Obasanjo used to be General Murtala Muhammed's second in command. Murtala assumed power after a military coup that displaced a highly corrupt and much despised "civilian" government. the General offered Nigeria a glimpse of visionary leadership that was on course to rapidly propelling the country into a promising future... until his assassination 200 days into his term- which many believe to be a hit called on by the US, UK, and elements in Nigeria
The General was successful in unifying the country, cracking down on rampant corruption, and embracing a pan-African political platform that placed Africa at the center of Nigeria's agenda. Murtala sought to completely subsidize education and health care, demobilize parts of the military, and follow a socialist agenda. Check out the following reference to the US Library of Congress on his regime here: http://countrystudies.us/nigeria/26.htm
Many of the Nigerians who lived during his term said the General lead by example and avoided endulging luxuries that were common for heads of states. He maintained his residence in the same house he had before he assumed leadership, and took a daily commute to the presidential palace without any motorcade or bodyguards. I was also told the General had an ambitious social program aimed at reinventing Nigerian culture, and that he was known to disguise himself as an old, poor man who would seek service at various venues to conduct a sort of moral inspection of the treatment of socially disenfranchised people. In the event he was mistreated in such exercises, the General would make personal calls to the responsible parties afterwards and advise them on their social conduct. Murtala viewed Nigeria's industrial culture as one that respected wealth and power above human dignity, and sought to reinvent the social landscape in this regard. He was assassinated on his commute to the palace while being stuck in traffic on his way to work, and officially, the assassination is credited to disgruntled sectors of the military that were unhappy with the decreasing power of the armed forces.... although a wide body of evidence points to US and UK involvement.
Murtala Muhammad was assassinated during an unsuccessful coup d'état in February 1976, and the country went into deep mourning. In less than a year, this man had captured the hearts of many Nigerians. The political shake-up and the decisive leadership in the midst of rapid economic growth seemed to promise a bright future. In fact, there was considerable opposition to Murtala Muhammad that would have become more pronounced in the succeeding months, but this opposition was stifled under the outpouring of national loss.
The attempted coup reflected dissatisfaction within the military that was unconnected with the larger currents of opposition in the country. Two groups of conspirators were involved in the coup. The first, composed of middle-grade officers, was led by Lieutenant Colonel Bukar Dimka, who was related to Gowon by marriage. Dimka's opposition to Murtala Muhammad was both professional and political. Dimka's group protested demobilization and alleged that the FMG was "going communist." A group of colonels answering to Major General I.D. Bisalla, the minister of defense, waited in the wings for Dimka's group to overthrow the government, and then planned to seize power. Dimka, Bisalla, and thirty-eight other conspirators were convicted after a secret trial before a military tribunal and were executed publicly by a firing squad. Evidence published by the FMG implied that both groups of conspirators had been in communication with Gowon, who was accused of complicity in the plot against Murtala Muhammad. The British government refused to accede to Nigerian demands for Gowon's extradition, however, and protests against the decision forced Britain to recall its high commissioner from Lagos.
«SiG» “Stand out firmly for Justice as witness before God, even against yourselves, against your kin and against your parents, against people who are rich or poor. Do not follow your inclinations or desires lest you deviate from Justice." -Qur’an 4:135