Iyabo Obasanjo (born 27 April 1967) is a former Nigerian senator and the daughter of former president of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo and his wife Oluremi Obasanjo.[1][2]

Iyabo Obasanjo
Iyabo Obasanjo in 2015
Senator for Ogun Central
In office
5 June 2007 – 6 June 2011
Preceded byIbikunle Amosun
Succeeded byOlugbenga Onaolapo Obadara
Personal details
Born (1967-04-27) 27 April 1967 (age 56)
Lagos, Nigeria
Political partyPeoples Democratic Party
Oluwafolajimi Akeem Bello
(m. 1999; div. 2003)
ResidenceUnited States
Alma mater
  • Politician
  • veterinarian
  • epidemiologist

Early life and education edit

Obasanjo attended Corona School in Victoria Island, Lagos, Capital School in Kaduna, and Queen's College in Lagos. She obtained a degree in Veterinary Medicine from the University of Ibadan in 1988, a master's degree in epidemiology from University of California, Davis in Davis, California, United States, in 1990, and a PhD in the same subject from Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, in 1994.[3]

Political career edit

Before her senatorial election, Obasanjo was Ogun State Commissioner for Health.[4] She was elected as a Nigerian Senator representing Ogun Central Senatorial District of Ogun State in April 2007.[4] She ran for re-election April 2011 on the PDP platform, but was defeated by Olugbenga Onaolapo Obadara of the Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN), who gained 102,389 votes to Obasanjo Bello's 56,312.[5] For 2012[6][7]

Senate career edit

Obasanjo was elected to the Senate on 28 April 2007 on a People's Democratic Party (PDP) platform; her Action Congress (AC) opponent Remilekun Bakare challenged this outcome, but the Ogun State Election Petition Tribunal upheld her victory.


She was the Chairman of the Senate's Health Committee, and a member of the Security & Intelligence, Land Transport, Science & Technology, Education, National Planning, and Inter-Parliamentary Committees.[4] She lost her seat during the National Assembly Elections on 9 April 2011.

Her political reign finally came to a halt in 2015 when she was ‘crushed’ by Senator Gbenga Obadara who snatched the Ogun Central Senatorial district from her.[9][10]

Assassination attempt edit

In April 2003, on the day of the general elections her car was shot at on Ifo Road in Ogun State. Although she was not in the car, 3 adults and 2 children in the car died. The perpetuators were never caught.[11][12]

EFCC investigation edit

In April 2008, Obasanjo came under investigation by Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) due to the investigations involving the Former Minister for Health and her minister for (state) Health, Prof. Adenike Grange, for embezzlement of public funds. The Ministry at the end of the financial year did not return all unspent funds to the government coffers. The amount was 300 million Naira, which was allegedly distributed among the Minister, her minister of state and top civil servants on the Senate and House Health Committee she chairs. The Minister and her deputy were forced to resign after returning their share of the money; they were later arrested and posted bail. Iyabo Obasanjo refused to return her portion of this money, 10 million naira. She claimed that the nine members of her committee "lobbied" for funds from the ministry they oversaw. She maintained this money was spent on a conference on capacity building some members of the health committee attended in Ghana. She has so far refused to appear before the EFCC. Although summoned, along with the minister and other civil servants, she refused to appear in court. A week later a high drama ensued when officials of the EFCC tried to arrest her at her home in the Maitama district of Abuja city, after several simultaneous stake outs by law enforcement officials that had her jumping over her fence to evade arrest by Nigerian law enforcement officers. In 2009 the case was thrown out of the High Court in Abuja as having no merit.[13][14][15]

Obasanjo described the allegation as "blackmail", and said she was being targeted because she was the daughter of the former president.[16]

Post-senate career edit

In 2018, a letter sent by Iyabo Obasanjo to her father in 2013 resurfaced after a statement sent by her father to the present president of Nigeria and she blamed it on the supporters of the present administration. She also said the present administration should heed her fathers advice and not run for Election.[17]

Academic career edit

She worked in Clinical Research in the US before returning to Nigeria in 2003. she was a Fellow and for 2013[18] a Senior Fellow at Harvard's Advanced Leadership Initiative. She is currently an assistant professor at the College of William & Mary Department of Health Sciences.[19] Her noted works include:

  • Olowonyo, MT; MA Adekanmbi and Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (2004). "Findings on the Use of Antenatal Facilities in Ogun State". Nigerian Medical Practitioner. 45 (5): 68–71. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  • Olowonyo, MT; S Oshin and Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello (2006). "Some factors associated with low birthweight in Ogun State, Nigeria". Nigerian Medical Practitioner. 49 (6): 154–157. doi:10.4314/nmp.v49i6.28823. Retrieved 22 December 2007.[20]

Personal life edit

Iyabo Obasanjo married Oluwafolajimi Akeem Bello in September 1999. The couple separated after Obasanjo filed for divorce on 19 May 2003. They both have one child; Jimi Bello born on 1 January 2000 in Chatham County, North Carolina.[21]

References edit

  1. ^ Obi, Rita (29 March 2005). "Obasanjo's first love". The Sun News Online. The Sun Publishing. Archived from the original on 4 August 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  2. ^ "Iyabo Obasanjo lies low - The Nation Newspaper". thenationonlineng.net. Retrieved 22 February 2022.
  3. ^ "Profile". Iyabo 4 Senate. Archived from the original on 19 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  4. ^ a b c "Senator Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello". NAssNig.org. National Assembly of Nigeria. Archived from the original on 3 March 2016. Retrieved 21 December 2007.
  5. ^ "Advertising Guru Elected Senator in Ogun State". PM News. 10 April 2011. Retrieved 5 May 2011.
  6. ^ Obasanjo-Bello, Iyabo. "List of 2012 Fellows". Harvard University – Advanced Leadership Initiative. Archived from the original on 29 May 2013.
  7. ^ Obasanjo-Bello, Iyabo (2013). "Open Letter to My Father" (PDF).
  8. ^ Larewaju, Kolade (11 December 2007). "Election tribunal upholds Obasanjo-Bello's election". Vanguard Online. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  9. ^ "Where is Iyabo Obasanjo? - The Nation News Nigeria". Latest Nigeria News, Nigerian Newspapers, Politics. 27 March 2020. Retrieved 8 May 2021.
  10. ^ "Iyabo Obasanjo". Harvard Advanced Leadership Initiative. Retrieved 22 May 2021.
  11. ^ "Four Die as Gunmen Shoot at Obasanjo's Daughter". Africa News Service. 23 April 2003. Archived from the original on 4 October 2013.
  12. ^ Osinbajo, Yemi (2009). "The State of Criminal Justice - Tenth Justice Idigbe Memorial Lecture" (PDF).
  13. ^ Human Rights Watch (2011). "Corruption on Trial?: The Record of Nigeria's Economic and Financial Crimes Commission" (PDF).
  14. ^ Okon, Patrick Ene (2018). "Comparative Analysis of Mass Media Coverage of the Fight Against Corruption in Nigeria by the Obasanjo and Buhari Administrations". International Journal of Emerging Trends in Social Sciences. 4 (2): 47–57. doi:10.20448/2001.42.47.57.
  15. ^ Owasanye, Bolaji (2014). Justice or Impunity: high profile corruption cases crawling or gone to sleep. Lagos: Human Development Initiatives. ISBN 9789789392506.
  16. ^ "…It's Pure Blackmail, Says Ex-President's Daughter". Thisday. Leaders & Company. 20 December 2007. Archived from the original on 21 December 2007. Retrieved 22 December 2007.
  17. ^ Ogundipe, Samuel (27 January 2018). "Iyabo Obasanjo speaks on her father's 'letter' to Buhari". Premium Times. Retrieved 11 March 2019.
  18. ^ Obasanjo-Bello, Iyabo. "List of 2013 Fellows". Harvard University – Advanced Leadership Initiative.
  19. ^ "William & Mary - Iyabo Obasanjo". College of William & Mary. Retrieved 14 April 2021.
  20. ^ "Iyabo Obasanjo". ResearchGate. Retrieved 1 February 2014.
  21. ^ Staff, Daily Post (2 December 2011). "Iyabo Obasanjo's Ex-Husband Marries Again". Daily Post Nigeria. Retrieved 25 May 2021.