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Mandela, Tutu Encouraged Me to Run for President – Obasanjo

Former President of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday disclosed that he sought advice from the late South African President, Nelson Mandela and renowned Reverend Desmond Tutu, another South African statesman before deciding to contest the 1999 presidential election.

Obasanjo who spoke in Abeokuta explained that after his release from prison in 1999 over his alleged involvement in a fathom coup, he became confused when people started putting pressure on him to contest the country’s presidency.

With this scenario, he sought advice from Mandela and Tutu who encouraged him to contest.

The former president spoke during a thanksgiving service, organised by the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Ogun State chapter as part of activities marking his 80th birthday, which falls on Sunday, March 5.

Obasanjo told the congregation which included politicians, traditional rulers, clerics, top government officials and a cross section of the society that God had been “partial” to him in the manner he has favoured him.

He stressed that he didn’t deserve the favour God had shown him to achieve his modest achievement in life.

Obasanjo recalled, “ When I came out from prison for an offence I didn’t commit and people started putting pressure on me to be Nigeria’s President, I was confused but in that confusion I sought advice. I went first to Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu. Mandela said Olu, whatever your instinct tells you, follow it.

“God have been so partial to me by showing me much favour to achieve what I didn’t deserve. God has done for me much more I deserve. I praise God and I thank God for this.”

Governor Ibikunle Amosun in his brief remark described Obasanjo as an exemplary leader, saying he means a lot to so many people.

Represented by his Deputy, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga, he said the people of the state are proud to have him as a citizen of the state.

In his sermon, Bishop Oke described Obasanjo as a great man who God raised for the greatness of Nigeria.

His words: “In every generation, God raises a man for his people. Like Abraham, Joseph, Samuel, Ezra, Nehemiah, Esther, Peter, and Paul, baba (Obasanjo) is a hero God raised for our generation.”

He said though Obasanjo had retired from the helm of affairs in the country, he was still working silently.

The clergyman said Obasanjo had laboured to see a new Nigeria, praying he would live long to see a better and new Nigeria.

He admonished Obasanjo to seek forgiveness from God, forgive every individual that had offended him from the heart as well as to bring close his associates to school and motivate them so that they would build on his legacy.


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