|President of Nigeria|
29 May 1999 – 29 May 2007
|Vice President||Atiku Abubakar|
|Preceded by||Abdulsalami Abubakar|
|Succeeded by||Umaru Yar'Adua|
|Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria|
13 February 1976 – 30 September 1979
|Vice President||Shehu Musa Yar'Adua|
|Preceded by||Murtala Mohammed|
|Succeeded by||Shehu Shagari|
|Vice President of Nigeria|
29 July 1975 – 13 February 1976
|Preceded by||Joseph Edet Akinwale Wey|
|Succeeded by||Shehu Musa Yar'Adua|
5 March 1937 |
Abeokuta, Ogun State, Colony and Protectorate of Nigeria
|Political party||People's Democratic Party|
|Spouse(s)||Esther Oluremi Obasanjo (ex-wife; 1963-?), Lynda Obasanjo (ex-wife, deceased), Stella Obasanjo (deceased)|
|Years of service||1958 - 1979|
Oluṣẹgun Mathew Okikiọla Arẹmu Ọbasanjọ, GCFR (//; Yoruba: Ọlúṣẹ́gun Ọbásanjọ́ [olúʃɛ̙́ɡũ ɒ̙básandʒɒ̙́]; born circa 5 March 1937) is a former Nigerian Army general and former President of Nigeria. A Nigerian of Yoruba descent, Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation's head of state, as a military ruler between 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979; and as elected President from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007.
His current home is Abeokuta, the Capital City of Ogun State, where he is a nobleman as the holder of the titles of the Balogun of the Owu Lineage and the Ekerin Balogun of the Egba clan of Yorubaland.
Family and Early Life 
The Oloye Obasanjo's first wife, Mrs. Oluremi (Remi) Obasanjo, is the mother of his oldest children, the most well-known being Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, a Senator of Ogun State.
On 23 October 2005 the President lost his wife, Stella Obasanjo, First Lady of Nigeria the day after she had a tummy tuck in Spain. In 2009 the doctor only known 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. Obasanjo has many children, who live throughout Nigeria, the United Kingdom and the United States.
Stella was not the first wife he lost. In 1987, his ex-wife Lynda was ordered out of her car by armed men, but was fatally shot for failing to move quickly.
His son, Dare Obasanjo, is a Senior Program Manager for Microsoft.
As a young man of 21, he enlisted in the Nigerian Army in 1958. He trained at Aldershot, and was commissioned as an officer in the Nigerian Army. He was also trained in India at the Defence Services Staff College, Wellington and at the Indian Army School of Engineering. He served at 1 Area Command in Kaduna. Promoted to Chief Army Engineer, he was made commander of 2 Area Command from July 1967, which was redesignated 2 Division Rear, and then the Ibadan Garrison Organisation. He was also trained in DSSC, Wellington. During the Nigerian Civil War, he commanded the Army's 3 Marine Commando Division that took Owerri, effectively bringing an end to the civil war.
Although Brig. Ọbasanjọ did not participate in the military coup of 29 July 1975, led by Murtala Mohammed, he supported it and was named Murtala's deputy in the new government. As chief of staff of Supreme Headquarters, Obasanjo sought advice from Rogerlay of Akobi and gained support of the military. On 13 February 1976, coup plotters, led by Army Col. Dimka, marked him, Murtala and other senior military personnel for assassination. Murtala was killed during the attempted coup, but Obasanjo escaped death. The low profile security policy adopted by Murtala had allowed the plotters easy access to their targets. The coup was foiled because the plotters missed Obasanjo and General Theophilus Danjuma, chief of army staff and de facto number three man in the country. The plotters failed to monopolize communications, although they were able to take over the radio station to announce the coup attempt.
Obasanjo and Danjuma established a chain of command and re-established security in Lagos, thereby regaining control. Obasanjo was appointed as head of state by the Supreme Military Council. Keeping the chain of command established by Murtala, Obasanjo pledged to continue the programme for the restoration of civilian government in 1979 and to carry forward the reform programme to improve the quality of public service.
The second republican constitution, which was adopted in 1979, was modelled on the Constitution of the United States, with provision for a President, Senate, and House of Representatives. The country was prepared for local elections, to be followed by national elections, to return Nigeria to civilian rule.
Oil boom 
The military regimes of Murtala and Obasanjo benefited from oil revenues that increased 350 percent between 1973 and 1974, when oil prices skyrocketed, to 1979, when the military stepped down. Increased revenues permitted government spending for infrastructure and improvements on a large scale; critics thought it was poorly planned and concentrated too much in urban areas. The oil boom was marred by a minor recession in 1978-79, but revenues rebounded until mid-1981.
The government planned to relocate the federal capital from Lagos to Abuja, a more central location in the interior of the country. It intended to encourage industrial development inland and relieve the congestion in the Lagos area. Abuja was chosen because it was not identified with any particular ethnic group.
Industrialisation, which had grown slowly after World War II through the civil war, boomed in the 1970s, despite many infrastructure constraints. Growth was particularly pronounced in the production and assembly of consumer goods, including vehicle assembly, and the manufacture of soap and detergents, soft drinks, pharmaceuticals, beer, paint, and building materials. The government invested strongly in infrastructure from 1975 to 1980, and the number of "parastatals" — jointly government- and privately owned companies — proliferated. The Nigerian Enterprises Promotion decrees of 1972 and 1977 further encouraged the growth of an indigenous middle class.
Heavy investment was planned in steel production. With Soviet assistance, a steel mill was developed at Ajaokuta in Kogi State, not far from Abuja. Agriculture and associated projects generally declined, although the government undertook large-scale irrigation projects in the states of Borno, Kano, Sokoto, and Bauchi with World Bank support.
The oil boom revenues led to a rise in per capita income, especially for the urban middle class. Inflation, particularly in the price of food, promoted both industrialisation and the expansion of agricultural production. With the government encouraging food crops, the traditional export earners — peanuts, cotton, cocoa, and palm products — declined in significance and then ceased to be important at all. Nigeria's exports became dominated by oil.
Green Revolution 
The government embarked on a "Green Revolution", distributing seed and fertilliser to farmers to increase nation-wide productivity in farming.
Education also expanded rapidly. At the start of the civil war, there were only five universities, but by 1975 the number had increased to thirteen, with seven more established over the next several years. In 1975 there were 53,000 university students. Similar advances were made in the expansion in primary and secondary school education, particularly in those northern states that had lagged behind. During Obasanjo's regime, universal Primary education was introduced nationwide.[dead link]
Political repression 
Obasanjo was also accused of being responsible for political repression. In one particular instance, the compound of Nigerian musician and political activist Fela Kuti was raided and burned to the ground after a member of his commune was involved in an altercation with military personnel. Fela and his family were beaten and raped and his mother, political activist Funmilayo Ransome Kuti, was killed by being thrown from a window. Her coffin was carried to Obasanjo's barracks as a protest against political repression.
Transition to democracy 
Obasanjo served until 1 October 1979, when he handed power to Shehu Shagari, a democratically elected civilian president-hence becoming the first Military Head of state to transfer power peacefully to a civilian regime in Nigeria . In late 1983, however, the military seized power again. Obasanjo, being in retirement, did not participate in that coup.
Later career and second presidency 
During the dictatorship of Sani Abacha (1993–1998), Obasanjo spoke out against the human rights abuses of the regime, and was imprisoned for his participation in an aborted coup. He was released only after Abacha's sudden death on 8 June 1998. While in prison, Obasanjo became a born-again Christian. He became a follower of the Preacher Dr. Danny McCain.
First term 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2011)|
In the 1999 elections, the first in sixteen years, he decided to run for the presidency as the candidate of the People's Democratic Party. Obasanjo won with 62.6% of the vote, sweeping the strongly Christian Southeast and the predominantly Muslim north, but decisively lost his home region, the Southwest, to his fellow-Yoruba and Christian, Olu Falae, the only other candidate. His loss in the South West has been attributed to his being very unpopular amongst his kinsmen in the South-West. This was because he over the time had come to represent policies and actions that tend to burden the majority of the people. The Yorubas, his kinsmen are known to deride oppressors. Apart from this, he was also against the Yorubas' rigorous quest to revalidate the election won by Chief MKO Abiola in 1993. These aggregates of issues made the Yorubas suspecious of him and they expressed this by massively voting against him in 1999. 29 May 1999, the day Obasanjo took office as the first elected and civilian head of state in Nigeria after 16 years of military rule, is now commemorated as Democracy Day, a public holiday in Nigeria.
Obasanjo spent most of his first term travelling abroad visiting mostly western countries. He claimed this was to polish the country image and re-establish the country to international scene after being battered and stained by the regime of Gen. Abacha.
He succeeded in winning at least some Western support for strengthening Nigeria's nascent democracy. Britain and the United States, in particular, were glad to have an African ally who was openly critical of abuses committed in Robert Mugabe's Zimbabwe at a time when many other African nations (including South Africa) were taking a softer stance. Obasanjo also won international praise for Nigeria's role in crucial regional peacekeeping missions in Sierra Leone and Liberia. The international community was guided in its approach to Obasanjo in part by Nigeria's status as one of the world's 10 biggest oil exporters as well as by fears that, as the continent's most populous nation, Nigerian internal divisions risked negatively affecting the entire continent.
At home, Obasanjo's first term was marked by widespread criticism over the Nigerian government's response to violent crises in the North—Kaduna and Kano chief among them—as well as in the central-eastern state of Benue and the southern oil-rich Niger Delta. International media reports cited figures of more than 10,000 people killed in violent outbursts during Obasanjo's first term. Nigeria's military was criticized for using tactics of mass suppression—notably burning down towns such as Zaki-Biam in Benue and Odi in the Niger Delta state of Bayelsa—which Obasanjo initially defended, before later expressing regret for the lives lost.
His party, PDP, was established without him, as when he was called to contest the presidency he was languishing in prison. Thus he was not able to control the party in the direction he wanted. The party became its own opposition with various infighting.
Although Obasanjo made fighting corruption the stated aim of his first term and managed to pass some anti-corruption laws, critics both at home and abroad accused him of doing too little to reign in the excesses, particularly among federal government ministers and state governors, many of which were widely publicized in the domestic and international press.
Some of the public officials like the National Assembly speaker and Senate president were involved in conflicts with the president, who had to battle many impeachment moves from both houses. Obasanjo managed to survive impeachment and got renomination.
Second term 
||This section of a biography of a living person does not include any references or sources. (May 2011)|
Obasanjo was re-elected in 2003 in a tumultuous election that had violent ethnic and religious overtones, his main opponent (fellow former military ruler General Muhammadu Buhari) being a Muslim who drew his support mainly from the north. Capturing 61.8% of the vote, Obasanjo defeated Buhari by more than 11 million votes. Buhari and other defeated candidates (including Chukwuemeka Odumegwu Ojukwu, the former Biafran leader of the 1960s who was the presidential candidate for APGA), claimed that the election was fraudulent. International observers from the European Union, and the U.S. National Democratic Institute and International Republican Institute also reported widespread voting irregularities, including in the restive oil producing Niger delta where Obasanjo's party had without explanation won close to 100% of the votes.
However, a delegation from the Commonwealth of Nations — led by representatives of former colonial power and trading partner Great Britain and African nations that had undergone troubled elections of their own — were less critical in their assessment. Much more worrying was the increasing polarisation of Nigeria along geographic and religious lines. Obasanjo swept the South, including the south-west where he had lost four years earlier, but lost considerable ground in the North. For a nation in which ethnicity and religion tie in strongly to geography, such a trend was seen by many as particularly disturbing. Other commentators might simply note that in 2003, unlike 1999, Obasanjo was running against a Northerner and could therefore expect his support to erode in the North. Obasanjo won more Northern states than Buhari, but the latter did well in his region of NW, winning Kano and retaining other ANPP states.
Since leading a public campaign against corruption and implementing economic reforms in his country, he has been widely seen abroad as an African statesman championing debt relief and democratic institutions (three times rejecting government change by coups d'état in Africa as the chairperson of the African Union). Critics of his politics say that he has used the campaign to fight his enemies and not to transform Nigeria.
Obasanjo's second term was more effective than the first. He had been able to control the party and got effective support from the National Assembly. Many governors, mostly from his party, were either exposed or prosecuted for corruption. Some ministers and state officials were also dismissed or prosecuted for corruption. Also, the Senate President was removed at Obasanjo's insistence, after he had been exposed for receiving cash for budget approval from a minister. The country witnessed the trial and dismissal of senior Naval officers for corruption and similar faith for the chief of police. Some governors too were removed for corruption, though, some judges reversed some decision. Obasanjo himself is seen as a corrupt leader with oil revenues going missing from the federation account and paying out over $50bn on power sector to non-existent companies.
He was able to attract technocrats and Nigerian expatriates to his administration. They were able to plan various reforms in the country administration. They made effective contribution to the country economic planning and development. His administration had now established future planning and development for the country for the next five years.
He was well known for supporting and facilitating many illegal executive actions and ignoring judgements against himself and his government including judgements delivered by the Supreme Court. Examples included the illegal withholding of funds due to Lagos State Local Governments for more than 2 years after the Supreme Court ordered its immediate release. He also supported the illegal impeachment of several corrupted state governors which the Supreme Court also reversed. The National Judicial Council demonstrated its independence by dismissing several judges who connived with the executive to undermine the constitution during his reign.
He was not able to trickle down reforms and development effective to states and local government level, even in the states controlled by his party. The states and local governments are still riddled with corrupt officials. Also, he failed to solve police and security issues in the country. He also didn't provide uninterrupted power supply for Nigerians.
While a lot was said against Obasanjo's civilian regimes failures but not much were emphasis on the state of things before he took over. In fact, many institutes and structures were left decade or abandoned. Things like power and national airways were starved of investment for twenty years. His government saw re-investment in many institutions and structures but these were not easily visible by the populace, hence, the cry of failure or accusation of corruption. It must be said, the last two presidents after him suffered the same fate.
Economic growth and debt payment 
Before Obasanjo's administration Nigeria's GDP growth had been painfully slow since 1987, and only managed 3% between 1999/2000. However, under Obasanjo the growth rate doubled to 6% 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. He was able to secure debt pardons from the Paris and London club amounting to some $18 billion and paid another $18 Billion to be debt free. Most of these loans were secured and spent by past corrupt officials.
In 2005 the international community gave Nigeria's government its first pass mark for its anti-corruption efforts. However, a growing number of critics within Nigeria have accused Obasanjo's government of selectively targeting his anti-corruption drive against political opponents and ethnic militants, ignoring growing concerns about wide-scale corruption within his own inner political circle.
Cabinet (Federal Executive Council) 
Obasanjo made frequent changes to his cabinet of Federal Ministers and Ministers of State during his two terms of office, and periodically split or combined ministries. He made a major cabinet reshuffle in June 2000, and in January 2001 dissolved his cabinet. In December 2004 he named 12 new ministers. in June 2005 he made another major cabinet reshuffle. In January 2007 a few months before leaving office he made yet another drastic overhaul.
Other officials 
|Chief of Staff||Major-General Abdullahi Mohammed (Rtd.)||1999–2007|
|National Security Adviser||Lt. General Aliyu Mohammed (Rtd.)||1999–2006|
|Special Adviser on Communications||Onyema Ugochukwu||1999–2006|
|Chief Economic Adviser and National Coordinator of NAPEP||Dr. Magnus L. Kpakol ||2001–2007|
|Press Secretary||Doyin Okupe||1999–2002|
|Chairman, Niger Delta Development Commission||Onyema Ugochukwu||2000–2004|
|Chairman, National Planning Commission||Abdullahi M. Wali||2003–2007|
|Chairman, National Sports Commission||Bala Bawa Ka'oje||2003–2007|
Third term agenda 
Obasanjo was embroiled in controversy regarding his "Third Term Agenda," a plan to modify the constitution so he could serve a third, four-year term as President. This led to a political media uproar in Nigeria and the bill was not ratified by the National Assembly. Consequently, President Obasanjo stepped down after the April 2007 general election.
He has become chairman of the board of trustees of the PDP, from which position he can control 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."
Obasanjo is also a member of the Club de Madrid, a group of more than 80 former leaders of democratic states who are committed to strengthening democratic leadership and governance.
In March 2008, Obasanjo was 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 Obassanjo was indicted.
Rumours are also emerging about massive corruption perpetrated under Obasanjo. He was ultimately the supervisor of the ministry charged with managing the country's oil resources. Accusations that have bypassed his cabinet include mismanagement of funds for road projects, the sales of the country's businesses (Nitel and Nicon Noga Hilton Hotel, for example), land allocations and oil blocks to himself and cronies. None of these allegations has however been proven to be true.
In late April 2009, he drew public censure for comments made in Dutse, Jigawa State, to the effect that he had not been elected President for the purposes of expanding Nigeria's ailing infrastructure; his goal, rather, was to rescue the country from the deep socio-political crisis into which she had plunged (which goal, he said, had been realised): "In 1999, Nigeria was not looking for a president that will build roads, fix power or provide water; Nigeria was looking for a president that will hold Nigerians together." He also recalled that, on his ascension to power, someone told him that "I would be the last president of Nigeria. I asked him what did he mean by that, and he said there would not be Nigeria for which anybody will be a president again after me. That was how bad things were. We thank God that today those that are predicting human failure are proved to be wrong." His self-congratulations were backed up by Sule Lamido, among others.
Obasanjo is a member of the Africa Progress Panel (APP), a group of ten distinguished individuals who advocate at the highest levels for equitable and sustainable development in Africa. Every year, the Panel releases a report, the Africa Progress Report, that outlines an issue of immediate importance to the continent and suggests a set of associated policies. In 2012, the Africa Progress Report highlighted issues of Jobs, Justice, and Equity. The 2013 report will outline issues relating to oil, gas, and mining in Africa.
Obasanjo was recently appointed Special Envoy by UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to the war-torn Democratic Republic of the Congo. He has held separate meetings with DRC President Joseph Kabila and rebel leader Laurent Nkunda.
- Rowland Croucher. "John Mark Ministries | Nigeria: Muslim Muscle In The North". Jmm.aaa.net.au. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Statement by Obasanjo to the United Nations" (PDF). Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- With tone marking, his name is spelled Olúṣẹ́gun Ọbásanjọ́.
- Hamilton, Janice. Nigeria in Pictures. Page 71
- "Meaning of Olusegun in". Nigerian.name. 15 December 2007. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- "Doctor jailed over former first lady's lipo death". Australian Broadcasting Company. 22 September 2009. Retrieved 2009-09-22.
- "Olusegun Obasanjo". Clickafrique.com. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Blaine Harden, Africa: Dispatches from a Fragile Continent, p. 283.
- "Nigeria Premier trained in India as a young man". The Indian Express. 5 March 1999. Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- "THE BIOGRAPHY OF PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO". Retrieved 21 December 2012.
- Olusegun Obasanjo, My Command, Heinemann, Ibadan/London/Nairobi, 1980, pp. 26-27, 35
- "How well do you know Nigeria", Global Post
- Grass, Randall F. (Spring, 1986). "Fela Anikulapo-Kuti: The Art of an Afrobeat Rebel". The Drama Review 30 (1): 131–148. JSTOR 1145717.
- [dead link]
- "Nigerian President Dissolves Cabinet". People's Daily. 25 January 2001. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- "NIGERIA - Profile - Olusegun Obasanjo". BNET. 1 Jan 2005. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- "As Obasanjo Reshuffles Cabinet... Ministers Under Probe for Corruption". BNW News. 14 July 2005. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- KABIRU YUSUF (January 11, 2007). "Obasanjo reshuffles cabinet...Swears-in 6 new ministers". Daily Triumph. Retrieved 2010-02-19.
- Dr. Magnus L. Kpakol Ph.D.
- Bid to Allow Nigerian a Third Term Hits Snag - Washington Post. Published: 13 May 2006. Access date: 18 July 2012.
- Nigeria Rejects Term-Limit Change in Constitution - NPR. Published 17 May 2006. Includes transcript. Accessed: 19 July 2012.
- "President of Nigeria loses bid for a 3rd term". International Herald Tribune. 29 March 2009. Retrieved 2011-04-23.
- Africa's Barometer, Time Magazine.
- "Nigerian deals 'wasted billions'". BBC News. 14 March 2008. Retrieved 20 May 2010.
- Emir of Dutse Alhaji Nuhu Muhammadu Sanusi, however, hailed the Obasanjo for improving the power supply to Dutse, declaring that farmers in Jigawa enjoyed an adequate supply of fertiliser during his tenure.
- This he said despite earlier claims that he had spent $16-billion on electricity, and the N300 billion naira budgeted for roads during the reign of Ogunlewe and Anenih.
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- Olusegun Obasanjo Related News
|Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria
13 February 1976– 1 October 1979
|Party political offices|
|Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Presidential Nominee
1999 (won), 2003 (won)
|President of Nigeria
29 May 1999– 29 May 2007
|Chairperson of the African Union