Polithinks: 8 Things You Should Know About Peter Obi
Here are 8 things to know about Labour Party's presidential candidate.
Peter Obi, a successful businessman and Labor Party’s presidential candidate for the forthcoming 2023 elections, has enjoyed popularity in Nigeria before his recent re-emergence. Between 2006 and 2007, he served as the governor of Anambra on two different occasions and then again between June 2007 to March 2014. While the current rise in popularity of Peter Obi is down to the fact that he’s emerged as a strong candidate ahead of the election, he’s also become the de facto favorite of the nation’s youths. He seemingly represents a breath of fresh air, a step away from the recurring faces that a growing swath of citizens — youths specifically — are getting tired of. This piece is, however, not concerned in discussing the intricacies of why he’s the man of the youth, but, rather, to give a little insight into who the man is. Here are 8 things you should know about the man Peter Gregory Obi:
It was during his time as the governor of Anambra state that Nigeria witnessed the first off-cycle elections that has now become rampant across several states – off-cycle in the sense that different states conduct their governorship elections at different times. How did it happen? In February 1999, all the 36 states in Nigeria had their governorship elections at the same time (including the presidential elections) to usher in the new political dispensation. Chinwoke Mbadinuju emerged as the elected governor of Anambra state. In 2003, Chris Ngige succeeded him as elected governor of Anambra state. His electoral victory was however challenged at the Electoral Tribunal by Peter Obi, and he (Obi) won in 2005. Ngige appealed at the Court of Appeal but still lost. Eventually, Peter Obi was sworn-in as governor in March 2006, changing the time governors are elected and sworn-in in Anambra state, and the very first in Nigeria.
Peter Obi as governor of Anambra state was impeached in November 2006 for gross misconduct by the state House of Assembly. He handed over to Virginia Etiaba who exercised the powers of a governor for a brief period until February 2007 when Obi regained his mandate.
Peter Obi’s political career spans three political parties – All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and now Labor Party (LP).
He left a whooping $86 billion at the end of his tenure as governor of Anambra State. He is among very few politicians in Nigeria who can openly say he left any particular amount of money in the state treasury upon leaving office.
Peter Obi is famed for living the Spartan lifestyle even when he can afford luxuries - flying economy class when he can afford first class, carrying his luggage when he can hire people (including security agents) to do so for him, and cutting the cost of governance as the governor of Anambra state.
If you use Heinz salad cream, you would have added to the wealth of Peter Obi. He is the sole importer of the product into the country. Peter Obi also imports Ovaltine and is involved in trading in fast moving products.
Peter Obi has served in several companies, and in various capacities. Some of the companies he has served in include 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. At the time when he was the Chairman of Fidelity Bank Plc, he was the youngest chairman.
Peter Obi was born on July 19, 1961, one year after Nigeria’s independence. He obtained a degree in Philosophy in 1980 from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka. He has two children – a son and a daughter. His daughter, Gabriella, is a school teacher while his son, Oseloka, is a business developer, a Hollywood and UK movie industry actor among other things. This is a bit unlike most political office holders in Nigeria whose children and other family members join them in forming a political dynasty or occupy some of the juiciest positions in the country.