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Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo

Introduction

About

OLUSEGUN OBASANJO

Chief Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Ogunboye Aremu Obasanjo GCFR, born around March 5, 1937, is a retired Nigerian military officer and statesman. He served as Nigeria's head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as its president from 1999 to 2007. Ideologically, he identified as a Nigerian nationalist and was affiliated with the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from 1998 to 2015 and again since 2018.


Born in Ibogun-Olaogun, Nigeria, to a farming family of the Owu branch of the Yoruba, Obasanjo received his education mainly in Abeokuta, Ogun State. Joining the Nigerian Army, he specialized in engineering, rising to the rank of major. During the Nigerian Civil War, he played a significant role in combating Biafran separatists and oversaw their surrender in 1970.


Following a military coup in 1975, Obasanjo became head of state after the assassination of the ruling triumvirate's leader, Murtala Muhammed. Continuing Muhammed's policies, he focused on budgetary cut-backs, expanding access to education, and aligning Nigeria with the United States while supporting anti-apartheid efforts in southern Africa. Committed to restoring democracy, he oversaw the 1979 election and transferred power to the civilian government.

In 1993, Sani Abacha seized power, leading to a period of political turmoil during which Obasanjo was imprisoned on charges of plotting a coup. During his imprisonment, he became a born-again Christian. Released in 1998 after Abacha's death, Obasanjo entered electoral politics, winning the 1999 presidential election.


As president, Obasanjo focused on de-politicizing the military, combating ethnic and religious violence, and initiating economic reforms. He prioritized education, healthcare, and infrastructure development, while also championing anti-corruption measures and debt relief efforts.


Internationally, Obasanjo advocated for Pan-African cooperation and played a significant role in the formation of the African Union, serving as its chair from 2004 to 2006. However, his attempts to change the constitution to abolish presidential term limits were met with criticism.

After retiring from politics, Obasanjo remained active in international diplomacy and founded the Africa Leadership Forum. He has been both praised for his contributions to Nigerian democracy and Pan-African efforts and criticized for alleged corruption and human rights abuses during his presidency.


Obasanjo lived a polygamous lifestyle, marrying multiple women and fathering children with them. Despite his Yoruba ethnicity, he emphasized his Nigerian identity above all. Described as disciplined and deeply religious, he maintained a commitment to Biblical literalism and orthodox Pentecostal teaching.


REFERENCE: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olusegun_Obasanjo

March 5, 1937

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Place of Birth: Ibogun-Olaogun

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Date of Birth: March 5, 1937

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