This Is The Story Behind Nigeria's New Presidential Library

Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library
Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library | © Ayo Akinwande
Adejoke Adeboyejo

The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) was established in 2017. Located in Abeokuta, Nigeria, the library is the first of its kind in Africa and it is modelled after similar Presidential Libraries in the United States, a concept started in 1939 by President Franklin D. Roosevelt who donated his official documents for national use. The library was established by the two-time president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who was military head of state from 1976 to 1979 and the democratically-elected president from 1999 to 2007. Here’s everything you need to know.

History

According to Chief Obasanjo, the idea to establish the library was conceived in 1988, and a foundation was set up in 2002 to advise and promote the establishment and development of the project. The library was formally commissioned on March 4, 2017, and in attendance were top Nigerian politicians including Senator Ahmed Bola Tinubu and the governor of Ogun state, Governor Ibikunle Amosun.

A model of the Presidential Office

Purpose

The library was established to acknowledge the contributions of the occupier of Nigeria‘s most important political seat, and also to provide an insight to the intricacies and challenges of the office of the president. The presidential library will serve as a place where archived documents and materials can be accessed by researchers, students and the general public hoping to learn more about the office holder and the complex decision-making processes that come with the job.

Artifacts in the museum

The library and museum

The museum and library are the two major places in the library complex. The library itself holds about fifteen million documents and two million books. The museum houses up to four thousand artifacts, which capture essential events in the history of Nigeria and modern Africa. The exhibits in the museum showcase the life of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, from his humble beginnings to his military career, his imprisonment and later life as a politician and statesman.

Bamboo Grove Restaurant

The arrival pavilion

This is a large hangar that houses artifacts such as Chief Obasanjo’s first car, a military helicopter, a miniature warship and a special vehicle that was used by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Nigeria.

Vehicle used by Pope John Paul II during his visit to Nigeria

Attractions

There are many attractions within the library complex including an open air amphitheatre for concerts, plays and other performances, a 1,000-seater auditorium and 100-room four-star hotel with facilities such as swimming pools, a tennis court, gym and sauna. The complex also has an amusement park and small wildlife park where animals such as ostrich, baboons and hyena can be seen in their enclosures. There is also the Bamboo Grove, which offers African cuisine and a bookshop. The highest point in the complex is known as the Rock of Inspiration, which offers visitors a great view of Abeokuta.

Hotel on the library grounds

1. Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library

Library

The Presidential Library is open daily throughout the year, except on Christmas and New Year’s Day.

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