Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo

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Name: Olusegun Obasanjo
Occupation: World Leader
Gender: Male
Birth Day: March 5, 1937
Age: 83
Country: Nigeria
Zodiac Sign: Pisces

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Olusegun Obasanjo

Olusegun Obasanjo was born on March 5, 1937 in Nigeria (83 years old). Olusegun Obasanjo is a World Leader, zodiac sign: Pisces. Find out Olusegun Obasanjonet worth 2020, salary 2020 detail bellow.


Before becoming President, he was an opponent of what he viewed as severe human rights abuses by dictator Sani Abacha and was jailed for his involvement in a failed coup.

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Before Fame

He grew up in Abeokuta and enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958. He was promoted to Chief Army Engineer in 1967.

Biography Timeline


Obasanjo's father was a farmer and until he was eleven years old, the boy was involved in agricultural labour. Aged eleven, he then started an education at the local village primary school, something encouraged by his father. After three years, in 1951, he moved on to the Baptist Day School in the Owu quarter of Abeokuta. In 1952 he transferred to the Baptist Boys' High School, also in the town. His school fees were partly financed by state grants. Obasanjo did well academically, and at school became a keen member of the local Boy Scouts. Although there is no evidence that he was involved in any political groups at the time, it was at secondary school that Obasanjo rejected his forename of "Matthew" as an act of anti-colonialism. Meanwhile, Obasanjo's father had abandoned his wife and two children. Falling into poverty, Obasanjo's mother had to operate in trading to survive. To pay his school fees, Obasanjo worked on cocoa and kola farms, fished, collected firewood, and sold sand to builders. During the school holidays he also worked at the school, cutting the grass and other manual jobs.


In 1956, Obasanjo took his secondary school exams, having borrowed money to pay for the entry fees. That same year, he began courting Oluremi Akinlawon, the Owu daughter of a station master. They were engaged to be married by 1958. Leaving school, he moved to Ibadan, where he took a teaching job. There, he sat the entrance exam for University College Ibadan, but although he passed it he found that he could not afford the tuition fees. Obasanjo then decided to pursue a career as a civil engineer, and to access this profession, in 1958 answered an advert for officer cadet training in the Nigerian Army.


In March 1958, Obasanjo enlisted in the Nigerian Army. He saw it as an opportunity to continue his education while earning a salary; he did not immediately inform his family, fearing that his parents would object. It was at this time that the Nigerian Army was being transferred to the control of the Nigerian colonial government, in preparation for an anticipated full Nigerian independence, and there were attempts afoot to get more native Nigerians into the higher ranks of its military. He was then sent to a Regular Officers' Training School at Teshie in Ghana. When stationed abroad, he sent letters and presents to his fiancé in Nigeria. In September 1958 he was selected for six months of additional training at Mons Officer Cadet School in Aldershot, southern England. Obasanjo disliked it there, believing that it was a classist and racist institution, and found it difficult adjusting to the colder, wetter English weather. It reinforced his negative opinions of the British Empire and its right to rule over its colonised subjects. At Mons, he received a commission and a certificate in engineering. While Obasanjo was in England, his mother died. His father then died a year later.


In 1959 Obasanjo returned to Nigeria. There, he was posted to Kaduna as an infantry subaltern with the Fifth Battalion. His time in Kaduna was the first time that Obasanjo lived in a Muslim-majority area. It was while he was there, in October 1960, that Nigeria became an independent country. Shortly after, the Fifth Battalion were sent to the Congo as part of a United Nations peacekeeping force. There, the battalion were stationed in Kivu Province, with their headquarters at Bukavu. In the Congo, Obasanjo and others were responsible for protecting civilians, including Belgian settlers, against Soldiers who had mutinied against Patrice Lumumba's government. In February 1961, Obasanjo was captured by the mutineers while he was evacuating Roman Catholic missionaries from a station near Bukavu. The mutineers considered executing him but were ordered to release him. In May 1961, the Fifth Battalion left the Congo and returned to Nigeria. During the conflict, he had been appointed a temporary captain. He later noted that the time spent in the Congo strengthened the "Pan-African fervour" of his battalion.


On his return, Obasanjo bought his first car, and was hospitalised for a time with a stomach ulcer. On his recovery, he was transferred to the Army Engineering Corps. In 1962 he was stationed at the Royal College of Military Engineering in England. There, he excelled and was described as "the best Commonwealth student ever". That year, he paid for Akinlawon to travel to London where she could join a training course. The couple married in June 1963 at the Camberwell Green Registry Office, only informing their families after the event. That year, Obasanjo was ordered back to Nigeria, although his wife remained in London for three more years to finish her course. Once in Nigeria, Obasanjo took command of the Field Engineering Squadron based at Kaduna. Within the military, Obasanjo steadily progressed through the ranks, becoming a major in 1965. He used his earning to purchase land, in the early 1960s obtaining property in Ibadan, Kaduna, and Lagos. In 1965, Obasanjo was sent to India. En route, he visited his wife in London. In India, he studied at the Defence Services Staff College in Wellington and then the School of Engineering in Poona. Obasanjo was appalled at the starvation that he witnessed in India although took an interest in the country's culture, something that encouraged him to read books on comparative religion.


Obasanjo lived a polygamous lifestyle. Obasanjo married his first wife, Oluremi Akinlawon, in London in 1963; she gave birth to his first child, Iyabo, in 1967. Iyabo had a close relationship with her father. Oluremi was unhappy that Obasanjo maintained relationships with other women and alleged that he beat her. They divorced in the mid 1970s. That decade, he also had a relationship with the reporter Gold Orun, who bore him two children. He married his second wife, Stella Abede, in 1976, having met her on a visit to London. He married Stella in 1976, and she bore him three children. Obasanjo's other wives have included the television producer Gold Orun and the businesswoman Lynda Soares. She was murdered by car thieves in 1986. On 23 October 2005, the President lost his wife, Stella Obasanjo, First Lady of Nigeria the day after she had an abdominoplasty in Spain. In 2009, the doctor, known only as 'AM', was sentenced to one year in jail for negligence in Spain and ordered to pay restitution to her son of about $176,000. He was largely private about his relationships with these women. Some of his children were resentful that he gave them no special privileges and treated their mothers poorly.


Obasanjo flew back to Nigeria in January 1966 to find the country in the midst of a military coup led by Major Emmanuel Ifeajuna. Almost all of those involved in organising the coup were from the Igbo people of southern Nigeria. Obasanjo was among those warning that the situation could descend into civil war. He offered to serve as an intermediary between the coup plotters and the civilian government, which had transferred power to the military Commander-in-Chief Johnson Aguiyi-Ironsi. As the coup failed, Olusegun met Ironsi in Lagos. Ironsi soon ended federalism in Nigeria through his unification decree in May 1966, something which inflamed ethnic tensions. In late July, a second coup took place. In Ibadan, troops of northern Nigerian origin rebelled and killed Ironsi, also massacring around two hundred Igbo soldiers. General Yakubu Gowon took power.


In January 1967, Obasanjo was posted to Lagos as the Chief Army Engineer. Tensions between the Igbo and northern ethnic groups continued to grow, and in May the Igbo military officer C. Odumegwu Ojukwu declared the independence of Igbo-majority areas in the southeast, forming the Republic of Biafra. On 3 July, Nigeria's government posted Obasanjo to Ibadan to serve as commander of the Western State. The fighting between the Nigerian Army and the Biafran separatists broke out on 6 July. On 9 July, Ojukwu sent a column of Biafran troops over the Niger Bridge in an attempt to seize the Mid-West, a position from which it could attack Lagos. Obasanjo sought to block the roads leading to the city. The Yoruba commander Victor Banjo, who was leading the Biafran attack force, tried to convince Obasanjo to let them through, but he declined.


Obasanjo was then appointed the rear commander of Murtala Mohammed's Second Division, which was operating in the Mid-West. Based at Ibadan, Obasanjo was responsible for ensuring that the Second Division was kept supplied. In the city, Obasanjo taught a course in military science at the University of Ibadan and built his contacts in the Yoruba elite. During the war, there was popular unrest in the Western State, and to avoid responsibility for these issues, Obasanjo resigned from the Western State Executive Council. While Obasanjo was away from Ibadan in November 1968, armed villagers mobilised by the farmers' Agbekoya Association attacked the Ibadan City Hall. Troops retaliated, killing ten of the rioters. When Obasanjo returned he ordered a court of inquiry into the events.


Gowon decide to replace Colonel Benjamin Adekunle, who was leading the attack on Biafra, but needed another senior Yoruba. He chose Obasanjo, despite the latter's lack of combat experience. Obasanjo arrived at Port Harcourt to take up the new position on 16 May 1969; he was now in charge of between 35,000 and 40,000 troops. He spent his first six weeks repelling a Biafran attack on Aba. He toured every part of the front, and was wounded while doing so. These actions earned him a reputation for courage among his men. In December, Obasanjo launched Operation Finishing Touch, ordering his troops to advance towards Umuahia, which they took on Christmas Day. This cut Biafra in half. On 7 January 1970 he then launched Operation Tail Wind, capturing the Uli airstrip on 12 January. At this, the Biafran leaders agreed to surrender.


In June 1970, Obasanjo returned to Abeokuta, where crowds welcomed him as a returning hero. He was then posted to Lagos as the Brigadier commanding the Corps of Engineers. In October, Gowon announced that the military government would transfer authority to a civilian administration in 1976. In the meantime, a ban on political parties remained in forces; Gowon made little progress towards establishing a civilian government. Under the military government, Obasanjo sat on the decommissioning committee which recommended dramatic reductions of troop numbers in the Nigerian Army over the course of the 1970s. In 1974 Obasanjo went to the UK for a course at the Royal College of Defence Studies. On returning, in January 1975 Gowon appointed him as the Commissioner for Works and Housing, a position he held for seven months, during which he was largely responsible for building military barracks.

In 1970, Obasanjo bought a former Lebanese company in Ibadan, employing an agent to manage it. In 1973 he registered a business, Temperance Enterprises Limited, through which he could embark on commercial ventures after retiring from the military. He also continued to invest in property; by 1974 he owned two houses in Lagos and one each in Ibadan and Abeokuta. Rumours arose that Obasanjo engaged in the corruption that was becoming increasingly widespread in Nigeria, although no hard evidence of this ever emerged. His marriage with Oluremi became strained as she opposed his relationships with other women. In the mid-1970s their marriage was dissolved. In 1976 he married Stella Abede in a traditional Yoruba ceremony.


In July 1975, a coup led by Shehu Musa Yar'Adua and Joseph Garba ousted Gowon, who fled to Britain. They had not informed Obasanjo of their plans as he was known to be critical of coups as an instrument of regime change. The coup plotters wanted to replace Gowon's autocratic rule with a triumvirate of three brigadiers whose decisions could be vetoed by a Supreme Military Council. For this triumvirate, they convinced General Murtala Mohammad to become head of state, with Obasanjo as his second-in-command, and Danjuma as the third. Iliffe noted that of the triumvirate, Obasanjo was "the work-horse and the brains" and was the most eager for a return to civilian rule. Together, the triumvirate introduces austerity measures to stem inflation, established a Corrupt Practices Investigation Bureau, replaced all military governors with new officers who reported directly to Obasanjo as Chief of Staff, and launched "Operation Deadwood" through which they fired 11,000 officials from the civil service.

In October 1975, the government announced plans for an election which would result in civilian rule in October 1979. It also declared plans to create a committee to draft a new constitution, with Obasanjo largely responsible for selecting the 49 committee members. On the recommendation of the Irifeke Commission, the government also announced the creation of seven new states; at Obasanjo's insistence, Abeokuta was to become the capital of one of these new states, Ogun. Also on the commission's recommendation, it announced gradual plans to move the Nigerian capital from Lagos to the more central Abuja. In January 1976, both Obasanjo and Danjuma were promoted to the ranks of Lieutenant General.


Both Murtala and Obasanjo were committed to ending ongoing European Colonialism and white minority rule in southern Africa, a cause reflected in their foreign policy choices. This cause increasingly became a preoccupation for Obasanjo. After Angola secured independence from Portugal, a civil war broke out in the country. Nigeria recognised the legitimacy of the government declared by the MPLA, a Marxist group backed by the Soviet Union, because the rival FNLA and UNITA were being assisted by the white minority government in South Africa. Nigeria began lobbying other African countries to also recognise the MPLA administration, and by early 1976 most states in the Organisation of African Unity (OAU) had done so. In February 1976, Obasanjo led a Nigerian delegation to an MPLA anniversary celebration in Luanda, where he declared: "This is a symbolic date, marking the beginning of the final struggle against colonialism, imperialism and racism in Africa."

In February 1976, Colonel Buka Suka Dimka launched a coup against Nigeria's government, during which General Murtala Mohammed was assassinated. An attempt was also made on Obasanjo's life, but the wrong individual was killed. Dimka lacked widespread support among the military and his coup failed, forcing him to flee. Obasanjo did not attend Murtala's funeral in Kano, but declared that the government would finance construction of a mosque on the Burial site.

By the mid-1970s, Nigeria had an overheated economy with a 34% inflation rate. To deal with Nigeria's economic problems, Obasanjo pursued austerity measures to reduce public expenditure. In his 1976 budget, Obasanjo proposed to reduce government expenditure by a sixth, curtailing prestige projects while spending more on education, health, housing, and agriculture. He also set up an anti-inflation task force, and within a year of Obasanjo taking office, inflation had fallen to 30%. Obasanjo was generally adverse to borrowing money, but with the support of the World Bank and International Monetary Fund Nigeria took out a $1 billion loan from a syndicate of banks. Leftist critics argued that doing so left the country subservient to Western capitalism. In the subsequent two years of Obasanjo's government, Nigeria borrowed a further $4,983 million.

Nigeria was undergoing nearly 3% annual population growth during the 1970s, something which would double the country's population in just over 25 years. Obasanjo later noted that he was unaware of this at the time, with his government having no policy on population control. Nigeria's population growth contributed to rapid urbanisation and an urban housing shortage. To deal with this, Obasanjo's 1976 budget outlined plans for the construction of 200,000 new housing units by 1980, although ultimately only 28,500 were built. In 1976 Obasanjo's government also announced rent and price controls. To counteract the disruption of labour strikes, in 1976 Obasanjo's government introduced legislation that defined most major industries as essential services, banned strikes within them, and authorised the detention of disruptive union leaders. In 1978 it merged 42 unions into the single Nigerian Labour Congress.

In the mid-1970s Nigeria also faced declining agricultural production, a process caused by successive governments finding it cheaper to import food than grow it domestically. In May 1976, Obasanjo launched Operation Feed the Nation, a project to revitalise small-scale farming and which involved students being paid to farm during the holidays. The project also involved abolishing duties on livestock feed and farm implements, subsidizing the use of fertilisers, and easing agricultural credit. In March 1978 Obasanjo issued the Land Use Decree which gave the state propriety rights over all land. This was designed to stop land hoarding and land speculation, and brought praise from the Nigerian left although was disliked by many land-owning families. Obasanjo saw it as one of his government's main achievements.

Obasanjo continued the push for universal primary education in Nigeria, a policy inherited from Gowon. He introduced the Primary Education Act in 1976; between 1975-76 and 1979–80, enrolment in free but voluntary primary schooling grew from 6 million to 12.5 million, although there was a shortage of teachers and materials to cope with the demand. In the 1977–78 school year, Obasanjo introduced free secondary educational in technical subjects, something extended to all secondary schooling in 1979–80.

Under Obasanjo, Nigeria loosened its longstanding ties with the United Kingdom and aligned more closely with the United States. Obasanjo was favourable to the U.S. government of Jimmy Carter, who was elected in 1976, because of Carter's commitment to ensuring majority rule across southern Africa. Carter's ambassador to Nigeria, Andrew Young, formed a close personal friendship with Obasanjo. However, the decision to shift allegiances was made for pragmatic rather than ideological reasons; the discovery of oil in the North Sea meant that the UK had become a competitor rather than a customer of Nigerian oil. Obasanjo's government was also angry that the UK refused to extradite Gowon and suspected that the British government might have been involved in the coup against Murtala. For these reasons, in 1976 it considered suspending diplomatic relations with the UK, but ultimately did not. Obasanjo nevertheless refused to visit the UK and discouraged his officials from doing so. Relations were further damaged when Margaret Thatcher became British Prime Minister in 1979, initiating a warmer British approach to the white minority administrations of Rhodesia and South Africa. In response, Nigeria seized a British tanker that was believed to be transporting Nigerian oil to South Africa, banned British firms from competing for Nigerian contracts, and nationalised British Petroleum's Nigerian operations.

Obasanjo was also eager to hasten the end of white minority rule in southern Africa; according to Iliffe, this became "the centrepiece of his foreign policy". Nigeria gave grants to those fighting white minority rule in the region, allowed these groups to open offices in Lagos, and offered sanctuary to various refugees fleeing the governments of southern Africa. Taking a hard line against the apartheid regime in South Africa, Obasanjo announced that Nigeria would not take part in the 1976 Summer Olympics because New Zealand, which was competing, had sporting ties with South Africa, a country that was banned from competing due to apartheid. In 1977, Obasanjo barred any contractors with South African links from operating in Nigeria; the main companies that were hit were British Petroleum and Barclays Bank. That same year, Nigeria hosted the United Nations Conference for Action Against Apartheid in Lagos, while Obasanjo visited the U.S. in October where he urged the country to stop selling arms to South Africa. While in the country he addressed the United Nations General Assembly and two weeks later Nigeria received a seat on the United Nations Security Council.

The military government has assembled a constituent drafting committee to devise a new constitution which could be used amid a transfer to civilian rule. The committee argued that Nigeria should change its governance system, which was based on the British parliamentary system, to one based on the U.S. presidential system whereby a single elected president would be both head of state and head of government. To avoid this president becoming a dictator, as had happened elsewhere in Africa, it argued for various checks on their power, including a federal structure whereby independent elected institutions would exist at the federal, state, and local level. The draft constitution was published in October 1976 and debated in public for the following year. A constituent assembly met to discuss the draft in October 1977. The assembly deadlocked over what role to give sharia law in the constitution. Obasanjo called the assembly together and warned them of the social impact of their decision, urging them to take a more conciliatory attitude. In September 1978, the Supreme Military Council announced the new constitution; it had made several amendments to the version put forward by the constituent assembly.


Obasanjo was eager to establish Nigeria as a prominent leader in Africa and under his tenure its influence in the continent increased. He revived Gowon's plan to hold the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture in Nigeria; it took place in Lagos in February 1977, although domestic critics argued that it was too expensive. Obasanjo gave low priority to the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and angered many of its Francophone members after insisting that, as the largest financial contributor to the organisation, Nigeria should host the organisation's headquarters in Lagos. Relations with nearby Ghana also declined; in 1979, Nigeria cut off oil supplies to the country to protest the execution of political opponents by Jerry Rawlings' new military junta.

Opposition to white minority rule in Rhodesia had sparked the Rhodesian Bush War and Obasanjo's government maintained that armed struggle was the only option for overthrowing Rhodesia's government. He encouraged unity among the various anti-government factions there, urging Robert Mugabe, the head of ZANU, to accept the leadership of his rival, Joshua Nkomo of ZAPU. In 1977, the UK and US drew up proposals for a transition to majority rule in Rhodesia, amid a period in which the country would be under the management of United Nations forces. Obasanjo backed the plan, and visited Tanzania, Zambia, Mozambique, and the Democratic Republic of Congo to urge their governments to do the same. However, after Thatcher became UK Prime Minister, Nigeria distanced itself from British efforts to end the Rhodesian Bush War and was excluded from any significant role in the UK-brokered process that led to multi-racial democratic elections in Rhodesia.

As head of state, Obasanjo attended OAU summits. At that held in July 1977, he proposed the formation of a standing committee to mediate disputes between OAU member states. At the 1978 conference, he warned of interference from both sides in the Cold War. At the next conference, he urged the formation of a Pan-African military which could engage in peace-keeping efforts on the continent. To promote Nigeria's role internationally, Obasanjo involved himself in various mediation efforts across Africa. In 1977 he persuaded Benin and Togo to end their border dispute and reopen their frontier. He also attempted to mediate a quarrel among several East African states and thus prevent the collapse of the East African Community, but failed in this attempt. As the chair of the OAU mediation committee, he tried to mediate the Ogaden dispute between Ethiopia and Somalia but was again unsuccessful. He also failed to mend the breach that had emerged between Angola and the Democratic Republic of Congo.


Concomitantly, Nigeria cut back on university funding; in 1978 it ceased issuing student loans and trebled university food and accommodation charges. Student protests erupted in several cities, resulting in fatal shootings in Lagos and Zaria. In response to the unrest, Obasanjo closed several universities, banned political activity on campus, and proscribed the National Union of Nigerian Students. The severity of these measures was perhaps due to suspicions that the student unrest was linked to a planned military coup that was uncovered in February 1978. Obasanjo was frustrated at the protesting student's behaviour, arguing that it reflected a turn away from traditional values such as respect for elders.


On behalf of the OAU, Obasanjo held a conference at Kano to mediate the Chadian Civil War. Several factions agreed to a ceasefire, to form a government of national unity, and to allow Nigerian troops to act as peacekeepers. The war nevertheless continued and Nigeria responded by cutting off its oil supply to Chad. A second conference on the conflict took place in Lagos in August 1979, resulting in the formation of another short-lived transitional government. In the final year of his military government, he headed an OAU mission to resolve the conflict in Western Sahara.

Along with the new constitution, Obasanjo lifted the ban on political parties. A variety of groups then formed to compete in the ensuing election, most notably the Unity Party of Yoruba, the Nigerian People's Party, and the National Party of Nigeria. Obasanjo was angered that many of the politicians were making promises that they could not keep. The elections took place over the course of July and August 1979. Turnout was low, at between 30 and 40 percent of legally registered voters, and there was rigging on various sides, although it was peaceful. There was debate as to who won the presidential vote, and Obasanjo refused to adjudicate, insisting that the Electoral Commission take on that role. They declared that Shehu Shagari was the winner, something that the runner up, Obafemi Awolowo, unsuccessfully challenged at the Supreme Court. Shagari took office in October 1979; at his inauguration ceremony, Obasanjo presented Shagari with a copy of the new constitution. This marked the start of Nigeria's Second Republic.

Before he left office, in April 1979, Obasanjo promoted himself to the role of general; as a four-star general he continued to receive a salary from the state. Having left office in October, he returned to Abeokuta. Following a six-week course at an agricultural training college, Obasanjo then set himself up as a farmer, hoping to set an example in encouraging agricultural self-reliance. He obtained at least 230 hectares of land in Ota on which to establish his farm, there moving in to a brick farmhouse. There was local hostility to his obtaining so much land, and much litigation was brought against him because of it. His agricultural activities were organised through his Temperance Enterprises Limited, later renamed Obasanjo's Farms Limited. He devoted particular attention to poultry farming; by the mid-1980s, his farm was hatching 140,000 chicks a week. He developed farms elsewhere in Yorubaland, and by 1987 he employed over 400 workers at eight locations. As did other senior Yoruba figures, Obasanjo sponsored poor students who attended his former school in Abeokuta.

Friends and family urged him not to run, saying that he would damage his good reputation or be killed. Obasanjo appeared reluctant, but on 28 October he joined the PDP and a week later announced that he was putting himself forward to be the party’s presidential nominee. In his campaign, he emphasized his desire to restore what he deemed the legacy of good governance when he left office in 1979. At a fundraising dinner, he gained N356 million, of which N120 million had been donated by industrialist Aliko Dangote. Most of these donations came from military men and the new business class. He toured the country, giving speeches and seeking audiences with influential persons; courting state governors was a significant element of his approach. His campaign overshadowed that of his main rival, Alex Ekwueme, who was widely mistrusted by northerners and the military.


During the eleven years after Obasanjo left office, he published four books. In 1980, Obasanjo was a Distinguished Fellow at the University of Ibadan, where he wrote My Command, an account of his experiences during the civil war; it was published in November that year. Some readers criticised what they saw as Obasanjo's disloyalty to Murtala Mohammad, while Robert Adeyinka Adebayo, a senior Yoruba political figure, urged for the book to be withdrawn to prevent it sowing division. A more positive assessment was made by his friend, Ken Saro-Wiwa, who called it masterly but believed that it had involved much editorial assistance. In 1987 he published Nzeogwu, a memoir of his friend Chukwuma Nzeogwu, with whom he had served in the Congo. 1989 saw the publication of Obasanjo's next book, Constitution for National Integration and Development, in which he warned against Babangida's argument for instituting a two-party system in Nigeria. In 1990 his third book, Not My Will, was published. It provided an account of his time governing the country.


Obasanjo grew critical of Shagari's civilian government, deeming the president weak and ill-prepared. Nigeria entered economic recession due to fluctuations in global oil prices. In May 1983, senior military figures asked Obasanjo to take over control in the country again, but he declined. In December, they overthrew Shagari without Obasanjo's involvement, in a coup that saw little violence. Muhammadu Buhari became the new military head of state. Obasanjo was initially supportive of Buhari's government, stating that representative democracy had failed in Nigeria. He praised Buhari's War Against Indiscipline, his halving of imports, and his restoration of a balanced budget. In August 1985, Buhari was also overthrown, with the Army Chief of Staff Ibrahim Babangida taking power. Obasanjo was critical of some of the economic reforms that Babangida introduced, including the devaluation of the naira. By 1992, his opposition to Babangida's rule had led him to call for a re-democratisation of Nigeria. He also began to reject the economic indigenisation policies of the 1970s, arguing that the constitution should prohibit the confiscation of foreign investments. Instead, he thought the government should emphasise private-led development. He became increasingly concerned by rapid population growth, a topic he had ignored while in power, urging Nigerians to have smaller families "in their own economic and national socio-economic interest".


Seeking to retain influence on the global stage, Obasanjo launched the Africa Leadership Forum from his Ota farm. From 1981 to 1982 he also sat on the Palme Commission, a group chaired by the former Swedish Prime Minister Olof Palme which discussed disarmament and international security. Obasanjo followed this with membership on similar panels for the United Nations, the World Health Organization, and the Inter-Action Council of Former Heads of Government. When Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, the UN Secretary-General, fell ill, Obasanjo was considered as a potential successor. After Pérez de Cuéllar announced his resignation, Obasanjo began campaigning to replace him. At a vote of the UN Security Council, he came third, with Egypt's Boutros Boutros-Ghali taking on the role. He left his home on several visits; in 1986 he visited Japan, and in 1987 the U.S.

Amid a dispute in the Commonwealth of Nations over the UK's more lenient view of South Africa, it was agreed that an Eminent Persons Group (EPG) would be formed to initiate dialogue with the South African government in the hope of encouraging it toward dismantling apartheid. At the recommendation of Nigeria's Deputy Secretary-General of the Commonwealth, Emeka Anyaoku, Obasanjo was nominated to co-chair the group alongside former Australian Prime Minister Malcolm Fraser. Obasanjo reluctantly agreed. In February 1986 he and Fraser travelled to Cape Town where they asked to meet with the imprisoned anti-apartheid activist Nelson Mandela, a prominent member of the banned African National Congress (ANC). Obasanjo alone was permitted to meet with Mandela; he later commented that he was greatly impressed by him. Obasanjo then met with senior ANC figures in exile in Lusaka.

In March 1986, the entirety of the EPG visited South Africa, during a period of growing domestic unrest and violence. There they met with senior government figures, including Prime Minister P. W. Botha, whom Obasanjo later described as the most intolerant man he had ever met. The EPG's report stated that while a majority of South Africans desired a non-violent negotiated settlement between the government and anti-apartheid groups, the former was unwilling to contemplate this and had made no significant progress towards ending apartheid. The EPG thus proposed that further international pressure was necessary. A Commonwealth committee accepted the report's findings, with the UK dissenting; this left Obasanjo further frustrated with Thatcher. The Commonwealth then commissioned him to head a committee to determine what the Frontline States needed to defend themselves from South African incursions.


After Botha was replaced by F. W. de Klerk, the latter freed Mandela from prison. One of Mandela's first foreign trips was to Nigeria, where he visited Obasanjo at his home. Two months later, Obasanjo led a Nigerian delegation to South Africa for talks with prominent political figures. In September 1991 he visited again, where he urged the Zulu leader Mangosuthu Buthelezi to engage in negotiations with other factions to help end apartheid and hold a fully representative election.


Obasanjo voiced concern that, despite his professed claims to support a return to democracy, Babangida had no intention of stepping down as military head of state. After the presidential primaries were cancelled in 1992, Obasanjo and Anthony Enahoro launched the Association for Democracy and Good Governance in Nigeria. The group's inaugural meeting brought together 31 domestic political figures at Ota in May 1993. An election followed in June 1993, which saw low turnout. Moshood Abiola of the Social Democratic Party (SDP) claimed victory, but this was challenged in court. Babangida then annulled the election result, promising a second election soon after. The SDP opposed any second election as they argued that their candidate had already won the first. Babangida then agreed to step down in favour of an interim civilian government, led by Ernest Shonekan, which took power in August 1993 and set out plans for new elections in February 1994.


Meanwhile, Sani Abacha consolidated his control of the military and in November 1993 pressured Shonekan into resigning, allowing himself to take power. Obasanjo had telephoned Abacha prior to the coup, urging him not to take this course of action. After Abacha had seized power, he asked Obasanjo to meet with him. The latter did, but refused to support Abacha's government until it announced a date for its own departure. Abacha then abolished the existing political parties and democratic institutions and called for politicians from various backgrounds to join his Federal Executive Council; Obasanjo refused to nominate anyone for this council.


Obasanjo also worked on developments elsewhere in Africa. He visited Angola twice during 1988, contributing to efforts to end the civil war there. He also visited Sudan three times between 1987 and 1989, unsuccessfully encouraging negotiations to end the Second Sudanese Civil War. He then served as an observer at the 1994 Mozambican general election. In 1994 and 1995 he visited Burundi, where he worked to calm tensions between the Hutu and Tutsi ethnic groups. He had begun calling for closer integration across Africa, proposing this could be achieved through the formation of six regional confederations. In June 1987, he had sketched out plans for an Africa Leadership Forum, which would help to provide skills and training for politicians from across the continent. It began holding meetings, known as the Farm House Dialogues, from Obasanjo's home about six times a year. It also held quarterly international meetings and issued a quarterly magazine, Africa Forum, between 1991 and 1993.

Obasanjo began warning that Nigeria was headed towards another civil war along ethnic divisions, and in May 1994 he and Yar'Adua launched the National Unity Promoters, a group dedicated to preventing this outcome. In June, Abiola unilaterally declared himself Nigeria's president and was arrested for treason. Although Obasanjo refused to endorse Abiola's claim, he did advise Abacha not to arrest him. He then led a group of traditional leaders at a meeting in which they attempted to initiate a dialogue between Abacha and Abiola. His refusal to support Abiola angered many Yoruba and Obasanjo's property in Yorubaland was attacked. Obasanjo was upset by what he saw as punishment for not backing Yoruba sectarian interests.


In March 1995, Obasanjo was in Denmark for a UN Summit on Social Development in Copenhagen. While there, he heard that Yar'Adua had been detained and that he would probably face the same fate if he returned to Nigeria. He nevertheless argued that he had done nothing wrong and thus agreed to return. Once at Lagos Airport, his passport was confiscated and the next day, police picked him up from his Ota home. The police accused Obasanjo of links to a coup against Abacha being plotted by Brigadier General Lawan Guadabe. Obasanjo was moved between various detention centres, while former US President Carter personally contacted Abacha requesting Obasanjo's release. Obasanjo was then returned to Ota, where he was placed under house arrest for two months, during which time he was denied access to media, the telephone, or visitors.

Another of those accused of being involved in the plot, Colonel Bello-Fadile, a military lawyer, had been tortured, during which he signed a statement that he had gone to Ota to inform Obasanjo about the coup as it was in preparation. This was used as evidence to charge Obasanjo with concealment of treason, a capital offense under Nigerian law. He was then taken to the State Security Interrogation Centre at Ikoyi. Abacha insisted that Obasanjo be tried before a military court, which took place on 19 June 1995. At the trial, Obasanjo denied that Bello-Fadile had ever met with him. Bello-Fadile also maintained that he had signed the statement implication Obasanjo under duress, but the court rejected this retraction. On 14 July, the court sentenced Obasanjo to 25 years in prison; Yar'Adua and fourteen others also accused of being part of the conspiracy were sentenced to death. Obasanjo later called it his "saddest day". After the US President Bill Clinton stated that his country would embargo Nigerian oil if these executions took place, Abacha commuted their sentences to imprisonment and reduced Obasanjo's sentence to 15 years.


In early 1996, Obasanjo was moved from Jos to the more remote prison at Yola. There, he was allowed to cultivate a garden. Obasanjo related that in prison he deepened his Christian faith and grew closer to God, becoming a born-again Christian. From that point, Christianity played a much larger role in his personal world-view. At Yos, he preached 28 weekly sermons after visiting ministers were temporarily banned. He wrote these sermons down, allowing them to be published when he was released. Obasanjo also tried to reform some of the younger prisoners, following up on their progress once he became a free man. Obasanjo feared that he would be poisoned, particularly amid public speculation that Yar'adua's death had been caused by deliberate poisoning. Abacha died suddenly in June 1998, after which the military commanders appointed Lieutenant General Abdulsalami Abubakar as his successor. A week later, Abubakar ordered Obasanjo's release, sending a plane to return him to Ota. Eager to return Nigeria to civilian rule, Abubakar dissolved the country’s existing parties and institutions and announced a plan that would lead to a civilian president being installed in May 1999.


The PDP was gaining ground in Nigeria, proving the most successful party in the local government elections of December 1998, the state elections in January 1999, and the Senate and House of Representatives elections in February 1999. On 14 February 1999, a PDP convention was called to select its presidential candidate. Obasanjo received 1,658 votes, to 521 for Ekwueme, and 260 for the other five candidates. Seeking a northerner as the PDP’s vice presidential candidate, Obasanjo selected Atiku Abubakar. The presidential election took place on 27 February; Obasanjo’s sole opponent was the APP’s Olu Falae. About a quarter of those eligible to vote did so, and there was some rigging although no violence. The official tally gave Obasanjo 63 percent of the vote; he was the loser in all six states of his native Yorubaland.

A major hub of secessionist sentiment was in the Niger Delta region, where indigenous groups wanted to retain a far greater proportion of the proceeds from the area's lucrative oil reserves. In July 1999, Obasanjo sent the National Assembly a bill to create a Niger Delta Development Commission to formulate and implement a plan for dealing with the region, something he hoped would quell violence there. Amid much debate, the Commission was finally launched in December 2000. In November 1999 he also sent two army battalions into the Niger Delta region to apprehend Ijaw groups who had killed police officers in Odi, Bayelsa State. This use of the military to quell unrest was unusual, with Obasanjo preferring not to have to mobilise the army unless state governors requested it.

Before Obasanjo's administration, Nigeria's GDP growth had been painfully slow since 1987, and only managed 3 percent between 1999/2000. However, under Obasanjo, the growth rate doubled to 6 percent until he left office, helped in part by higher oil prices. Nigeria's foreign reserves rose from $2 billion in 1999 to $43 billion on leaving office in 2007.


In 2000, Obasanjo banned the Oodua People’s Congress (OPC), a Yoruba group that desired greater autonomy and which was involved in violence against people of other ethnicities, and ordered the arrest of its leaders. In January 2002, Obasanjo ordered the mobile police to break-up the Bakossi Boys, a vigilante group active primarily in Abia and Anambra states which was responsible for an estimated two thousand killings. He had hesitated doing so before due to the popular support that the group had accrued through fighting criminal gangs, but felt able to move against them after their popularity waned. Violent unrest had also continued in Lagos, and in February 2002, troops were sent into the city to restore stability. In April 2002, Obasanjo proposed legislation that would allow for the proscription of ethnic-based groups if they were deemed to promote violence, but the National Executive rejected this as an overreach of presidential power.


Ideologically, Obasanjo was a Nigerian nationalist. He was committed to a form of Nigerian patriotism and the belief that Nigeria should be retained as a single nation-state, rather than being broken up along ethnic lines. In 2001, he stated that his long-term goal was "the nullification of all forms of identification except Nigerian citizenship". He argued that dismantling Nigeria along ethnic lines would result in the ethnic cleansing and violence that had been seen during the Yugoslav Wars of the 1990s. Ilife argued that Obasanjo's Nigerian nationalism was impacted both by his detachment from the Yoruba elite and by his time in the army, where he worked alongside soldiers from a broad range of ethnic backgrounds.


In November 2003, Obasanjo was criticized for his decision to grant asylum to the deposed Liberian president, Charles Taylor. On June 12, 2006, he signed the Greentree Agreement with Cameroonian President Paul Biya which formally put an end to the Bakassi peninsula border dispute. Even though the Nigerian Senate passed a resolution declaring that the withdrawal of Nigerian troops from the Bakassi Peninsula was illegal, Obasanjo gave the order for it to continue as planned.


On August 22, 2005, the then governor of Abia State, Orji Uzor Kalu, submitted a petition alleging corrupt practices against Obasanjo to the EFCC.


In his second term, Obasanjo continued to ensure the expansion of the country's police force, which rose to 325,000 in 2007.


In March 2008, Obasanjo was "supposedly" indicted by a committee of the Nigerian parliament for awarding $2.2bn-worth of energy contracts during his eight-year rule, without due process. The report of this probe was never accepted by the whole Nigerian parliament due to manipulation of the entire process by the leadership of the power probe committee. It is not on any official record that Chief Obasanjo was indicted.


He became chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, with control over nominations for governmental positions and even policy and strategy. As one Western diplomat said, "He intends to sit in the passenger seat giving advice and ready to grab the wheel if Nigeria goes off course." He voluntarily resigned as the chairman board of trustees of the PDP in April, 2012. Afterwards, he withdrew from political activities with PDP.


In May 2014, Obasanjo wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan requesting that he should mediate on behalf of the Nigerian government for the release of the Chibok girls held by the Boko Haram militants.


On 16 February 2015, he quit the ruling party and directed a PDP ward leader to tear his membership card during a press conference. He was later to be known as the navigator of the newly formed opposition party, the APC.


In December 2017, Obasanjo defended his Ph.D thesis at the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN). He now holds a Ph.D in Theology. That was about two years after he completed his master's degree in the same course.


On 24 January 2018, he wrote serving President Muhammadu Buhari highlighting his areas of weakness and advising him not to run for office in 2019. To date all his letters to incumbent presidents have preceded their downfall.

On 31 January 2018, his political movement called "Coalition for Nigeria Movement" (CNM) was launched in Abuja. On 10 May 2018, the movement adopts a political party, African Democratic Congress (ADC), to realise its dream of a new Nigeria.

On 20 November 2018, he officially announced his return to the main opposition party, Peoples Democratic Party, PDP during a book launch “My Transition Hours,” written by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

Family Life

Olusegun has been married four times and his six children. One of his sons, Dare, has served as a Principal Program Manager for Microsoft.

🎂 Upcoming Birthday

Currently, Olusegun Obasanjo is 85 years, 6 months and 26 days old. Olusegun Obasanjo will celebrate 86th birthday on a Sunday 5th of March 2023. Below we countdown to Olusegun Obasanjo upcoming birthday.


Recent Birthday Highlights

78th birthday - Thursday, March 5, 2015

Tinubu, Oyegun, Agwai, others grace Obasanjo’s 78th birthday | The Guardian Nigeria News - Nigeria and World News

• Nigeria needs good governance, says celebrant EMINENT personalities within and outside the country yesterday graced the 78th birthday of former President Olusegun Obasanjo. Those in attendance cut across political divides.  All Progressives Congress (APC) National Leader, Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the party’s National Chairman, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun were part of the crowd, which also …

Olusegun Obasanjo 78th birthday timeline
77th birthday - Wednesday, March 5, 2014

How Many Cakes Does A Man Need For 77th B-Day: Photos From Obasanjo's Party

See the photos form Olusegun Obasanjo birthday party. ✔ Check out all the trending Latest Nigeria News news in Nigeria & world right now on Legit.ng

Olusegun Obasanjo 77th birthday timeline

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