Ruler of Nigeria from 1998 to 1999 who took over from the strongman Sani Abacha and shepherded the country to multiparty elections.
He was a backer of his predecessor's regime, which was notorious for its human rights abuses.
He took over the country promising to hold free elections with the year and transfer power to the president elected; surprising many, he kept his word.
He was born in Minna, Nigeria and he belonged to the Gwari people.
Like F.W. de Klerk in South Africa, he tried to bring prosperity and peace to a country that knew little of it.