OBASANJO ADMINISTRATION 1999-2007

A map of Nigeria showing the country’s flag. Source : creativecommons.org

Obasanjo administration was the first in the series of Nigerian Democratic Governments 1999-2019. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was a former military General who formerly ruled Nigeria from 1976 to 1979. In 1998, a preparation for the return to democratic rule in Nigeria began. Different political parties were formed. One of the powerful party among them was the People’s Democratic Party (PDP). During the time, Obasanjo was in prison serving his 15 years term imprisonment. However, he was pardoned and released. Upon his released, he joined the newly formed PDP, and in February 1999 he was selected as the PDP presidential candidate for the 1999 Nigerian presidential election.

On 27 February 1999 presidential election was held, and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo under the platform of PDP defeated the All Peoples Party (APP) candidate Chief Olu Falae. Obasanjo was declared winner and sworn in as the new executive Nigerian President on 29 May, 1999. Obasanjo remained on power until 2007.

FIRST TERM 1999-2003

The first term of the Obasanjo administration was a period in which Nigerians were hopeful for better Nigeria. Because, Nigerians were now happy that they would enjoy full freedom unlike under the military dictatorship. On his part, President Obasanjo ensured that the freedom of speech was at least better than the military government. People now can criticize government and expressed their opinion.

One of the major step that Obasanjo taken in his first tenure was the movement of the the Defence Ministry to Abuja from Lagos. This was to ensure that the Nigerian defence was under direct control of the president.

In terms of foreign relations, president Obasanjo inherited a different foreign misunderstanding between Nigeria and some nations especially the west. Because, previously, the military regime of General Sani Abacha was characterized by dispute with many nations specifically the United States. Therefore, when Obasanjo became the president he had a great task of reconciling with those nations. Thus, he spent at least a quarter of his tenure in which he visited almost 100 countries for improvement of the diplomatic relations.

SECOND TERM 2003-2007

In 2003, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo was reelected for the second term. This time around he defeated former Nigerian Military ruler Muhammadu Buhari the candidate of the All Nigerian Peoples Party (ANPP).

Obasanjo’s second term was characterized by attempt of fighting corruption using the newly established Economic and Financial Corruption Commission (EFCC). However, many criticized EFCC for being a puppet or an instrument against the opposition parties. Some even argued that the Obasanjo’s administration was the most corrupt one in the Nigerian history.

THIRD TERM BID

Towards the end of his second term tenure, Olusegun Obasanjo tried to persuade the National Assembly in order to amend the Constitution that will allow him to contest for the third term. However, this attempt faced a great opposition from some members of his party the PDP and the members of the opposition parties in the National Assembly. Obasanjo was accused of trying to bribe the members of the National Assembly in order to allow his third term agenda. Eventually, majority of the members of the National Assembly voted against the Obasanjo’s request.

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