‘Why I Visited 97 Countries When I Was President’ – Obasanjo

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Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed why he visited a total of 97 countries between 1999 and 2007 when he presided over the country.

The elder statesman said he embarked on those journies to stave off the negative perception which the world had about Nigeria.

He spoke when he delivered a lecture at the AIG-Blavatnik school of government, University of Oxford, UK, on Monday, January 8.

“I was elected as president of Nigeria in February of 1999 and was inaugurated as president in May 1999, when Nigeria was a pariah nation,” he said.

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“Everywhere, people had poor opinion about us. We were scorned at and viewed as a liability in the comity of nations. The situation demanded that I worked to stave off that perception. As a country under political transformation, I applied myself scrupulously to the task at hand.

“For the eight years that I served, I reached out to world leaders and continue to do so beyond my presidency. That was termed shuttle diplomacy in governance.

“I travelled extensively, canvassing global understanding and our mainstreaming into the New World Order – not only for Nigeria, but for the whole of Africa. By the time I finished my two-terms, I had travelled to 97 countries.”

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