Babangida greets Osoba at 80, describes as detribalised Nigerian
In a tribute for the founding member of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) on the occasion of his 80th birthday and book lunch entitled “Battle Lines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics” holding in Lagos today, General Babangida recalled the good old days when he, Osoba and many of their peers socialised without recourse to tribe or religion.
The ex-military leader noted: “It is always gratifying to know how time flies on this putrid plane. How, just like yesterday, you have clocked four scores at a time when life expectancy in Nigeria stands at 54.
At 80, it stands tall. At 80, it shows remarkable footnotes in your trajectory through life’s bramble forest. You can chronicle an unedited story of the Nigerian federation in such an elegant prose that distinguished your reportorial skills in those good old days. At 80, I know you still possess your writing skill that made your pen worthy of mention each time we met.”
The retired general also recalled how Osoba cut his professional teeth in journalism at a time when technology was still a huge challenge, adding that it was much easier to package news item just at the speed of light especially with the upsurge of new and online media.
“In those yesteryears, a journalist would have to go the extra-mile to carry out an on-the-spot investigation in order to uncover the news behind the news. The credibility of the news was as important as the credibility of the reporter. This was where Chief Olusegun Osoba had cutting edge,” he submitted.
Babangida also relived how as young military officers of those days had good company with “bloody” civilians among whom Osoba was one.
He went on: “Even as military officers, we had good company with our “bloody” civilians who complimented our network. Chief Osoba was one of such ‘civilian generals’ who knew so well how to cultivate friendship and derive happiness from seemingly gloomy situation. He has a knack for unraveling the unknown.”
Asserting that Osoba’s sun had just begun at 80, the Niger State indigene acknowledged Derin’s ability to manage Osoba’s excesses, adding: “All credit must go to his wife of quintessential orientation and uncommon humility.”
He further said: “Osoba remains to me as one of the most patriotic Nigerians I have come across in my sojourn in life. You are not only brutally frank when it comes to speaking your mind, your courage and ability to speak truth to power are an eloquent distinction of your persona.”