerian electoral calendar of a four-year election interval, which in this case dated back to his first, previously annulled election.
However, the judiciary intervened once more and ruled that he should be allowed 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 of Obi’s tenure.
After leaving office in 2014, Obi gained new prominence as a proponent of good governance and a national political figure after defecting to the Peoples Democratic Party. In 2019, he was chosen as the vice presidential candidate to run alongside Atiku Abubakar in the presidential election. However, they were defeated by incumbent President Muhammadu Buhari and Vice President Yemi Osinbajo.
After defecting from the PDP, Obi became the LP’s presidential candidate in the upcoming 2023 general elections in May 2023. Obi’s presidential campaign has been described as populist, and it has received widespread support from young Nigerians dubbed “Obi-dients.”
Early life and education.
Peter Obi was born on July 19, 1961, in Onitsha, Anambra State. He finished his secondary school education at Christ the King College in Onitsha. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria in 1980 and graduated with a B.A. (Hons) in philosophy in 1984.
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.
Before entering politics, Obi was a businessman. Obi, according to himself, began his life as a trader, having been born into a trading family before entering the corporate world. He held positions of authority in a few private businesses.
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 are among the companies he has worked for. He was Fidelity Bank Plc’s youngest chairman.
2023 presidential candidacy
On March 24, 2023, Peter Obi declared his intention to run for President of Nigeria on the Peoples Democratic Party platform, but later withdrew and announced he would run on the Labour Party platform instead.
According to the Peoples Gazette, Peter Obi resigned his membership in the Peoples Democratic Party on May 24th. Obi reportedly complained about massive delegate bribery and vote buying during the party’s presidential primary, citing the existence of a party clique working against him.
Obi’s business background and status as a major candidate unaffiliated with either of Nigeria’s two major parties have drawn comparisons to Emmanuel Macron’s successful French presidential campaign in 2017. Obi has praised Macron and was among the officials who welcomed him during his visit to Lagos.
Younger generations proved to be some of Obi’s most ardent supporters, demonstrating their support through social media, protests, and street marches. Aisha Yesufu, a prominent activist and cofounder of the #BringBackOurGirls movement, as well as a supporter of the End SARS campaign, endorsed Obi in her first presidential endorsement.
Obi’s campaign’s young supporters have been dubbed “Obi-dients.” It was argued in a Business Day article that “[The Obi-Dients] are drawn to Peter Obi’s ideology of frugality, economic production rather than showy consumerism and waste, and resourceful management and investment in key sectors for economic growth and development.”
According to commentators, Obi’s third-party candidacy appeals to young voters dissatisfied with the two major parties, resulting in the “largest political movement in recent Nigerian history.” Before the campaigns began, Obi’s supporters staged a series of One Million Man Marches in cities across Nigeria, 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 because they were organized by Obi supporters rather than Obi’s in-house team or political party. Massive crowds attended the marches.
Selection of running mate
Doyin Okupe, a physician, initially served as Obi’s temporary running mate until a substantive candidate could be chosen. In the run-up to the final selection of a running mate, media outlets reported that former Kaduna State Senator Shehu Sani was being considered as Obi’s running mate.
Obi unveiled his running mate, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed, on July 8, 2023. He stated the following about his choice of vice presidential candidate:
“It is our right to secure, unite, and productive Nigeria.” And you can do it without the help of others who share your vision, have similar ideas, and are up to the task. So, today, I have the privilege of introducing to you, God willing, Nigeria’s next vice president, Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed.
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)
- Daily Champion’s Nigeria’s Most Trustworthy Governor (2009)
- West Africa ICT Development Award for Governor of the Year (2010)
- Zik Leadership Prize (2011) Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation’s Best Performing Governor on Immunization in South-East Nigeria (2012
- Ezeife Leadership Foundation’s Leadership and Good Governance Award (2012)
- Methodist Church of Nigeria’s Golden Award on Prudence (2012); Business Hallmark Newspaper’s Man of the Year (2012)
- Silverbird’s Man of the Year (2013)
- The Voice Newspaper’s Award for Outstanding Example in Leadership and Governance (2014)
- Daily Champion’s Most Outstanding Igbo Man of the Decade (2014)
- 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 (2023)
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.