H. E. President Olusegun Obasanjo
President, Federal Republic of Nigeria and President of the African Union
President Obasanjo was born in 1937, in Abeokuta, Ogun State in the South West of Nigeria to a middle class Baptist family. He was a teach, briefly, before joining the army in 1958. He went on to lead an army commando division in the 1967-70 Biafran civil war. In 1976, he became military ruler and voluntarily handed Power to civilian rule in 1979 and subsequently retired from politics. In 1995 he was for plotting coup against military leader General Sani Abacha and sentenced to life in prison. This was later commuted to 15 years after pressure from friends abroad, including South Africa's Nelson Mandela, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter and former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt, and released by Abubakar AbdulSalam in 1998. Obasanjo won presidential elections on 27 February, 1999 with 62 percent of the valid votes cast. His Party, the People's Democratic Party), won about the same majority in the two houses of the National Assembly, state houses and the state legislature.