Fire Guts Obasanjo Mansion
Sheriff Balogun in Abeokuta
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo was at his comical best on thursday notwithstanding the outbreak of fire that gutted his multi-million naira Hilltop residence in an upscale neighbourhood in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The fire at his home, which happened barely 48 hours after rows of buildings went up in flames in Jankara Market, Lagos Island, destroying about 12 buildings, gutted an office in the expansive residence.
Obasanjo, who was not around when the fire broke out, returned shortly after the incident to assess the damage.
He told reporters that it was part of his secretary's office that was gutted by the fire.
Obasanjo, who showed no signs of distress over the incident, in his usual jovial self, broke out in a song: “Ile Obasanjo to jo, ewa lo bu kun. Eyin journalists e ma wi bee kiri... (Obasanjo’s house that was burnt has added to its grandeur. Journalists keep on broadcasting that).”
He said the house would soon bounce back in a better form after repairs.
Sources, however, said the fire, which started around 4.30 pm, was caused by an electricity surge from one of the personal offices of the former president and it destroyed some important documents.
Security personnel, which included men from the Nigeria Security and Civil Defence Corps (NSCDC), Nigeria Police Force (NPF) and State Security Service (SSS), joined hands with the fire fighters from the Ogun State Fire Service to curtail the fire from spreading to other parts of the building.
THISDAY gathered that the fire started barely 20 minutes after the former president left the house for his family house at Ita-Eko, a suburb of the Abeokuta metropolis.
The incident, however, forced him to return to ascertain the level of damage to the building as well as the welfare of his wife, Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, who was said to be indoors during the fire incident.
Reacting, the Chairman of the state chapter of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Dipo Odujinrin, confirmed that valuable documents were lost in the fire.
Odujinrin, who spoke to journalists 20 minutes after the fire was extinguished, thanked God that no life was lost to the inferno.
The Chief of Staff to the state governor, Alhaji Shuaib Salisu; the state Commissioner for Works and Infrastructure, Mr. Olamilekan Adegbite; former Commissioner for Environment in the state, Anthony Ojesina; the state Commissioner of Police, Mr. Ikhemefuna Okoye; and the state Director of SSS, Mr. Joseph Okpu, were some of the early sympathisers who called on Obasanjo to commiserate with him.