Chief Olusegun Obassanjo fondly called OBJ, is a retired Nigerian general and political leader. He served as the military head of Nigeria from 1976 to 1979, after the assassination of Murtala Mohammed. He then served as the President of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007.
Obassanjo is a high-profile politician and has made quite a history in politics and the military. While a soldier he served in the Nigerian Civil War, he also served to curtail the Congo Crises, where he nearly lost his life after he was captured by the soldiers that mutineered against the government of Patrice Lumumba.
Obassanjo is the first of 9 children, born to Yoruba parents. Only he and his sister survived to adulthood. He came from a very poor background. He was involved in agricultural labor from the age of 11, his father being also a farmer. He carried on with his education and did well academically although his fees were partly financed by state grants. Situations turned out worse for Obassanjo and his family when they were abandoned by their father. Obassanjo's mother had to operate in trading to ensure their survival. Obassanjo also worked on Kola and Cocoa farms, fished, collected firewood, sold sand to builders to finance his education. During holidays, he engaged in manual jobs and labours for extra income.
He passed his secondary school exams and then borrowed money to pay for the entry fees. He passed the entrance exam of University College Ibadan but could not afford the tuition fees.
Obassanjo the then decided to become a civil engineer and to achieve this aim he joined the Nigerian army. After his training abroad in England he returned to Nigeria in 1959 and was posted to Kaduna as an infantry subaltern with the Fifth Battalion.
Obassanjo used his salary to acquire land and property and bought his first car upon his return from the Congo crises. He also made good progress in the army, becoming a Major in 1965.
From there he would progress further, becoming a military head of state, and later a democratically elected President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Today he is one of the most revered political figures and leaders in the country.
In conclusion, it is clear that Obassanjo survived purely because of his resilient spirit and his determination. Anyone faced with a similar situation can make it through if he does the same
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