Former Nigerian President, Chief Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo is an accomplished elder statesman who has served Nigeria in a variety of positions, both as a military head of state and as the first democratically elected civilian Nigerian president of the fourth republic (1999 – 2007). If you’re interested in learning about Obasanjo’s accomplishments while holding influential positions in Nigeria both as military head of state and as an elected President, read on as we shall also demonstrate how his leadership positively impacted Nigeria’s economic, political and social landscape.
FULL LIST OF OBASANJO’S ACHIEVEMENTS
Here are all what Olusegun Obasanjo accomplished during his time in power.
ACHIEVEMENTS OF OBASANJO WHILE IN THE NIGERIAN ARMY (1967 – 1979)
In the military, Obasanjo held a number of important posts before serving as military head of state from 1967 to 1979. We shall talk about the significant things he accomplished for Nigeria in this section of the article.
- ACHIEVEMENTS OF OBASANJO DURING THE NIGERIAN CIVIL WAR
As a Nigerian patriot during the 1967–1970 Nigeria–Biafra Civil War, Obasanjo accomplished many notable things. Obasanjo was assigned to lead the Western State three days before the battle between the Nigerian Army and Biafran rebels on July 3, 1967. He blocked the routes that Biafran troops intended to use to take control of the Mid-West and then Lagos on July 9, 1967. This action stopped the Biafran troops from crossing the Niger Bridge in their march.
Gowon assigned Obasanjo to lead the invasion of Biafra on June 16, 1969, giving him charge of 35,000 to 40,000 soldiers stationed in Port Harcourt. When he led the Nigerian Army to seize control of Umuahia, the Biafran forces were reduced by half and the Nigerian Army successfully resisted the Biafra onslaught on Aba while operating at the front lines. He began Operation Tail-Wind on January 19, 1970, and it was successful because the Uli airfield was taken, which forced Philip Effiong, the military leader of Biafra, to give up.
- BIAFRA’S RE-INTEGRATION INTO NIGERIA
Gowon assigned Obasanjo the task of reintegrating Biafra into Nigeria once the Biafran secessionist had submitted. He made sure that the water supply was restored in all significant towns in the conflict-torn area in just four months after the war ended.
- OBASANJO’S ACCOMPLISHMENTS AS MILITARY HEAD OF STATE
With Murtala Muhammed’s murder on February 13 of that same year, Obasanjo, the second in command in the triumvirate where he served as head of state, assumed the position. As a result of his economic initiatives as head of state, Nigeria’s inflation rate decreased from 34% when he took office to 30% in just over a year. He also increased spending on housing, agriculture, and education. Some of Obasanjo’s key initiatives included Operation Feed the Nation, the Bakori Scheme, the South Chad Irrigation Project, two hydropower projects, and a thermal plant.
The transition to civilian government was one of Obasanjo’s other notable accomplishments while serving as military leader of state. Obasanjo handed up power to Shehu Shagari in October 1979 after the 1979 presidential election, which resulted in the establishment of Nigeria’s Second Republic and was declared a success by the Election Commission.
THE ACHIEVEMENTS OF OBASANJO AS NIGERIA’S CIVILIAN PRESIDENT (1999 – 2007)
Obasanjo was given a fifteen-year sentence by Sani Abacha’s military administration for allegedly preparing a coup, and after serving three years of that term, he was freed in June 1998 by Abdulsalami Abubakar after Abacha’s death. On October 28 of that year, he joined the PDP, and on February 14, 1999, the party’s primary election saw him win the nomination for president. Olusegun won the 1999 presidential election for Nigeria’s civilian government with 63% of the vote as the PDP’s nominee and Atiku Abubakar as his running mate. Learn more about Obasanjo’s accomplishments as Nigeria’s first civilian president in the fourth republic below.
- ENHANCED INTERNATIONAL REPUTATION OF NIGERIA
Obasanjo spent the first quarter of his presidency restoring Nigeria’s reputation abroad, which had been damaged by Abacha’s rule.
- THE NIGERIAN POLICE FORCE’S EXPANSION
The Nigeria Police Force increased from 120,000 when Obasanjo took office as civilian president of Nigeria in 1999 to 325,000 in 2007. This did not decrease the rampant abuse and violence of the police at the time.
- ESTABLISHMENT OF SIGNIFICANT PUBLIC INSTITUTIONS
He also founded a number of significant organisations that are still in use today. He launched a number of agencies, including the Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), the Independent Corrupt Practices Commission (ICPC), the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFFC), and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration Control (NAFDAC).
- NIGERIA’S LITERACY RATE ROSE
The adoption of the Universal Basic Education Program during Obasanjo’s tenure as Nigeria’s civilian president also contributed to an increase in literacy rates in that country.
- PRIVATISATION OF GOVERNMENT-RUN BUSINESSES
There were 588 public enterprises that made up 55% of the external debt when Obasanjo took office in 1999. Obasanjo established the National Council of Privatization in July 1999 in an effort to stem the rising debt resulting from managing these public firms. With the exception of those engaged in oil production, many governmental enterprises were privatised. As a result of the significant reduction in external loans and increased private investment in Nigeria, the country’s economy ultimately improved.
FURTHER ACCOMPLISHMENTS OF OBASANJO AS NIGERIA’S CIVILIAN PRESIDENT
Other accomplishments of Obasanjo are listed below:
- In 2000, Obasanjo increased the minimum wage by two times.
- In Abia and Anambra, the Bakassi Boys, a vigilante gang, are thought to have killed 2,000 people. Obasanjo ordered the Mobile Police to disband them.
- Obasanjo increased government spending on health from its previous level of 0.2% of GDP to 0.4% of GDP.
- Under Obsanjo’s leadership, Nigeria’s growth rate increased from 3% to 6%.
- As he left office, Nigeria’s foreign reserves had increased from US$2 billion to US$45 billion.
- 18 billion dollars in debt relief were obtained by Obasanjo from the Paris and London Club. The total amount of Nigeria’s debt was reduced by $30 billion.
- Obasanjo’s administration saw the introduction of mobile communications in Nigeria. MTN in Nigeria was established in this manner.
We can further summarize Obasanjo’s accomplishment as Nigeria’s democratically elected President as thus:
- ECONOMIC ACHIEVEMENTS
During Obasanjo’s presidency, Nigeria’s economy experienced significant growth and expansion. One of his most notable achievements was the establishment of the Debt Management Office (DMO) in 2000, which helped Nigeria to restructure and reduce its external debt burden. This debt relief initiative earned Nigeria a debt pardon of over $18 billion from the Paris Club of creditor nations. This move resulted in increased investor confidence, leading to a boost in Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) and economic growth.
Additionally, Obasanjo’s administration implemented various reforms to enhance the business environment, promote trade and investment, and encourage entrepreneurship. One of these initiatives was the establishment of the Nigerian Investment Promotion Commission (NIPC), which facilitated the promotion and coordination of investments in Nigeria. His administration also introduced the National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy (NEEDS) which was aimed at promoting economic growth and poverty reduction through the development of the non-oil sector.
- POLITICAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Obasanjo was instrumental in strengthening Nigeria’s democratic institutions and ensuring peaceful transitions of power. His administration introduced electoral reforms that made the electoral process more transparent, credible and inclusive. Additionally, Obasanjo ensured the independence of the judiciary, resulting in a more efficient and effective judicial system.
- SOCIAL ACHIEVEMENTS
Under Obasanjo’s leadership, Nigeria made significant progress in improving access to education and healthcare. His administration established the Universal Basic Education (UBE) program, which aimed to provide access to basic education for all Nigerian children. He also introduced the National Health Insurance Scheme (NHIS), which aimed to provide affordable healthcare to all Nigerians.