General Olusegun Obasanjo

General Olusegun Obasanjo

President of Nigeria; Founder and President, Africa Leadership Forum

General Obasanjo is a respected international statesman, distinguished leader, writer and farmer. A man who believes that action is at the heart of leadership, and a strong advocate of world disarmament, democracy and agricultural development General Obasanjo is a voice for Africa and has, for so many years, represented Africa candidly and with vision. As head of state of Nigeria, General Obasanjo worked to steer his country away from its dependence on oil exports and towards agricultural production. His agricultural development movement, "Operation Feed the Nation," served to increase the number of farmers and to raise the people's awareness of the key role agriculture plays in the economy. In 1979, after just three years as head of state, General Obasanjo kept the promise he made to his people and returned his country to civilian government. On retiring from the army and politics, General Obasanjo took up farming as a career and as an example to the nation. He currently manages a large-scale model farm in Nigeria which has, among other things, more than 600,000 chickens. General Obasanjo served as the co-chairman of the Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on South Africa, which has contributed to the current dialogue and the peace process in South Africa. More recently he was a member of the UN secretary-general's expert group on commodities, whose charge it was to find for Africa, fair and profitable alternatives to the present international commodities exchange system. A skilled and experienced mediator, General Obasanjo played a major role in arranging the Angola-Namibia peace talks in May 1988. General Obasanjo's visionary leadership was demonstrated in 1988 when he inaugurated the Africa Leadership Forum - a forum designed to empower young and promising Africans for the demands, duties and responsibilities of leadership in an interdependent world. In 1995, following a secret trial, General Obasanjo was imprisoned by the Abacha regime. He was imprisoned for three years until Abacha's death in 1998.