He attended Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta after which he worked as a teacher for a while before enlisting in the Nigerian Army in 1958
The two major achievements of Obasanjo are: voluntarily handing over power to a democratically elected government and telecommunication deregulation which gave rise to the mobile phone communication we are enjoying today.
He commanded the Army’s Marine Commando Division, and in 1970: accepted the surrender of Biafran forces.
On February 13, 1976, on the eve of his 40th birthday, he was targeted for assassination in the unfortunate Col. Dimka coup d’état. He escaped, but his commander-in-chief, Murtala Mohammed, was killed.
From 1976 to 1979, he was the Nigerian Head of State and Commander-in-Chief.
In 1977, he formed the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) and organised the African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77), set up the Corrupt Practice Bureau; and through his government’s efforts, independence was achieved for Angola and later Zimbabwe.
Obasanjo retired to his farm in Otta, Ogun State after the leaving office. His farm, Obasanjo Farms, Nigeria, is now the largest poultry farm in Nigeria.
He became a strong opponent of military rule during the time of General Sani Abacha in the mid-1990s, and was imprisoned in 1995 on coup-plotting charges.
When General Abdulsalami Abubakar took over as head of state following the unexpected death of General Abacha, he released nine key political prisoners, including Obasanjo in June 1998.
On his release from jail, Obasanjo contested the presidency under PDP in 1999 and won.
There was a great deal of optimism at the start of his presidency, that democracy would bring an end to the economic decline and virulent corruption that were the hallmarks of 16 years of military rule.
He established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC) and the strengthening of the Code of Conduct Bureau to fight corruption in Nigeria.
At the end of his 8 years in office, either of these issues (corruption, mismanagement and unemployment) has been successfully addressed.
When Baba left office in 2007, the economy had grown from 3% to 7% GDP. The overall, GDP growth for 2012 was 6.5% and projected at 6.75 percent for 2013. Making Nigeria one of the fastest growing economies in the world today.
The Nigerian foreign reserve was only $2 billion when he came into office in 1999. By 2007, when he left office, the reserve had risen to a whopping $43 billion.
He secured $18 billion debt pardons from the Paris and London clubs and got Nigeria free of debt.
|President Jimmy Carter and Obasanjo|
The presidential library and his newly launched Obasanjo Foundation will focus 'to feed Africa, promote youth leadership, support education for women, and combat sickle cell disease by bringing together government, nongovernmental organizations and private citizens to confront these issues.'
Concerns have also been expressed over Obasanjo's human rights record. During his time in office, the army was accused of abduction and killing of unarmed civilians.
Obasanjo has never fully explained these actions, nor have any investigations or arrest been made.
Obasanjo has played a pivotal role in the regeneration and repositioning of the African Union. He has consistently supported the deepening and widening of regional cooperation through the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the Co-prosperity Alliance Zone incorporating Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo.
He was also involved in international mediation efforts in Namibia, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique and Burundi. In 2008, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed Obasanjo (GCFR) as his Special Envoy on the Great Lakes region, and is integral in the ongoing mediation efforts in Eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.
Obasanjo was married to the deceased Esther Oluremi Obasanjo (first wife; 1963), Lynda Obasanjo (deceased), Stella Obasanjo (deceased) and many unknowns minus concubines. Baba loves them young and fresh.
It is said he doesn't speak with one of his children because he had an affair with his daughter's in-law
Four years after the death of his wife, Stella, Obasanjo finally re-married. The elder statesman now lives with his new wife Mama Funso at his hilltop mansion in GRA, Abeokuta, OgunState.