Former Chairman of the Board of Trustees, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
By Tunde Sanni
The South-west organ of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday hinted that it was rallying former Ghanaian President, Mr. John Kufuor, President Goodluck Jonathan and the National Chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamangar Tukur, to a two-day civic reception for the former chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT), Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, this weekend in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Chairman of the reception planning committee, Mr. Adeyemi Adefulu, at a press conference in Ibadan, Oyo State, said the event was being organised to showcase Obasanjo as an outstanding Nigerian statesman and national icon.
Speaking alongside former Governors Segun Oni and Segun Agagu of Ekiti and Ondo States respectively, Adefulu said the South-west organ of the party decided to honour Obasanjo, following his voluntary retirement from the party as chairman of BoT, while his exploits on the landscape of Nigeria as a colossus in the past 50 years remained unrivalled.
“In our clime, it is only when people die that they are appreciated and adulated in superlative terms. We chose to be different. We decided to celebrate this outstanding leader of our time to show our gratitude and the gratitude of the nation for his sterling leadership and rare courage,” he said.
Adefulu said Obasanjo was a war commander during Nigerian civil war and received the instrument of surrender from General Effiong, the then commander of the Biafran forces to mark the end of the war.
Apart from various national and international service to humanity across the African continent like South Africa, Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Angola, Guinea Bissau among others, Adefulu said when General Muritala Muhammed, was assassinated, Obasanjo reluctantly became the new head of state.
According to him, “nobody expected him to keep the deadline for the return to civilian rule. But it is to his eternal glory that he kept faith with the people and in 1979 handed over to Alhaji Shehu Shagari as the elected President of the Republic of Nigeria.”
He noted further that Obasanjo notwithstanding that he retired to his Ota farm and escaped former Head of State, Gen. Sani Abacha’s trumped up charges of being part of a plot to truncate Abacha’s government was sought after and became Nigeria’s elected President for two terms of eight years.
“Having dominated the Nigerian public life in a way no other person has for the past 50 years, the symbolism of another retirement is not lost on us. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has effectively become the father of the nation, a political oracle, a living legend whose life is worth celebrating. He has not only been an outstanding defender of the unity of Nigeria, he has stood for the dignity of the black man and the human race at every fora in which he found himself,” Adefulu stressed.