Biography of Olusegun Obasanjo (1937-VVVV)

Military and Nigerian politician born in Abeokuta, in Ogun State, on March 5, 1937.

Educated at the Baptist High School in his home State, he went subsequently to the school official of cadets of Mons from the United Kingdom, then metropolis of Nigeria, where he made military studies.

In 1958 he returned to his country to join the Navy, where he began to practice as an officer. In 1960 he moved to Zaire where he served his country. Three years later he was promoted to captain and in 1965 Commander. He served as Commander in Chief of the second Division of the Army Corps of engineers of the of the region of Ibadan (to the East of the country). In 1967 amounted to Lieutenant-Colonel and in 1969 to Colonel.

In January 1970 he was in command of the third Marine Division that did capitulate to the biafrenos against the pressure from the North in the civil conflict that pitted the Biafran separatists with the central Government of Nigeria.

From 1970 to 1975 he was in front of the headquarters of the army of engineers. In January 1975, was appointed to the position of Federal Commissioner for labour and housing, occupation which left in July of that year to be named Chief of the Supreme staff, following the coup that toppled the then President Yakubu Gowon and which placed general Murtala Mohammed in front of the headquarters of Nigerian Government.

In that same month, July 1975, Obasanjo was promoted to the rank of lieutenant general with general Murtala Mohammed in front of the headquarters of Nigerian Government. At the time he was elected member of the military Supreme Council where he remained until 1979. President Murtala following an attempt of coup d'etat attributed to Gowon was killed in February 1976. Obasanjo, then right hand of general Murtala, occupied the Government Headquarters and started for Nigeria the most important constitutional period in its history.

Olusegun, who by this time has acquired the rank of general, began a series of more reforms including the legalization of political parties, the adoption of a Constitution and the convening of elections culminating in the devolution of power to civilians in 1979. In this way, Olusegun Obasanjo became the first President who democratized Nigeria since its independence from the United Kingdom in 1960.

After completing his presidential term, Obasanjo was appointed in 1979 Member of the Advisory Council of State and in 1980 Member of the independent Committee of security and disarmament. Later, he retired from military life and went to live on a farm that has in its home State, Ogun, but continued his struggle for peace in his country saying conferences abroad.

In October 1991, Obasanjo was candidate to succeed Javier Pérez de Cuéllar at the head of the Secretary general of the UN, although he only received nine votes in favor, four against and two abstentions.

In March 1995, Obasanjo was subjected to house arrest by order of Nigerian President Sani Abacha, accused along with other military coup attempt to overthrow him. He was arrested initially as he returned from a tour that had led him to Denmark and Great Britain, but he was released and put under house arrest thanks to the mediation of the late President of the United States, Jimmy Carter.

After six weeks of summary trial behind closed doors that was denounced by foreign Governments and human rights organizations, Obasanjo was indicted along with 39 others included which was his Chief of staff, Shehu Musa Yar'Adua, and later sentenced to life imprisonment. In October of that year imprisonment was commuted 15 years thanks to the intervention of international agencies, although never proved the involvement of Obasanjo in the attempt to overthrow Abacha.

The death of the dictator in June 1998 favored the announcement of presidential elections, a year later, in which Obasanjo was elected. He managed the re-election in elections in 2003, with 61.8% of the vote. A year later, the President imposed a State of emergency in Plateau, where clashes between Muslims and Christians had claimed more than 600 victims. It has been supporter of free trade, reforms and economic and democratic of the cancellation of the external debt of developing countries. As Chairman of the African Union has expressed rejection of coup in the African continent. In May 2007 succeeded him in the leadership of State Umaru Yar'Adua.