Peter Gregory Obi CON (born 19 July 1961) is a Nigerian politician and businessman, who was the vice presidential candidate in the 2019 Nigerian general election under the People’s Democratic Party (P.D.P). He is also a presidential aspirant of the 2023 Nigerian general election. He was the former governor of Anambra State serving from 17 March 2006 to 2 November 2006, when he was impeached and from 9 February 2007 to 29 May 2007 after his impeachment was overturned. Although a fresh election was held on 29 April 2007, he was reappointed governor on 14 June 2007 after a court ruling that he should be allowed to complete a four-year term. He was re-elected to a second-term in office during the 6 February 2010 gubernatorial elections.
Early Life, History and Career
Peter Obi was born on 19 July 1961 at Onitsha. He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, where he completed his secondary school education. He was admitted to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, in 1980, graduating with a B.A (Hons) in philosophy in 1984.
Peter Obi attended Lagos business school, Nigeria, where he did his Chief executive program, Harvard business school, Boston, USA, where he did two programs, London School of Economics, Columbia southwest school, New York, USA, Institute for management development, Switzerland where he also got two certificates in Senior Executive Program and Chief Executive Officers program. He also attended Kellogg graduate school of Management, USA, Oxford University: Said business school and Cambridge University: George business school.
Peter Obi was a business man and trader before he ventured into politics. According to Peter Obi, he started his life as a trader, being born into trading family before venturing into the corporate world. He held leadership positions in some private establishments. Some of the companies he served includes: Next International Nigeria Ltd, Chairman and director of 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.
Peter Obi contested in the Anambra State governorship election as candidate for the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA) party in 2003, but his opponent, Chris Ngige of the People’s Democratic Party, was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).
After nearly three years of litigation, Ngige’s victory was overturned by the Court of Appeal on 15 March 2006. Obi took office for on 17 March 2006. On 2 November 2006, he was impeached by the state house of assembly after seven months in office and was replaced the next day by Virginia Etiaba, his deputy, making her the first-ever female governor in Nigeria’s history. Obi successfully challenged his impeachment and was re-instated as the governor on 9 February 2007 by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu. Etiaba handed power back to him after the court ruling.
Obi once again left office on 29 May 2007 following the general elections, which Andy Uba won. Obi returned to the courts once more, this time contending that the four-year tenure he had won in the 2003 elections only started to run when he took office in March 2006. On 14 June 2007 the Supreme Court of Nigeria upheld Obi’s contention and returned Obi to office. This brought to an abrupt end the tenure of Obi’s successor, Andy Uba whose 14 April 2007 election the Supreme Court nullified on the grounds that Obi’s four-year tenure should have remained undisturbed until March 2010.
On 7 February 2010, the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) declared Peter Obi the winner of the 2010 Anambra State gubernatorial election, where he defeated Professor Charles Chukwuma Soludo, former governor, CBN. This election victory gave Governor Obi an additional four years as the governor of Anambra State. On 17 March 2014 Peter Obi served out his second term and handed over the governorship to Willie Obiano.
After the 2015 general election, President Goodluck Jonathan appointed Peter Obi as the chairman of the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC).
On 12 October 2018, Peter Obi was named as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar, the Peoples Democratic Party’s Presidential Candidate in the Nigerian 2019 Presidential elections. His party came second.
On 24 March 2022, Peter Obi declared his intention to run for the position of President of Nigeria on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
In an exclusive report by Peoples Gazette, Peter Obi wrote to the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party on May 24 to resign his membership of the party. According to the report, Obi feared that he may be humiliated at party’s presidential primary. Mr. Obi confirmed the development to the newspaper citing the existence of a gang up against him.
He described Nigeria as “a collapsing country” that needed to be salvaged by voting for the right crop of leaders who have been tested and proved.
“I have been five years out of government, and no one has come to say any one naira was missing in government under my watch. EFCC can come and probe me if they like, I am not afraid.
“I am not here to campaign to my people because I come from here and you know what I did in Anambra.
“Just give me the opportunity and we will change Nigeria, and the country will start working again.”
According to the ex-governor, he brought sanity to Anambra State. He always claims that his transition moved from a disordered environment to a more structured environment. He mentioned poverty mapping and the provision of good access roads. Under his administration, the state became the first state to begin Sub-sovereign Wealth Savings and also the least indebted state in Nigeria. In the academic sector, schools were returned to their original owners. It boosted the academic sector making the state emerge as the best in NECO and WAEC exams. The state also saw an improved medical infrastructure amenity. Peter Obi’s government won the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation as the best-performing state in immunization in the Southeastern part of Nigeria.
Pandora Papers revelations
As a 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. In 2010, Obi had Acces International help him set up and manage Gabriella Investments Limited, a company in the British Virgin Islands named after Obi’s daughter with figureheads as directors to avoid Obi’s direct involvement; 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. Further reporting showed that Obi appeared to have made shell companies in the 1990s as well, with the Barbados-based Beauchamp Investments Limited and UK-based Next International (UK) Limited being tied back to Obi and his family.
After reviewing Obi’s history of holding offshore companies, some journalists found that Obi broke several laws due to his business dealings. Firstly, Obi remained as director of Next International (UK) Limited while serving as Governor of Anambra State in direct violation of Code of Conduct Bureau and Tribunal Act. Secondly, 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 (along with Obi’s response to them) 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 while the EFCC invited him for questioning later in October 2021 after Buhari directed all anti-corruption agencies to investigate those named in the leaks.
These are some of the notable awards of Peter Obi
- Sun Newspaper’s Man of the Year (2007)
- Thisday Newspaper’s Most Prudent Governor in Nigeria (2009)
- Champion Newspaper’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)
- Champion Newspaper’s Most Outstanding Igbo Man of the Decade (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)
Obi married Margaret Brownson Usen in 1992, and together they have two children. He is a Catholic.
Who is Margaret Brownson Usen, Peter Obi’s wife?
The Wife of Peter Obi Margaret Brownson Usen, a.k.a. Margaret Obi, was once Margaret Brownson Usen. In the year 1992, she married Peter Obi. Margaret is the driving force behind her husband’s National Gender Affirmative Action, which ensured that women received at least half of the seats in Obi’s cabinet.
Margaret is recognized for her humility, despite her intelligence, which she kept disguised while working tirelessly and invisibly to boost her husband’s administration’s popularity. She is also noted for her unwavering commitment to women’s empowerment and child welfare.
She handled the disbursement of dry-season farming equipment grants to women cooperatives.
As a result, they will have better access to production elements and will be able to support their families. She also helped the state’s Ministry of Women Affairs and Social Development (MWAPD) establish Family Courts to deal with child abuse and violations of women’s rights, including widows’ right to inheritance.
Peter Obi is the father of two children. They are named Gabriella Nwamaka Frances Obi and Gregory Peter Oseloka Obi respectively.
In an interview with the Punch news, Obi said he had trained his children to be self-reliant, adding that he had chosen not to join people who crave primitive acquisition.
He said, “I have two graduates who are working, a boy and a girl, and the two of them don’t own any car because they haven’t made enough money to buy a car.
“They were here for Christmas, and I was talking to some people about them and the person said he saw my son and that he always jumps on buses and tricycles.
“Some people don’t like it that way. They believe I am rich and that my children should not be trekking, and that they should be provided cars.
“But I believe they do not have the money; so, they have to trek.
“Who will give them cars — is it me? My money is my own; so, they should work for theirs.”
Peter Obi was born in Onitsha into the family of Mr and Mrs Obi both parents are of Igbo origin. Though there are no details of who his parents are.
Cars and House
Peter Obi is always seen as being frugal when it comes to the lifestyles he projects. Obi is not a flashy person and does not display expensive properties publicly.
Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state, says it is “madness” for public officials to move with a convoy of about 20 cars or more.
Obi, a former vice-presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he used to do the same thing until he discovered 13 of the cars in his convoy were empty.
He said this in his lecture at the convocation of Veritas University, Abuja, on Saturday.
He also said it is irresponsible of people to have about 20 policemen guarding them.
Obi said: “You see big people going round with 15 or 20 vehicles and causing confusion all over the place and disturbing public peace and everybody with his own big title.
“If I was coming here with 20 policemen, to Nigerians, that shows I am ‘Your Excellency’. That is irresponsibility; it doesn’t happen anywhere in the world.
“There is no place in the world that I have seen where one man moves around with 22 vehicles. It is madness.
“I used it as a governor. You will not believe it. I used it as a governor until I asked to find out one day how many of the cars people were occupying, and about 13 of the cars were empty.
“So the cars were creating nuisance for the public and making things difficult for the travelling people and in Nigeria that shows you are powerful; you are in power.”
The former governor said Nigeria has to seek new ways of doing things, else the system will collapse.
“We have to be innovative in politics,” he said.
“We have to get the right people who are prepared to save this country. We are in a bad situation.”
Some of the speculated official cars used by him are Toyota Land Cruiser, Lexus LX 570, and Mercedes-Benz AMG C63.
Obi owns a luxurious mansion worth several millions of naira. The former governor was said to have bought his first house in London in 1987. Reports say other houses he owns in London were bought before becoming a governor.
From the time Peter Obi became a public figure till now, he’s known to be a philanthropist. He has an educational fund from which many people have benefited. He also sponsors community projects and has given to the church where he’s a devout Catholic. Sometime in 2017, he presented a cheque to Missionary Sisters of Charity for their charity work. During his 60th birthday in July, he visited the sickle cell association where he made some donations to them.
Peter Obi reportedly controls several international franchises in the country and he owns shares worth a huge amount of money in blue-chip companies. Following the recent Pandora Paper leak, his current net worth hasn’t been verified. In the past, sources said he’s worth $3 billion (that’s about approx. ₦1.3 trillion).