Peter Gregory Obi, a businessman, banker, politician and former governor of Anambra State, was born in the commercial town of Onitsha, on July 19, 1961.
He attended Christ the King College, Onitsha before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, from where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy in 1984. Thereafter, he attended different Business Schools acquiring knowledge in different areas of Marketing and Management.
Peter Obi attended Lagos Business School where he completed the Chief Executive Programme. He also attended the prestigious Harvard Business School, Boston, USA, where he completed two major programmes in Marketing and Changing the Game. Next on the line were the London School of Economics where he read Financial Management/Business Policy, and the Columbia Business School, New York, from where he picked up a certificate in Marketing Management.
The young, educationally voracious Obi also attended the International Institute for Management Development, Switzerland, where he received certificates in the Senior Executive Programme and Break-Through Programme for Chief Executive Officers.
He equally attended the Kellogg Graduate School of Management of Northwestern University, where he did a programme on Global Advanced Management; Saïd Business School of Oxford University, graduating in the Advanced Management and Leadership Programme and the Judge Business School of Cambridge University.
Being a child from a trading family, Obi ventured into business, after school, and later veered into the corporate world, where he rose to hold several leadership positions. Some of the companies he served included 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.
Obi was the chairman of Fidelity Bank in the early 2020’s before plunging into the murky waters of Nigerian politics. He demonstrated sheer audaciousness when, without any previous link with politics, he contested the 2003 Anambra State governorship election, under the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA).
His main opponent, Dr Chris Ngige was declared the winner but convinced that he was the rightful winner of the election, Obi went to court to contest the outcome of the election, and after three solid years of legal battle, the Court of Appeal upturned Ngige’s victory on March 15, 2006, declaring Obi as the rightful winner of the election in 2006 and was sworn-in as governor in March 17, 2006.
Eight months later, precisely on November 2, 2006, he was impeached from office by the Anambra State House of Assembly, but the impeachment was overturned by the Court of Appeal sitting in Enugu and he was re-instated as governor on February 9, 2007. On May 29, 2007 he left office as a result of the governorship election scheduled for that month, which was won by Andy Uba but once again, Obi sought justice, contending that the governorship election he won in 2003 only started counting in March 2006 when he took over office.
On June 14, the Supreme Court intervened, nullifying Andy Uba’s victory, ruling that Obi’s four-year tenure should have remained undisturbed until March 2010. At the expiration of his tenure, he sought renewal of his mandate and won the election, defeating Prof Chukwuma Soludo, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria. That victory guaranteed him a second tenure. He handed over to Willie Obiano on March 17, 2014. Anambra State, under Peter Obi, experienced a remarkable turnaround in virtually every sector.
After leaving office in 2014, Obi became a national figure and an advocate of good governance. He decamped to the then ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and he was appointed as chairman of the Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) in 2015. In 2019 he was picked as the running mate to Atiku Abubakar for the 2019 presidential election. Unfortunately, the joint ticket of Atiku/Obi did not succeed as Muhammadu Buhari, contesting under the banner of the All Progressives Congress (APC) won the election.
After the 2019 loss, Obi continued his task as an advocate of good governance until the flag-off of the 2023 presidential election when he picked the PDP presidential nomination form but had to abandon the party over what he called “recent developments” within the party. He crossed over to the Labour Party and succeeded in becoming the presidential flag bearer of the party.
The unassuming Peter Obi, whose biggest selling points are his modesty and humility, has over the years, amassed a rich treasure chest of awards. Some of the awards include the Sun Newspaper’s Man of the Year (2007), This Day’s Most Prudent Governor in Nigeria (2009), This Day’s Governor of the Decade (2020), Zik Leadership Prize (2011) and the Ezeife Leadership Foundation’s Leadership and Good Governance Award (2012).
Others include the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation’s Best Performing Governor on Immunisation in South East Nigeria (2012), Silverbird’s Man of the Year (2013) and the Catholic Diocese of Onitsha’s Golden Jubilee Award (2015).
Ahead of the February 2023 elections, Obi has metamorphosed into something of a phenomenon, with a large chunk of the youths rallying support for him. His followership cuts across tribal lines with Northern youths also rooting for him.
As Peter Obi clocks 61 today, July 19, 2022, perhaps the best birthday wish to give him would be to wish him luck in his presidential ambition, come 2023.