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At book launch, prominent Nigerians eulogise Obasanjo

By Seye Olumide
29 December 2020   |   3:04 am
Prominent Nigerians, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Channels Television

Prominent Nigerians, including the Ooni of Ife, Oba Enitan Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Governor Udom Emmanuel of Akwa Ibom State, Chairman/Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Channels Television, Mr. John Momoh, former Director-General, News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), Mr. Akin Osuntokun, Chairman Premier Lotto, Sir Kessington Adebutu and Otunba Femmy Carena, have described ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo as a true nationalist, who treated all ethnic groups fairly while in office.

Speaking at the launch of a book titled: ‘The Man General and President (MGP) Olusegun Obasanjo’ and authored by Carena in Lagos yesterday, they labelled the Owu high chief as a “good and committed example of a leader that did not discriminate against any ethnic nationality while in and out of power.”

In his opening remarks, the chairman of the event, Momoh said despite the fact that “Nigerian history is characterised by corruption and bad leadership, the country still has some of the finest men and women who could make a positive change among which Obasanjo is one.”

He noted that the ex-leader had not been passive to critical issues in the polity.

Momoh stated: “A leader doesn’t wait for a situation to change, but he changes it. A good leader doesn’t support injustice but works for the people. He doesn’t suppress people but encourages social justice.”

He recalled that his various encounters with Obasanjo in and outside power showed that the former president remains a true leader.

While presenting the book, Osuntokun said there was no doubt that the celebrant was a “very controversial person, who has always participated in the most crucial and critical crises in Nigeria.”

He recollected: “For instance, he was the one that took the surrender of the Biafran army at the end of the civil war. He later became the Head of State in 1976 and was the first African military leader to hand over power to a civilian government in 1979. He later came back as civilian president 20 years later in 1999 and spent two terms in office.”

Stating that he knew little about the ‘Third Term’ agenda of Obasanjo, Osuntokun submitted: “I want to be convinced that those people who were opposed to Obasanjo’s alleged third term then would have had a rethink now if they had the opportunity. If those who seceded the former president had built on the legacy he left in 2007, Nigeria would have been better today.”

The NAN ex-DG noted: “The present challenge in Nigeria today is political mismanagement. We are asking President Muhammadu Buhari to, at least, reflect equity and justice in his government as Obasanjo did. No matter what those defending the incumbent president may say, this administration is not reflecting equity and justice even in its security outfits.”

In his tribute, Governor Emmanuel, who was represented by Secretary to the State Government (SSG), Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwem, pointed to the introduction of the Global System for Mobile Communication (GSM), which Obasanjo masterminded while in office.

He remembered those days when Nigerians booked appointments to make international calls.

Adebutu and Ooni of Ife, who were represented by Apostle Dave Salako and Dr. Kemade Ilugbaju, described the erstwhile president as a detribalised Nigerian.

In his review, Professor Emeritus, Michael Omolewa, said Obasanjo was mindful of knowledge acquisition and retention.