Meet The Candidates – Peter Obi & Datti Baba-Ahmed
001. His Excellency Peter Gregory Obi, CON
Peter Obi, CON, is a successful businessman, politician, public servant, and philanthropist, who is contesting to be the President of Nigeria in the 2023 election under the platform of the Labour Party.
Mr Obi served the people of Anambra State as their Executive Governor between 2006 and 2014. During his tenure, he demonstrated his core values of integrity, focus on human capital development, financial prudence, and an uncompromising commitment to public service, which has defined his globally recognised brand identity.
Early Life and Education
Born July 19, 1961 in the commercial city of Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria, Obi attended the renowned Christ the King College, Onitsha before proceeding to the University of Nigeria, Nsukka where he earned his Bachelor’s Degree in Philosophy in 1984. He embarked on his one-year mandatory National Youth Service Corps program.
Upon completion of his mandatory national service, Obi began his foray into business, building his way up while exemplifying the modest Christian values he had been raised by. Bracing different challenges along the way, his business provided him the privilege of meeting people of different tribes as he travelled the length and breadth of Nigeria, building strong relationships, many of which have gone on to last for decades.
Over the years, Obi established himself as an astute businessman, founding a retail business that has created thousands of jobs for young Nigerians, while investing in several other businesses across different sectors of the Nigerian economy, which are to date still helping to create valuable jobs for Nigerians. His experience and keen eye for spotting business opportunities led to him to occupying various board seats in different organizations. They include the Board of Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) where he was Chairman, Guardian Express Mortgage Bank and Fidelity Bank, where he was also Board Chairman, and Guardian Express Bank Plc, Chams Nigeria Plc, Emerging Capital Ltd and Card Center Plc, in which he held positions as Director.
In 2002, convinced that things could be better for the people of his home state, Obi campaigned for and won the seat of Governor of Anambra State. However, it took 3 years of legal wrangling for him to be pronounced winner after his major opponent was illegally declared winner and sworn in as Governor. He took office in March 2006 and began the process of implementing his Anambra States Integrated Development Strategy (ANIDS), a localized version of the United Nations’ Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), which was geared at reducing poverty, child mortality, hunger and a number of other prevailing social issues.
Obi’s innovative leadership had at its foundation the belief that every society can only prosper when its people are well and truly empowered to create wealth. To achieve this, he focused majorly on improving the education standards in the state, establishing critical health infrastructure, implementing business boosting policies while ensuring the security of lives and properties within the state.
Despite being wrongly challenged through impeachment twice, Obi’s visionary policies saw Anambra State move 16 places up in education rankings, to becoming the number one state in Nigeria. His administration invested heavily in clean water schemes, waste management, support for primary, secondary, even tertiary healthcare centres, vocational skill acquisition, and much more.
By the time Obi was re-elected for a second term in 2010, he had already engrained full transparency in how the government’s business was run, maintaining a very prudent approach to management of state resources in order to reduce fiscal waste and maximise delivery of important amenities to his people.
A key hallmark of Obi’s two terms in office was the effective collaboration between the public sector, private sector, development partners, and civil society organizations which ensured that most of the policies implemented were well monitored, evaluated and improved upon. Working closely with development partners such as UNDP, UNICEF, the World Bank, DFID and the European Union, Obi’s administration ensured global best practices were maintained in the quest to improve the quality of life within the state.
Under his leadership, Anambra State became the first state to establish a Sub-Sovereign Wealth Fund, the first of its kind in Sub-Saharan Africa, which had about $156million in dollar-denominated bonds by the end of his tenure as governor. His administration built from scratch, the first state-owned Teaching Hospital, Chukwuemeka Odumegwu-Ojukwu Teaching Hospital, Awka, going further to obtain full accreditation for 12 other health institutions, none of which were accredited before he took office in 2006. His school administration policies have ensured that the standard of education in Anambra State has remained excellent till date.
As has been recurring in his life journey, where both peers and the public place great trust in his abilities to serve diligently, he was elected as the Vice-Chairman, Nigeria Governors’ Forum (2008-2014) and Chairman, South-East Governors’ Forum (2006-2014); despite being the only governor in the region belonging to a different party.
Preparation for Further Service
Before being Governor and since leaving office, Obi has kept abreast of evolving trends in human capital development, community development and poverty alleviation. He has attended numerous executive programs at some of the best institutions in the world including the Lagos Business School, Harvard Business School, the London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, New York, Institute for Management Development, Kellogg Graduate School of Management, Oxford University, INSEAD, and many more.
His focus has remained to understand the best ways – in policy and implementation – to create a Nigerian dream where every Nigerian is able to contribute meaningfully to the progress of the nation, while living a productive life for themselves.
An Obidient Call To Serve His Nation
In the run-up to the 2023 General Elections in Nigeria, Obi has become the voice of hope for a better Nigeria, presenting himself as a Presidential Candidate under the Labour Party. His candidacy has rekindled a belief in the possibility of Nigeria toeing a new path, away from entrenched corruption that has held it back for years, especially due to his standing as a significant candidate unaffiliated with either of Nigeria’s two older parties.
Obi’s 2023 presidential campaign has received widespread support, notably among young Nigerians, who have self-organized and championed his cause while referring to themselves as Obi-dients. His supporters believe that his integrity, efficient resource management, business acumen, respect for the rule of law, security antecedents in Anambra and overall focus on developing human capital are what Nigeria requires to regain its pride of place in the world.
Obi, who is married to Margaret Brownson Obi (Nee Usen), has two children, and has garnered various national and international honours, including Commander of the Order of Niger (CON), one of Nigeria’s national honours.
Continuous Contribution to Nation Building
Following the end of his tenure as the Governor of Anambra State, Obi was appointed the Honorary Special Adviser to the President on Finance, a position he held until May 2015, while also serving as a member of the Presidential Economic Management Team. Given his efficient management of state funds as governor, and his establishment of a healthy reserve for his successor, his contributions were thought to be invaluable to the nation, hence his additional national duties, which he fully executed until a new federal government was sworn-in.
Despite being out of government since 2015, Obi has become one of the most recognizable voices for a new Nigeria, one where character and competence are at the base of what it takes to lead the government and any of its agencies. Through various engagements and shared opinions, he has established the need for a more cost-sensitive and effective government where corruption is greatly reduced, and transparency of process is commonplace.
In 2019, as Vice Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, he raised and drove the conversation for Nigeria and Nigerians to switch to a production mindset and economy, and ensure that the nation’s resources were properly managed to yield the best results.
002. Senator Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed (PhD)
Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is an established educationist, businessman, and public servant, who is running for the position of the Vice President of Nigeria in the 2023 general elections under the platform of the Labour Party.
Datti was previously a Member of the Federal House of Representatives, representing the people of Zaria Federal Constituency of Kaduna State in the 5th National Assembly and shortly in the 7th National Assembly.
Early Life and Education
Born July 7, 1969 to the prestigious Baba-Ahmed family of Zaria, Yusuf Datti spent most of his early days acquiring relevant skills, knowledge and qualitifications, which included a Bachelor of Science degree and Master of Science degree in Economics from the University of Maiduguri in Borno State.
Upon completion of his initial studies, he moved to Ogun State for his national service year, serving at the University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Ogun State. Soon after, he began his career as Projects Coordinator, at Baze Research and Data Services Ltd., before joining the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company, Lagos as an Officer II. His next career stint was at the First Bank of Nigeria Plc where he worked as a Banking Officer between 1997 and 1998, before returning to Baze Research and Data Services as its Managing Director in July 1999. For the next 3 years, he was in charge of strategic vision and growth of the business before venturing into politics.
At the young age of 34, the people of Zaria Federal Constituency in Kaduna State elected Yusuf Datti to represent them in the 5th National Assembly, given his successful private sector career and impressive educational background. He was sworn in on May 29, 2003 and served for 4 years mostly helping to bring to fore the plight of his people, while contributing to the proposition and passing of policies and laws, many of which today the country is still benefiting from.
In 2011, Datti ran for and won the Kaduna North Senatorial seat but was unable to see out his 4-year term as the election was challenged in court, resulting in his victory being overturned.
Establishing a Technocrat Legacy
All through his life, Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has shown a unique quest for knowledge, only rivalled by his desire to implement policies that work in the interest of Nigeria and Nigerians. His belief that Nigeria needs capable hands that understand where the world is headed and possess the skills to properly position for that future has been the guiding light for the profile he has built.
Since completing his Master of Science in Economics degree back in 1995, he has received a Master of Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales, and a Ph.D in Economics from the University of Westminster, London.
He has also received different levels of executive management and strategic leadership training from the Harvard Business School, Boston, London Business School, and the London School of Practical Economics.
Given the dire state of affairs of the country, Datti has since picked a keen interest in national and international security management, stepping outside of his economics and management background, to receive training on national and international security, from the Harvard Kennedy School, Boston, Massachusetts. He has consistently shared a number of practical ideas for tackling Nigeria’s security challenges and its corruption problem which has been one of the major drivers of the rapidly expanding terror across regions.
Sen. Yusuf Datti is currently the Pro-Chancellor of Baze University, the Managing Director and Chairman of Baze Construction Ltd & Baze Research & Data Service Ltd, all organizations of his which employ over 1000 Nigerians at home and in the diaspora.
Outside of politics, Sen. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed has continued to play a vital role in the improvement of the living standards of his immediate constituents and the larger Nigerian populace through his philanthropy.
As an educationist, he built and donated two junior secondary schools with a total capacity of 4,000 students. Since the schools began operation, it has graduated over 6,000 students, many of whom have gone on to acquire higher degrees and in-demand vocational skills in their various regions.
His educational portofilio of socially impactful projects extends beyond school donation projects, as he founded the independent Baze University in Abuja, Nigeria back in 2011 with the main aim of improving the standard of education Nigerian students receive, after comparing the quality of his studies abroad to those of the Nigerian school system and declared it to be “appalling”. His vision for founding Baze University is to “contribute towards fixing the educational system in order for Nigeria to realize its potential and address various challenges that plague it”.
Moving beyond education, he has also invested in the critical health sector of the country, having built a 200-bed teaching hospital with state-of-the-art medical facilities and a total floor space of roughly 14,000 square meters, making it the largest of its kind in Nigeria. This facility provides comprehensive medical services to members of public while providing high-quality medical education to its students, as a unique approach to closing the gaps in the Nigerian health-care system through production of qualified healthcare workers who are able to help minimize the need for medical toursim.
A New Chapter
Sen. Yusuf Datti Baba-Ahmed is making a return to active politics after successful contributions to the private sector, as well as public sector mostly as a vocal voice against government excesses and widespread corruption. He is currently a member of the Labour Party of Nigeria and is the Vice Presidential running mate of His Excellency, Mr. Peter Obi in the 2023 general elections.
The duo have enjoyed a lot of organic support from Nigerians, both young and old, many of whom believe in their quality of character and capacity to save the country and set it on a new course.