By Wilfred Eya


After the 2023 presidential election, where he was the standard bearer of the Labour Party (LP), Mr. Peter Gregory Obi assumed a towering image of a political icon.

Born in Onitsha in 1961, Obi attended Christ the King College, Onitsha, and later graduated from the University of Nigeria in 1984. He is an alumnus of Lagos Business School and Harvard Business School, where he completed two major programmes, the London School of Economics, Columbia Business School, and the International Institute for Management Development, among others.

Prior to his involvement in politics, he held leadership positions in major private sector organizations including Next International Nigeria Ltd; Chairman 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.

In politics, he has been governor of Anambra State for eight year, from 2006-2014. He was a vice presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in 2019. He had served as a member of the presidential economic team during the President Goodluck Jonathan government.

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For the 2023 presidential election, Obi exhibited an uncommon act of bravery and political will in 2022, when he left the PDP, where he was a presidential aspirant, to join the relatively unknown Labour Party (LP). Soon after, he emerged as the presidential candidate of LP, as other aspirants of the party, knowing his political clout, deferred to him and withdrew from the race.

As presidential candidate of LP, Obi ran a political campaign that was revolutionary in outlook between 2022 and 2023. He did the unexpected, igniting a new national consciousness for a new Nigeria. His became a strong political movement that was never seen in Nigeria, as the old, young, male and female rooted for him.

Against the expectations of those who thought they were political lords in Nigeria, Obi became a hero of the people, including former leaders of the country. The change, which his candidature at the presidential poll brought to the political landscape of Nigeria, was indicative of the desire of many Nigerians for a better country.

For altering the political calculations in the land, many political elites of the old brigade began to see him as a torn in the flesh, while a large chunk of the new generation saw him as the new face of Nigerian politics and deacon of hope. In the presidential election, Obi came a close third with six million votes, garnering 25 per cent, in an election where the winner had only 37 per cent. This showed that his Obidient movement was accepted by Nigerians.

Feeling strongly that the results of the 2023 presidential election released by the electoral umpire did not reflect the wishes of the people, Obi pursued the matter to a logical end at the highest court in the land.  He has become a global citizen as leaders across the world now cite him as the new face of Nigeria’s struggle to have good leaders.

With such qualities as transparency, accountability and deep knowledge of national and global economic issues, which endeared him to Nigerians, Obi is The Sun Political Icon of the Year 2023.