A Nigerian military officer, he first came to international prominence in 1975, when he co-engineered the bloodless coup of General Yakubu Gowon, Nigeria’s head of state. The following year, Obasanjo took over as the country’s leader. In 1979, after implementing a wide range of governmental reforms, he stepped down from office and restored civilian rule. At that point, he retired from the military to farming and also became a fellow at the University of Ibadan’s Institute of African Studies, but following two decades of corrupt political leadership, Obasanjo presented himself as a candidate for president, and was elected in March 1999. Since leaving office for a second time in 2007, he has served as special envoy to the United Nations Secretary General on Democratic Republic of Congo (DRC) and Great Lakes Region (2008-09).