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My Deepest Pain at 81 – Obasanjo

President Matthew Olusegun Aremu Obasanjo (center, right), Federal Republic of Nigeria, participates in a Full Honor Arrival Ceremony hosted by the Honorable Donald H. Rumsfeld (not pictured), U.S. Secretary of Defense, at the River Entrance of the Pentagon, Washington, D.C., May 10, 2001. OSD Package No. 010510-D-2987S-003-062 (Photo by Helene C. Stikkel) (Released)

Former President Olusegun on Monday marked a relatively low key birthday, saying his greatest source of sadness each time he cast his back, was the death of his parents.

Obasanjo who turned 81 March 5 said it is always a thing of regret and pain in the heart that his mother and father did not live long enough to witness his achievements in life and profit from them.

Ebora Owu who spoke while giving his remarks during the celebration at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, however added that if the saying is true that the dead always watch over the living, his late parents would not only watch over him but also in a way, show act of gratitude to those who helped to become who he is today.

The occasion was chaired by Pa Christopher Kolade with Governor Ibikunle Amosun, Senator Kola Bajomo, former Deputy Governor in Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, former Minister and Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Tunji Ishola among others in attendance.

Obasanjo however, said he would continued to thank God for all that he had achieved including the building of the Presidential Library for posterity, adding that God has been kind to Nigeria.

According to the ex – President, it is Nigerians, particularly leadership failure, and not God, who should take the blame for why things are not working well as they ought to.

“One of the things that I always missed or remember with some feeling of sadness is that my parents left this world too early and that the sacrifices they have made for me, how I wish they have been around to see the fruit of their labour, that is not to be.

“But if, as Yoruba belief that those who are dead are still able to see who are here alive, if my parents, where they are, are able to see those of us who are here, they will also be grateful to those who have worked with me to enable me to achieve what, if they’ve been alive, they would have been proud of those achievements.

“For me, this day, I have nothing but to continue to thank God, appreciate Him, and praise Him and worship Him and adore Him for all that he had done for me personally, for members of my family, for my extended family, friends, peers and for those who has worked with me.

“Where people talk about my achievement, not mentioning or remembering that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything all by my self alone, I belief it could amount to a various serious omission because many of those who worked with me worked loyalty, worked with commitment and some of them are still doing so up till today.

“If I had known what this is involved, I wouldn’t have torched it with the longest stick in the world. Of course you all keep saying you thanked God that I did not know because I would have deprived posterity what we are now having here.

“But if not that you’re able to lift up my hand when I was getting tired, those who said, when we started, that it’s a job that will never be completed, they would have been proved right but for your help.

“I do not believe God has created a bad situation for Nigeria, No, or for any particular station of this country, no, or for any part of Africa, no. When things are not going on right, we must blame ourselves and these are issues of leadership, governance, development and values.

“And these are things we must take seriously and make sure we get them right,” Obasanjo said.

In his remarks, Amosun lauded Obasanjo at 81, describing him as a true nationalist, whose love for the country can’t be controverted.

“Love him or hate him, there’s something nobody can take away from him, he’s a true nationalist, Baba loves Nigeria and I know that there’s absolutely nothing he wouldn’t want to do for Nigeria.

“Even beyond the sores of Nigeria, if you start counting, Baba would be one of the best three giant of Africa, many of whom are now longer with us.

There’s no way history of our nation Nigeria and the continent of Africa would be written without the prominent mention of Baba.

“When they were praying for Baba, they said 120 and I said 100 is OK but Baba, when you live to that age, don’t write letters ooo don’t write ooo, because Baba would continue writing when he lives till 120, please don’t write poop,  that is Baba for you.

“Please reduce your activities, you’re not getting young anymore, Baba please slow down, you’re not getting younger anymore, we are not saying Baba should be indoors because he would die, but while you’re doing something, please slow down because we still want to have you around for many years.”




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