Obasanjo, A Living Legend At 87


Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, aged 87, is a significant figure in Nigerian and African politics. He has served as a military leader, statesman, and diplomat, dedicated to improving Nigeria and the continent. His journey, from the military to shaping Nigeria’s democracy, has made a lasting impact on the nation’s history.

Early Life

Olusegun Matthew Okikiola Aremu Obasanjo was born on March 5, 1937, in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Nigeria. He received his military training both locally and internationally, including at the Mons Officer Cadet School in the United Kingdom.


Obasanjo became a champion of democracy in Nigeria. Following years of military rule, he emerged as a key figure in the movement for democratic governance. In 1999, he made history by becoming Nigeria’s first democratically elected president since the return to civilian rule. His presidency was characterized by efforts to tackle corruption, improve governance, and promote economic development.

Military Career

Obasanjo’s military career began in 1958 when he enlisted in the Nigerian Army. His rise through the ranks was swift, and by 1975, he had become the Chief of Staff of the Nigerian Army, following a coup that ousted General Yakubu Gowon.

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Military Leadership

Obasanjo’s leadership abilities were put to the test during Nigeria’s tumultuous years, particularly during the Nigerian Civil War (1967-1970). He played a crucial role as the commander of the 3rd Marine Commando Division, leading the military campaign against the secessionist state of Biafra. Despite the challenges and human toll of the conflict, Obasanjo’s leadership helped to preserve Nigeria’s unity.

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Head of State: 1976-1979

In 1976, following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed, Obasanjo was appointed as Nigeria’s military head of state. His tenure marked a period of significant reforms and initiatives aimed at national development. He initiated the process of transition to civilian rule, which culminated in the 1979 presidential elections and the handover of power to civilian leadership.

Economic Reforms

During his two terms in office (1999-2007), President Obasanjo implemented various economic reforms aimed at revitalizing Nigeria’s economy. His administration prioritized infrastructure development, including the establishment of the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) program. Under his leadership, Nigeria experienced significant economic growth and attracted foreign investment.

Diplomacy and International Relations

Obasanjo served as Chairperson of the African Union from 2004 to 2006, where he worked to promote peace, stability, and development across the continent. His diplomatic efforts were instrumental in resolving conflicts in countries such as Liberia and Sierra Leone.

Post-Presidential Role and Advocacy

Since stepping down from the presidency, Obasanjo has remained active in public life, engaging in various advocacy efforts and initiatives. He has been an outspoken critic of corruption and mismanagement in Nigerian politics, advocating for good governance and accountability. Additionally, he has been involved in mediation efforts aimed at resolving political crises within Nigeria and across Africa.

Legacy and Impact

The legacy of Olusegun Obasanjo is one of leadership, resilience, and service to Nigeria and Africa. His contributions to nation-building, democratic governance, and regional stability have left an enduring mark on the continent’s history. As Nigeria continues to navigate its complex challenges, the lessons learned from Obasanjo’s leadership remain relevant and instructive.

In conclusion,At 87 years old, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo stands as a living legend, revered for his contributions to Nigeria’s development and his commitment to democracy and good governance.

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