Peter Otunuya Odili (born 15 August 1948) is a Nigerian politician who was the third Governor of Rivers State in Nigeria from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.[1] Odili is a member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Peter Odili
3rd Governor of Rivers State
In office
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
DeputyGabriel Toby
Preceded bySam Ewang
Succeeded byCelestine Omehia
2nd Deputy Governor of Rivers State
In office
GovernorRufus Ada-George
Preceded byFrank Eke
Succeeded byGabriel Toby
Personal details
Born (1948-08-15) 15 August 1948 (age 75)
Political partyPeoples Democratic Party
SpouseMary Ukaego



Peter Odili was born on 15 August 1948 in the Ogba/Egbema/Ndoni Local Government Area of Rivers State, Southern Nigeria. Odili graduated from the Medical School of the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, and pursued post-graduate work in Tropical Medicine at the University of Liverpool in the United Kingdom.[2] Dr. Peter Odili is married to Justice Mary Ukaego Odili (b. 12 May 1952).[3]

In 1988/89, Dr. Odili was elected member and leader of Rivers State Delegates to the Constituent Assembly. In 1992, he was elected as the Deputy Governor of Rivers State. After the Nigerian Third Republic ended, he was again elected to the National Constitutional Conference and became the Conference Committee Chairman on State Creation. Odili thereafter became the National Secretary of the defunct Democratic Party of Nigeria (DPN).[2]



Odili was elected Governor of Rivers State during the 1999 Rivers State gubernatorial election, and was reelected in April 2003.

In September 2004, Amnesty International wrote an open letter to Odili expressing deep concerns for protection of human rights of civilians in and around Port Harcourt, detailing an increasingly alarming security situation in Rivers State, due to fighting allegedly between rival armed groups.[4] In December 2004, a gang of armed youths believed to be members of the Egbesu cult attacked Odili's convoy along the East-West Road in Port Harcourt killing two people one a policeman [5] In March 2009, the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, headed by retired Supreme Court Justice Kayode Eso, blamed the crisis during Odili's period of office on both the state and the Federal Governments, particularly the administration of President Olusegun Obasanjo. The report outlined interwoven problems of failed governance, chieftaincy tussles, cultism, politics of acrimony and insurgency.[6]

During his governorship, Rivers State was in theory one of the wealthiest states in the country [i.e. Lagos state, Delta state and Rivers State, due to oil and other business infrastructure], but Odili instituted relatively few improvements.[7] In January 2007, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) under Nuhu Ribadu issued an interim report on the governor that pointed to severe implications of fraud, conspiracy, conversion of public funds, foreign exchange malpractice, money laundering, stealing and abuse of oath of office.[8][9] At around the same time Human Rights Watch issued a report detailing pervasive patterns of corruption and mismanagement at the state and local levels under Odili's administration.[10] In February 2007, Odili filed a suit challenging the powers of the EFCC to probe his administration in Rivers State.[11]

In November 2006, Odili announced that he would run for president in the 2007 election under the ruling PDP.[12] However a day before the PDP's presidential primaries held on 16 December 2006, Odili stepped down from the contest, paving the way for another governor, Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, to emerge as the party's flag bearer.[13]

Later career


In June 2008, Odili defended his record before the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission, denying the charges that had been made against him.[14]

As of December 2007, the office of Attorney General then headed by Michael Aondoakaa had refused to file any defense in court against Odili's claim that the EFCC was not authorized to investigate his administration.[11] In March 2008, a Port Harcourt court ruled that the EFCC could not investigate state finances.[7] In September 2009, a Federal High Court sitting in Abuja issued an interim injunction stopping the EFCC from arresting, detaining, prosecuting or embarrassing Odili over a N189m bank debt.[15] However, a few days later the EFCC summoned Odili over alleged debts owed to five banks whose Managing Directors and board had recently been removed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).[16]

In December 2009, the New York Times published an article about the kidnapping industry in Africa. The author talked to a man called Adiele Nwaeze (a professional kidnapper), who accused Odili of having paid him to help rig an election ten years ago by robbing ballot boxes. Odili denied the accusation.[17]

In September 2010, it was reported that former military head of state Ibrahim Babangida, who planned to be a presidential candidate in the 2011 election, was in discussions with Odili over being his running mate as vice-presidential candidate. The choice was said to be due in part to a close relationship between Odili and Raymond Dokpesi, the director general of Babangida's campaign.[18]

See also



  1. ^ "Passport Seizure: Court orders Immigration Service to pay Peter Odili N2 million fine". 21 December 2021. Retrieved 2 March 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Peter Odili". AfDevInfo. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  3. ^ "Mrs. Odili at 55: Celebrating humanity". The Tide (Port Harcourt), Saturday, May 12, 2007. Archived from the original on 17 July 2011. Retrieved 13 May 2007.
  4. ^ "The security situation in Rivers State: an open letter from Amnesty International to Peter Odili, State Governor of Rivers State". Amnesty International. 15 September 2004. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  5. ^ Akeem Ayofe Akinwale (2008). "Circumscribing Conflicts in the Resources Endowed Niger Delta Communities of Nigeria" (PDF). African Review. Archived from the original (PDF) on 23 July 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  6. ^ Jimitota Onoyume (11 March 2009). "Truth Commission Blames Rivers Crises On Odili, Obasanjo Govts". Vanguard. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  7. ^ a b "Nigeria ex-governor halts probe". BBC News. 6 March 2008. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  8. ^ Nuhu Ribadu (4 January 2007). "Interim Report of the EFCC on Governor Peter Odili". Nigerian Affairs. Archived from the original on 1 May 2009. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  9. ^ "EFCC's Report: How Odili looted over N100 billion Rivers fund". PointBlank News. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  10. ^ "Chop Fine: The Human Rights Impact of Local Government Corruption in Rivers State, Nigeria". Human Rights Watch. January 2007. Retrieved 25 November 2009.
  11. ^ a b Wole Arisekola (10 December 2007). "NIGERIA ATTORNEY GENERAL MICHAEL AONDOAKAA MOVES TO STALL PETER ODILI'S CORRUPTION CASE IN PORT HARCOURT". Streetjournal Magazine. Archived from the original on 28 September 2011. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  12. ^ "Odili Bows to Pressure …declares for Presidency". Beam News. 4 December 2006. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  13. ^ Temple Chima Ubochi (21 March 2007). "ODILI VS YAR´ADUA; OBASANJO'S DILEMMA DURING THE PDP NATIONAL CONVENTION". Nigeria World. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  14. ^ Ashimole Felix (23 June 2008). "Peter Odili Appears at the Rivers State Truth and Reconciliation Commission". FocusNigeria. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  15. ^ Ise-Oluwa Ige (3 September 2009). "Ex-Gov Odili gets court's relief on N189m loan, assets". Vanguard. Retrieved 18 October 2009.
  16. ^ "EFCC summons Odili, Okereke-Onyiuke, 5 others". Vanguard. 7 September 2009. Retrieved 29 September 2015.
  17. ^ Schmidle, Nicholas (4 December 2009). "The Hostage Business". New York Times. Retrieved 6 December 2009.
  18. ^ Soji Bamidele (14 September 2010). "Babangida picks Odili as running mate". Archived from the original on 13 November 2011. Retrieved 15 September 2010.