Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki, popularly known as Governor Godwin Obaseki of Edo state, has made the headlines in recent months, not necessarily for being a principal officer of the state, but particularly with regard to the upcoming Edo state gubernatorial election which has produced feisty and stunning dramatics owing to the protracted political fight between the governor and his former political godfather, Comrade Adams Oshiomhole; a fight which has also drawn the All Progressives Congress flagbearer, Pastor Osagie Ize-Iyamu, into the heat of the battlements.
With the Edo state Gubernatorial election coming up in a matter of days, Daily Times takes a look at 5 things to know about the man in the headlines, Governor Godwin Obaseki.
(1) Early days: Obaseki was born on July 1, 1957 in Benin City. Obaseki is the third child of Late Pa Roland Obaseki and Gbinigie of Owina Street, Ogbelaka Quarters, Benin City. He attended St. Matthew’s Primary School for his primary school education and proceeded to Eghosa Grammar School, in Benin City, for secondary education.
(2) Education: Obaseki thereafter proceeded to the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classics. For his mandatory one year National Youth Service, he served in Jos, Plateau state. He later left Nigeria for the United States to attend Columbia University and Pace University in New York, where he obtained an MBA in Finance and International Business.
(3) Investment banker: Obaseki began his career as a stockbroker in 1983 with Capital Trust Brokers Limited, Lagos. He later transferred his services to the International Merchant Bank. He moved to AVC Funds Limited, Lagos, in 1988, where he served as a Project Manager. He moved back to New York and worked as a Principal of Equatorial Finance Company, a Financial Advisory firm. He focused on Africa and provided Structured Trade Finance for African-related transactions.
(4) Enterpreneural foray: In 1995, Godwin Obaseki founded Afrivest West Africa Limited (formerly Securities Transactions & Trust Company Limited (SecTrust), which has grown to become one of the most reputable investment banking and management firms in Nigeria.
Obaseki later stepped down from his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afrinvest in September, 2016, to contest the gubernatorial election in Edo State
(5) The politician: Before becoming the Edo State Governor, Obaseki served as Chairman of the Economic and Strategy Team (EST). In that capacity, he pioneered a number of policy reforms that saw the state restructure its public finance, secure funding for infrastructure and improve the business environment to attract investment in power, agriculture and other critical sectors. Obaseki was also instrumental in attracting the Edo-Azura power project, with support from World Bank to the state.
On 29 September 2016, Obaseki was elected the Governor of Edo State under the platform of the All Progressives Congress. During the 2020 Edo Gubernatorial Election, Obaseki sought for re-election under the APC but was controversially disqualified by the party’s Primary Election Screening Committee from contesting the primary elections, citing missing letters on the governor’s National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) certificate and what other observers described as spurious excuses surrounding the governor’s university.
The governor has since defected to the Peoples Democratic Party to further his political career, a move which has further exacerbated an already festered relationship with his former benefactor, Adams Osiomhole.