The Men who'll change Nigeria in 2015

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General Olusegun Aremu Okikiola Matthew Obasanjo

Former Head of State

Date of Birth: 05/03/1937
Place of Birth: Ogun State

Education: Baptist Boys High School, Abeokuta; Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, United Kingdom; Royal College of Military Engineering, Chatham, UK; School of Survey, Newbury, UK.

Career: Enlisted in the Nigerian Army, 1958; Commissioned Second Lieutenant, 1959; promoted to Lieutenant 1960; served in the Nigerian contingent of the United Nations Force in Congo (DRC); joined the engineering unit and became its Commander in 1963; promoted to Captain in 1963; promoted to Major, 1964; promoted to Lieutenant-Colonel,1967; promoted to Colonel, 1969; promoted to Brigadier, 1972; promoted to Lieutenant-General, 1976; Head of State and Commander in Chief of the Armed Forces, 1976-79; voluntarily handed over power to civilians, 1979; retired from the army and from politics, 1979; jailed by Sani Abacha, 1995; released by General Abdulsalami Abubakar, 1998; elected Head of a civilian government, 1999; re-elected, 2003-07; appointed Special Envoy to the Great Lakes region by United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon, December 2008.

Commentary: The controversy attending Obasanjo’s last months in office continued post presidency, after a fiercely resisted bid for a third term in office.

His life as a private citizen has been full of scandal. He was investigated for establishing his own power generation scheme, which cost the Nigerian treasury almost US$13 billion; a book by an ex-wife alleged serial physical and verbal abuse and philandering; and in divorce proceedings, his son Gbenga Obasanjo alleged that his wife Mojisola had slept with his father for contracts from the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC). 

Obasanjo has also been in messy disputes with old political allies and friends. The most visible of these was with Chief Tony Anenih against whom Obasanjo fought for control of the ruling party after leaving office. He won the battle but lost the war: Anenih became Chairman of the Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA) under the Umaru Musa Yar’Adua administration, while Obasanjo considers his next move.

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