Peter Obi is a wealthy businessman and former governor of Anambra State, Nigeria.
The Labour Party (LP) presidential candidate has emerged as a powerful force in the February 25 election due to his promise to bring about change in Africa’s most populous country.
On the same scale, Peter Obi has energized voters with messages of prudence and accountability, which have been amplified by an army of social media users dubbed “Obidients.”
His supporters, largely under 40 years old, are backing his largely unknown Labour Party against two septuagenarian political heavyweights.
The two heavyweights are Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) candidate Atiku Abubakar and All Progressives Congress (APC) candidate Bola Ahmed Tinubu.
Interestingly, many of those backing Obi took part in anti-police brutality (#EndSars) protests in 2020, and now they are deploying the same tactics that mobilised hundreds of thousands of young Nigerians to raise millions of naira within weeks for the 61-year-old.
This group considers Obi as an alternative to the two parties that have dominated politics since the end of military rule in 1999.
While many supporters of the main opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and neutral observers agree that Obi comes across as a better and more rational choice, they claim he lacks the nationwide popularity to win the election in a deeply ethnically divided country.
Peter Obi dumped the PDP just days before its presidential primary in May, and the party proceeded to choose the 75-year-old former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as its presidential flagbearer.
Immediately after declaring his intention to run for office on the Labour Party ticket, some PDP supporters perceived him as a distraction from the common goal of removing the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
Some analysts have also claimed Peter Obi’s candidacy will be a litmus test for trusting a third force to wrestle power from the traditional parties in Africa.
Such third forces have failed elsewhere in Africa, especially where voting patterns are ethnically lopsided.
Some critics have also questioned whether he truly represents a break from the corruption he routinely condemns, citing his name in the leaked Pandora Papers, which exposed the hidden wealth of the rich and powerful in 2021.
While Peter Obi has not been accused of stealing public money, he failed to declare offshore accounts and assets held by family members.
In the same vein, as governor, he was also accused of investing state funds in a company he had dealings with.
He denied any wrongdoing and insists that the value of the investment has since grown.
Obidients see Obi as the right man to take down the APC and PDP behemoths, seen as different sides of the same coin.
The two parties have long been accused of abetting corruption and misappropriating taxpayer money.
What’s more, he’s seen as an alternative to the old guard, which they feel has done little for them.
Peter Obi’s candidacy has also rekindled the debate on religion. Christians in the country, who form half the population, may want to vote for one of their own.
This is especially true in light of the fact that the outgoing President Muhammadu Buhari has been in power for eight years, and the Christians may resent the thought of another Muslim taking over.
Knowing the polarizing nature of the religion debate, Peter Obi has downplayed his religion, but a keen eye would notice his dalliance with Nigeria’s Pentecostal churches and Christian communities in the north.
Igbo vs Yoruba
Some also support Obi because of his ethnic background. Igbos make up a significant proportion of the population in the southeast of Nigeria, and many feel marginalized by successive governments.
In the votes currently streaming in from the southeast and other Igbo-dominated areas, it is evident that the community voted for the Labour Party candidate as a block.
Apart from the founding father, Nnamdi Azikiwe, the Igbo have not produced another president.
But many fear ethnic sentiments could feature strongly in the poll, especially considering that APC’s Bola Ahmed Tinubu is a Yoruba.
The Igbo and Yoruba have been at political loggerheads over supremacy, with the situation aggravating after the Biafran War (1967–1970).
Peter Obi wife
Peter Obi’s wife, Margaret Brownson Usen, was born on September 9, 1972, and hails from Calabar in Cross River State.
Margaret has been married to Peter Obi for 30 years. The two tied the knot in 1992.
Margaret Obi is the driving force behind her husband’s National Gender Affirmative Action, a campaign to ensure women were given a seat in Obi’s cabinet while he was governor of Anambra.
Peter Obi children
The couple has two children: a daughter, Gabriella Nwamaka Frances Obi, and a son, Gregory Peter Oseloka Obi. Both children are reportedly based outside the country.
Peter Obi net worth
Peter Obi is an astute entrepreneur who has achieved a lot in business and politics.
Currently, Peter Obi’s net worth is estimated at $10 million (about Ksh 1.2 billion).
He was the heir apparent to his family’s business when his father passed away.
He has diverse assets around the globe, which have aided in the growth of his investment. For instance, his family runs grocery chains in Lagos, Anambra, and Abuja.
He has also invested in financial industries, including banks and stock brokerage firms.
Some even say the $10 million net worth is a conservative estimate given Peter Obi’s numerous mansions and manors across Nigeria and the United Kingdom.
According to the Pandora Papers released in 2021, Obi has secretly stashed a large sum of money in the US.
Peter Obi companies
Peter Obi’s family has invested heavily in the retail sector. He owns a supermarket chain that operates in Lagos, Anambra, and Abuja.
On the same scale, he has investments in a variety of financial services firms, such as banks and stock brokerages, among others.
He has served in a variety of managerial and business capacities for a number of well-known organizations throughout his career.
Peter Obi served as Chairman of the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) under the administration of former President Goodluck Ebele Jonathan (SEC).
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He’s also an investor in a number of multinational franchises, including South African international breweries, Ovaltine, and Heinz products, among others.
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