HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO NIGERIAN ERSTWHILE PRESIDENT OLUSEGUN OBASANJO AS HE TURNS 83 TODAY.
Chief Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Aremu OBASANJO, GCFR (born 5th March, 1937), is a Nigerian military and political leader who served as military head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007. Ideologically a Nigerian nationalist, he was a member of the People’s Democratic Party.
Born in the village of Ibogun-Olaogun to a farming family of the Owu branch of the Yoruba, Obasanjo was educated largely in Abeokuta. Joining the Nigerian Army, where his specialisation was in engineering, he spent time assigned in the Congo, Britain, and India, rising to the rank of major. In the latter part of the 1960s, he played a major role in combating Biafran separatists in the Nigerian Civil War, accepting their surrender in 1970.
In 1977, the Nigerian military appointed Obasanjo as the head of the government, and following the 1979 election, Obasanjo handed over control of Nigeria to the newly elected civilian president, Shehu Shagari.
Entering electoral politics, Obasanjo became the People’s Democratic Party’s candidate for the 1999 presidential election, which he comfortably won. He was re-elected in the 2003 election. Influenced by Pan-Africanist ideas, he was a keen supporter of the formation of the African Union and served as its chair from 2004 to 2006. In retirement, he earned a PhD in Theology from the National Open University of Nigeria in 2017.
Obasanjo has been described as one of the great figures of the second generation of post-colonial African leaders. He received praises both for overseeing Nigeria’s transition to representative democracy in the 1970s and for his Pan-African efforts to encourage cooperation across the continent.
Books authored by this octagenarian are; My Watch, Africa in Perspective, A New Dawn, Challenges of Leadership in Africa, among others.
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