Obasanjo belongs to the people of the Yoruba to, is a Baptist Christian and entered 1958 in the Nigerian army, where he quickly made an officer career. 1967-1970 he participated in the Biafran war. After the military coup in 1975 by Murtala Mohammed, he was deputy head of government. After the assassination of Muhammad, he was President in 1976 and prepared the foundation of the Second Republic. On 1 October 1979, he handed over power to the elected President Shehu Shagari.
From 1980 until the mid- 1990s, Obasanjo had numerous international positions, including He was President of the Advisory Board of Transparency International ( TI) and candidate for the post of UN Secretary-General. 1995 to 1998 he was a political prisoner of the military dictator Sani Abacha. As a presidential candidate of the People's Democratic Party, he won the elections to the Fourth Republic in 1999 and was again president. His re-election was held at the controversial 2003 elections, which he won with 61.94 % of votes. His closest rival was the former military dictator Muhammadu Buhari.
Obasanjo is co-founder of Transparency International and is involved in the organization the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative, which tries payments to governments for raw materials be disclosed; under Nuhu Ribadu of his presidency was the head of Nigeria's anti-corruption authority. In 2003, Obasanjo launched an anti-corruption campaign in partnership with Transparency International. Nigeria, Africa's largest oil exporter, is to use the organization to which he has been stood for a long time, left his third-last place in the corruption list in the world. On November 7, 2003, he presented his plan in Berlin, the seat of TI, under the name "Corruption: Nigeria 's greatest challenge" together with the founder of TI, Peter Eigen, before. In July 2004, he is elected for one year as President of the African Union. In 2005, his wife Stella died at a plastic surgery. In the elections in April 2007 Obasanjo did not occur to. However, he supported the Muslim candidate Umaru Yar'Adua.
- Order of the Star of Ghana
- Human Rights Prize of the Friedrich -Ebert -Stiftung presented in Bonn on 6 May 1996.
- Mentioned in songs and albums of the Nigerian Hip- Hop All Stars No. 1, Eedris Abdulkareem, denounce the national corruption, for example, Letter to Mr. President (2005) -
- Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Republic of Hungary ( 2001)