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Olusegun Matthew Aremu Okiola Obasanjo


Olusegun Obasanjo is a retired Nigerian army general and also a former President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He ruled Nigeria twice;first as military ruler and then as elected president

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Created: 23rd Jun 2008
Modified: 24th Jun 2008
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Olusegun Matthew Aremu Okiola Obasanjo
(At a Glance)
Date of Birth: Mar/5/1937
Gender: male
Place of Origin: Nigeria
Olusegun Obasanjo was born in the Ogun State of Nigeria on 5th March 1937. He attended the Baptist Boys' High School and worked as a teacher afterwards.

In 1958,he joined the army because he could not afford to continue his education and trained at Aldershot in England. He rose quickly in the army ranks. During the Nigerian Civil War-the Biafran War-between 1967 and 1970,he headed a commando division which fought against the Biafran secessionists.

After the military coup led by Brigadier General Murtala Mohammed on July 29 ,1975,Obasanjo was named Vice President in the new government. Mohammed's goal was to hand over power to civilian rule by 1979. However,he was killed by coup plotters on February 13,1976 and Obasanjo took over as President. Obasanjo continued with Mohammed's plan of handing over to civilian rule thus,elections were held in 1979 in which Obasanjo did not contest. He also retired from the military. On October 1,1979, Shehu Sagari became President of Nigeria.

Obasanjo became a teacher at the University of Ibadan after he handed over to Shehu Sagari. He also worked as a diplomat and held different positions in the UN and with other organizations.

He spoke out against human rights abuses which occurred during General Sani Abacha's regime in Nigeria which began in 1993. In 1995, Obasanjo was imprisoned for allegedly organizing a coup against General Abacha. He was only released upon Abacha's death on 8 June 1998.

He then joined the People's Democratic Party and contested in the elections held in 1999. These elections were the first democratic elections to be held in sixteen(16) years.With nearly 63% of the votes,Obasanjo won the elections and became President of Nigeria.
As President, Obasanjo aimed to alleviate poverty,reduce corruption in the state and establish a democracy.During his term of office however,there was a lot of religious and ethnic strife in the state.
In the next elections held in April,2003, Obasanjo won more than 60% of the votes and was elected to a second term of office. The defeated candidates however claimed that the election had been rigged.
In his second term of office,Obasanjo in leading a public campaign against corruption, dismissed or prosecuted some ministers and government officials who were found to be corrupt.

In 2006,Obasanjo came under both domestic and international criticism for attempting to amend the Nigerian Constitution in order that he would be able to stand for election to a third term of office. His proposed amendment was rejected by the Senate. In April 2007 he stepped down and he was succeeded by Umaru Yar'Adua who won the elections and was sworn into office on May 29,2007.

Obasanjo has now become Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the People's Democratic Party in Nigeria.

He is also a member of the Africa Progress Panel which seeks to focus world leaders' attention on delivering the commitments made towards the development of Africa.

Topical Focus  » Olusegun Matthew Aremu Okiola Obasanjo

Nigeria: Obasanjo to Quit Politics?

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo - one of Nigeria's foremost nationalists - has indicated interest to retire from active politics.

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Nigeria, United States