Meet these 10 personalities who rose from detention or jail or prison to become Presidents in Africa or Heads of State. For the love for their Country some great leaders on their way to the top got arrested. Some convicted, detained, imprisoned and others jailed.
Here are the 10 Personalities Who Rose from Detention/Prison/Jail to Presidents in Africa
Olusegun Obasanjo (Nigeria)
Credited with bringing the civil war to an end, Olusegun Obasanjo first became the President of Nigeria after the death of Murtala Mohammed in the failed Dimka coup. He rose from prison to President of Nigeria.
Sani Abacha seized power in a military coup. Obasanjo was openly critical of Abacha’s administration. In response, in 1995 Obasanjo was arrested and convicted of being part of a planned coup, despite protesting his innocence.
Obasanjo spent the next four months at the Ikoyi Centre, where he was initially chained up in solitary confinement. He was then transferred to Lagos’ main prison, Kirikiri, where he spent time in the prison hospital for his hypertension and diabetes.
After several weeks, Obasanjo and the other alleged conspirators were moved to Jos prison in the central plateau, where they spent several months. Both Mandela and Pope John Paul II called for his release, with Indian and German foundations both awarded him international prizes.
In early 1996, Obasanjo was moved from Jos to the more remote prison at Yola. Obasanjo won the 1999 Nigerian presidential election, he ran as a candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, and won with help from military generals Ibrahim Babangida and Aliyu Mohammed Gusau who delivered the Northern establishment for him, and defeated Chief Olu Falae, the joint candidate of the All Peoples Party, and the Alliance for Democracy.
He was re-elected in the 2003 election. Influenced by Pan-Africanist ideas, he was a keen supporter of the formation of the African Union and served as its chair from 2004 to 2006. Obasanjo’s attempts to change the constitution to abolish presidential term limits were unsuccessful and brought criticism. In retirement, he earned a PhD in theology from the National Open University of Nigeria.