Mark Amaza profiles Peter Obi: An icon of governance (Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2016 Nominee)

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.

He went into business after graduation and became a director of many companies, some of which he chaired, such as 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. He was the youngest Chairman of Fidelity Bank PLC.

In 2003, he went into party politics and contested for the office of the Governor of Anambra State on the platform of the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), in which his rival, Chris Ngige of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP) was declared winner by the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC).

Mr. Obi filed an election petition and after three years of litigation, the Court of Appeal awarded him a victory and he took office in March 2016. Seven months later, he was impeached by the State House of Assembly and replaced by his deputy, Virginia Etiaba. Once again, Obi challenged the impeachment in court, won victory at the Court of Appeal and was reinstated as governor in February 2007.

Mr. Obi was to find himself out of office prematurely a second time as INEC conducted elections for his office in the 2007 General Elections, which Andy Obi of the PDP won. Mr. Obi challenged it in court again, arguing that his 4-year tenure started from March 2006 and had not yet elapsed. The Supreme Court agreed with him and he was reinstated in office.

He served the rest of his term uninterrupted and won a second term in 2010, which ended in March 2014.

Why We Are Nominating Him for Y!/YNaija Person of the Year

As governor, Peter Obi won plaudits for efficient financial management of Anambra State and laying the foundation for its continuity till date. Under his administration, Anambra State was the first state to commence sub-Sovereign Wealth Savings, accumulating up to $500m worth of investment, including $156m in dollar-denominated bonds.

This prudent financial management is a major reason why not only is Anambra State today not indebted, but it is also the reason that Anambra State is the only state to not have received bailouts from the Federal Government.

Another major achievement for Peter Obi as governor was how he improved education in Anambra State. By returning missionary-owned schools to the original owners together with increased investment in the sector, Anambra State moved from 24/36 in WAEC & NECO examinations to number one for three consecutive years.

He also improved healthcare in the state, renovating 5 general hospitals and winning $1m from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation  for being the best-performing state in immunization in the South-East. The prize money was ploughed into primary health care provision in partnership with churches.

Mr. Obi in October was a speaker at The Platform, an annual talk-fest organized by the Covenant Christian Centre in Lagos, where he spoke about how to cut out excessive government spending by giving his own experience as governor. The speech went viral and has been the subject of many debates and articles where he was lauded for his sound management principles, a break from the norm of governors who engage in extravagant spending.

For these, Peter Obi is a nominee for the Y!/YNaija Person of the Year 2016.

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