Mr. Godwin Nogheghase Obaseki (born July 1, 1957) is an investment banker and politician. He was re-elected as governor in September 2020, after a defining political tussle many have come to describe as the battle to rescue Edo State from high-handed political overlords. He became the Edo State Governor in his first shot at an elective position in 2016, after working for over three decades in the private sector. He served as the Managing Director and Founder of Afrinvest, which he set up in 1995. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stock Brokers, and an Alumnus of the Lagos Business School Chief Executive Programme. He succeeded Comrade Adams Oshiomhole as governor of Edo State.
Born in Benin City, Edo State, Nigeria, 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 both in Benin City, for secondary education.
Obaseki thereafter proceeded to the University of Ibadan, where he obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Classics. For the mandatory National Youth Service Corps Scheme, he was posted to and 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.
Obaseki was a founding Secretary, in 1992, of a US-based Africa Chamber of Commerce which promoted US organisations doing business in Africa. He was also former Director of Junior Achievement of Nigeria – the local affiliate of the international non-profit organisation, which trains students to appreciate market economy values.
He was nominated a Global Leader for Tomorrow (GLT) by the World Economic Forum in 2001.
He began his career as a stockbroker in 1983 with Capital Trust Brokers Limited, Lagos. He later transferred his services to the International Merchant Bank, an affiliate of First Chicago Bank.
Thereafter, he moved to AVC Funds Limited, Lagos, in 1988, where he served as a Project Manager and led the core team that set up two of the new generation banks. He moved back to New York and worked, between 1993 and 1995, as a Principal of Equatorial Finance Company, a Financial Advisory firm, focusing on Africa and providing Structured Trade Finance for African-related transactions through credit, financial advisory, and risk insurance.
In 1995, Godwin Obaseki founded Afrinvest 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.
It was appointed the correspondent stockbroker for Nigeria by the International Finance Corporation (IFC) in 1995, and in 1996. Afrinvest established the first derivative product, the Nigerian International Debt Fund (NIDF) on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, which allowed Nigerians to invest local savings in US Dollar instrument.
With Obaseki leading a number of translation transactions, SecTrust pioneered and was local adviser on the first global offering by a Nigerian bank through the issuance of Global Depositary Shares (GDS) to raise UD$50 million from the international Capital market.
As a leading investment firm, Afrinvest acted as adviser on some of the most critical transactions in the Nigerian capital market since 2005. It has grown a reputation of being one of the most trusted advisory firms in the domestic corporate finance market. In 2014, the firm won the Best Asset Management Firm in Nigeria Award by the Wealth & Finance International Magazine Finance Awards.
Obaseki was to later step down from his position as Chairman of the Board of Directors of Afrinvest in September, 2016, to contest the gubernatorial elections in Edo State.
The Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government has engaged in numerous socio-economic development projects and policies, spanning healthcare, education and other aspects of the social sector. The state government is building and reconstructing about 200 Primary Healthcare Centres across the state.
The governor’s focus in the health sector is to develop a viable primary healthcare system to provide affordable and accessible health services to people in the state. He launched the Edo State Social Health Insurance Scheme to provide for a robust sector that will attract private investors to check out-of-pocket spending for health services.
In education, Obaseki launched the Edo Basic Education Sector Transformation (Edo-BEST) programme, an initiative to train and equip public school teachers with top-of-the-range skills and expertise to enable them deploy Information and Communication Technologies (ICTs) in classrooms. This has tremendously improved learning outcomes.
Over 11,300 teachers have been trained to deliver tech-based teaching in schools, which is being implemented in 918 public schools and benefiting over 300,000 school pupils across the state. There is also a strong emphasis on technical education, which has seen the revamp of the Government Science and Technical College (formerly Benin Technical College) to train hands-on workforce in the state. These programmes are being expanded to more schools across the state.
The State Government has a deliberate policy to attract private sector investors into the state to drive the government’s industrialization vision.
With the right incentives, the state has attracted the 6000bpd Edo Modular Refinery and the 550MW Ossiomo Power Company (out of which 95MW is now operational). These projects have already began to redefine the industrial landscape of the state. The refinery is 100 percent complete and is set to receive crude for production. The Power plant is already providing 24 hours electricity to government offices and public buildings, while willing, large private consumers such as malls, supermarkets, among others, have been connected to the facility.
Poised to galvanized investment in oil palm plantations, Governor Obaseki has also partnered with the Central Bank of Nigeria to provide support for the development of plantations across different locations in the state.
Governor Godwin Obaseki-led government in Edo State is very keen on ICT development, which explains the focus on a number of projects that support and promote adoption of ICT in everyday life.
He has also been at the forefront of the fight against human trafficking and illegal migration.
In line with this, the state government converted the old Institute of Continuing Education (ICE) to the Edo Innovation Hub, which among other offerings, houses the South South Innovation Hub. At the facility, not less 1500 youths have been trained in coding and other digital skills, including beginner, intermediate and advanced computing skills for improved productivity.
The State Government has also adopted the Edo Revenue Administration System (ERAS), a novel revenue system that automates government revenue collection and ensures efficient monitoring and management. The system, for instance, ensures that revenue cards are used in collecting government fees, dues and other related charged.
He is married to Betsy Obaseki, a financial expert. She holds BSc. and MSc. Degrees in Accounting from the University of Lagos, and is an alumnus of the Kellogg’s School of Business Executive Management Programme, USA.