9 December 2008

Department of Public Information • News and Media Division • New York

Biographical Note




United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon appointed former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo (GCFR) as his Special Envoy on the Great Lakes region.

General Obasanjo is one of the most distinguished elder statesmen of Africa.† He brings with him a long-standing commitment to peace on the African continent and an intimate knowledge of Central African politics.† He has been involved in a number of international mediation efforts, particularly in Namibia, Angola, South Africa, Mozambique and Burundi.

The Security Council, in its presidential statement S/PRST/2008/40 of 29 October, expressed support for the efforts of the Secretary-General to facilitate dialogue between the leaders of Democratic Republic of Congo and Rwanda and encouraged him to appoint a special envoy as soon as possible.

The Secretary-General requested Special Envoy Obasanjo to assist the Governments of the subregion to address the challenges to peace and security posed by the continued presence and activities of armed groups in the eastern Democratic Republic of the Congo.† He further asked him to explore with the Governments of the subregion, and in particular the Governments of the Democratic Republic of the Congo and Rwanda, ways to build confidence between them and enhance their bilateral relations.† The Special Envoy will work closely with other international partners undertaking diplomatic initiatives on these issues.

General Obasanjo will work in close coordination with the Secretary-Generalís Special Representative for the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Alan Doss, and the Special Envoy for Lordís Resistance Army-affected areas, Joaquim Chissano.

The new Special Envoy served as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007.† He served as the Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces from 1976 to 1979.† He presided over the voluntary transition to civilian democratic rule in 1979.† In 1988 he founded the African Leadership Forum, and since 2008 he is the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Peopleís Democratic Party (PDP).† He is also a member of the African Progress Panel (APP), an independent authority on Africa launched in April 2007 to focus world leadersí attention on delivering on their commitments to the continent.

Born on 5 March 1937 in Abeokuta, Ogun State, in the south-west of Nigeria, General Obasanjo joined the army in 1958 and attended military schools in England and India.† His 21-year military career included serving in United Nations peacekeeping mission in the former Zaire and commanding the Third Marine Commando Division during Nigeriaís Biafran civil war (1967-1970).

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For information media • not an official record