Nigerian Excellence Series Ep 4: OBJ Kingmaker:

The dispensation ushered in by the political events in Nigeria in 1999 brought with it a renewed hope for the country.

The 1999 political events culminated in the return to a democratic dispensation in May 1999 with a retired Head of State democratically elected as the new civilian President in the nation’s 4th Republic. After a series of nationwide elections, the elected president was sworn into office in 1999 taking the reins of the political affairs of the country, putting him in the position to lead the most populous Black nation for eight years.

In this installation of Nigerian excellence, we take a look at the one of the most formidable political stalwarts in Nigerian history especially as we prepare to cast our votes hoping to select a new Nigerian President over twenty years later.

Born on the 5th of March 1937, His Excellency Chief Olusegun Obasanjo GCFR served as the 5th and the 12th President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Born to a farming family in Igbogun Olaogun, Obasanjo received his education largely in Abeokuta before he joined the Nigerian Army where he specialized in Engineering. A military and political leader, he contributed to several advancements and international to end conflicts initiatives across the African continent.

Following the assassination of General Murtala Mohammed in a military coup in 1976, General Obasanjo reluctantly stepped in as the new military head of state. in 1977, he formed the Nigerian National petroleum Corporation (NNPC) , organized the second World Black and African Festival of Arts and Culture (FESTAC ’77), established the Egbin, Ughelli and Afam thermal power stations, set up the Currupt Practices Bureau and helped both Angola and Zimbabwe achieve independence. He introduced the Nigerian National Pledge, indigenized the lyrics of the Nigerian National anthem and he also introduced the 20 naira note amongst other things. In 1995 he was unjustly jailed and was only released in 1998 after the demise of his jailer. During his two tenure civilian rule, his achievements include but was not limited to the renegotiation and eventual settlement of Nigerian debts, consolidation of the banking industry, opening up the telecommunications industry etc. Notably, several socio economic sectors of the country also recorded growth.

His passion for education, faming and conflict resolution coupled with his penchant for selecting the right professionals for the job are few of the things that are remarkable about Dr Obasanjo.

One of Nigeria’s most beloved and most written about Presidents; Dr Olusegun Obasanjo was one of the most interesting research on personalities I have conducted bar none.

Amongst the various roles he has played throughout the country’s history, he has impacted the country in so many ways. He is committed to his religious and ideological beliefs as a Nationalist and Pan Africanist. He is passionate about education and he recently obtained both his Master’s degree and his PHD in his 80s from the National Open University in Nigeria. He is a staunch believer in sustenance agricultural practices and is known to retreat to his farm in Otta at different points in his life. He has authored several books about his life, personalities and Nigeria. An elder statesman and a renowned teetotaller, Dr Olusegun Obasanjo is still actively involved in his life work, he is known to make insightful political commentary and has written several letters to the government since he handed over power in 2007.

While we are a nonpartisan platform, we believe it important to remind our readers of Nigerian greatness and while we acknowledge that while a lot of our featured personality’s achievements can be viewed from a political lens, we wanted to focus on the achievements of the man.

Wikipedia has a detailed account of the finer points of his biography and viable links for further study.

That being said, we would look forward to your comments and suggestions on notable Nigerian figures to be featured on the Nigerian Excellence series on our blog.


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