Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is a Nigerian political and military leader who served as Nigeria's head of state from 1976 to 1979 and later as its president from 1999 to 2007.
Committed to restoring democracy, Obasanjo oversaw the 1979 election, after which he handed over control of Nigeria to the newly elected civilian president, Shehu Shagari.
On October 1, 1979, Shehu Shagari was sworn in as the first President and Commander-in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Obasanjo peacefully transferred power to Shagari, becoming the first head of state in Nigerian history to willingly step down.
Obasanjo's role in returning Nigeria to civilian rule would form the basis of the good reputation he retained for the next two decades. Before he left office, in April 1979, Obasanjo promoted himself to the role of general; as a four-star general he continued to receive a salary from the state.
In 1993, Sani Abacha seized power in a military coup. Openly critical of Abacha's administration, in 1995 Obasanjo was arrested and convicted of being part of a planned coup, despite protesting his innocence.
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