How The Owu Community Perceive Obasanjo
TO some of former President Olusegun Obasanjo kinsmen, he did very little to see to the wellbeing of his community, as either a former Military Head of State or President.
Many that share this view may not have had the chance of getting close to Obasanjo, who holds two chieftaincy titles in his Owu community — the Balogun (War leader) of Owu kingdom and the Jagunmolu (Conqueror) of Egbaland.
Obasanjo has been accused by his kinsmen that, as former military Head of State and President of Nigeria, he did very little for the Egbaland. But a Chief in OBJ’s community, Alhaji Shehu Oladunjoye, who has been very close to him since 1978, disagrees with those who share this view. Oladunjoye dismissed the allegation saying, “what those with such view are saying is that Obasanjo ought to have concentrated all major
projects in his community.” He insisted that those who share this opinion are either ignorant of Obasanjo’s “immense” contributions towards his community, State and Nigeria as a whole or they are deliberately trying to be mischieveous for reasons best known to them.
He believes Obasanjo’s patriotism and love for his community is not in doubt to unbiased minds. “One thing we must know about Obasanjo is that he is one of the few detribalised Nigerians, who see the entire country as THEIR community.”
To him, Obasanjo is an easy going man “despite his status” who mixes freely with people within his Owu community and Egbaland as a whole.
“Obasanjo is a grassroots man, loving, kind and approachable,” he said. According to him, the former President is a loving man who takes care of people around him. He also dismissed speculations that Obasanjo had distanced himself from his community, stressing that he had, on several occasions paid school fees or hospital bills for the less privileged.
“Many of us have benefitted immensely from Baba’s benevolence,” he said.
Oladunjoye disclosed that “every Christmas season, OBJ sends food items — bags of rice, cooking oil and poultry food to the community to be shared among the needy.”
To prove that the former President did much for his constituency, Oladunjoye who is the Jagunmolu of Owu, insisted that it was through Obasanjo’s influence that the Federal Medical Centre, Federal University of Agriculture and Federal College of Education were all
sited in Abeokuta. “Nobody can also deny the fact that, as a military Head of State, it was through Obasanjo’s influence that Abeokuta was made the State capital of Ogun State.”
The dualisation of the Abeokuta-Lagos Expressway was also done during Obasanjo regime. Also at his Ibogun ancestral home, Obasanjo influenced provision of electricity, Microfinance Bank and School of Engineering of the Olabisi Onabanjo University in the area.
He is also said to have made it compulsory for all Ibogun children of school age to go to school.
On December 26 of every year, Obasanjo fetes the whole Ibogun community after which they brainstorm on how to move the community forward.
He has also set up a Foundation that takes care of the indigent in the community.
“Add that to the fact that Obasanjo farms have employed hundreds of youths and you will agree with me that Obasanjo has not only been a good national leader but also a good community leader,” Oladunjoye affirmed.
“Obasanjo, as Balogun of Owu,” he disclosed, “has never missed any of the Owu Chiefs Council meetings unless it is unavoidable. He is one of our most revered leaders of our community,” Oladunjoye stated.
His words “When he (Obasanjo) was approached by some of the country’s eminent personalities to join politics, we (community) disagreed; but when the
pressure became too much, we succumbed. I must say that whatever has happened, we don’t regret him joining politics.
According to him, “We support his (Obasanjo) leaving the PDP. It is unfortunate that the party did not treat him well because some people within the party became jealous of him for selfish reasons.”
Oladunjoye disclosed that all the 570 members of Ward 11 and many of the people in the community have left the PDP with Obasanjo.
Obasanjo as a family man
Interestingly, No one in Owu community was willing to volunteer any information regarding the former President’s family life. Those approached by The Guardian simply said, “Obasanjo is a loving and caring husband and father who can sacrifice anything for the wellbeing of his children.”
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