Olusegun Obasanjo: How I became Nigeria’s President

Former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed how he ran from power until he eventually became president.


Obasanjo pledged his allegiance to Africa and Nigeria, adding that their sterling values made him a Pan-Africanist and Nigerian to the core.


He spoke on Sunday at a symposium to mark his 85th birthday organized by the Kegite Club at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.

Olusegun Obasanjo: How I became Nigeria's President
Olusegun Obasanjo: How I became Nigeria’s President

Renowned journalists, Dr. Yemi Faroumbi, Dr. Festus Adedayo and Prof. Kolawole Kazeem spoke on: “Depreciating Cultural Values and Virtue in the Era of Social Media: Causes, Challenges and Solutions”.


The Eternal Grandpatron of the Kegite Club tasked the association to be united and avoid rancour.

“If anything that should be Nigeria, is not Nigeria, I will not be part of it. If anything that should be Africa is not Africa, count me out of it.

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“I will only be your Kegite eternal grand patron if you all bury your hatchets so that by next year of my birthday, we will all be together again”, he said.


At the symposium, two journalists, Dr. Yemi Faroumbi and Dr. Festus Adedayo as well as Prof. Chief Kolawole Kazeem, spoke on the theme: “Depreciating Cultural Values and Virtue in the Era of Social Media: Causes, Challenges and Solutions.”


The statement of the former president, was triggered by a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines, Farounbi, who eulogised Obasanjo’s as someone, who at no time ran after power.

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Farounbi in the lecture, pointedly said Obasanjo rejected the call for him to become the Head of State in 1976, after the coup that claimed the lives of the General Murtala Muhammed and some other military officers.


Farounbi added: ” He became the Military Head of State, very much against his wish I have the narrations of the events of the February 13, 1976 by highly respected General T.Y Danjuma and others to buttress this.


“I also know that he did everything possible to reject becoming the candidate of PDP and ultimately the president in 1999 elections.


“I can say authoritatively because I was involved. He had no interest in pursuing power, but power was interested in pursuing him because of the much needed cultural values inherent in him.

“He was like David in the Bible. He did not want to be a king, but he had the values of a king. He has demonstrated bravery by killing a bear and lion with bear hands.


“God needed such a person to face Goliath. During the Civil War, when the march by First Division of Nigerian Army has been stalemated, and the 2nd Division has faded away under the burden of the failure of the ill-advised and ill-fatted attempt to attack to attack Onitsha from Asaba, across the Niger River and the 3rd Marine Commando was losing streak, General Obasanjo came as the David who destroyed our Goliath and did that vet successfully.


“When1999 came and the PDP wanted a candidate that will be become a President that will make it difficult for the military to come back, General Obasanjo fitted the bill because of his character traits of bravery, courage and ability to manage men and resources.


“Not only that PDP was looking for someone who will lead Nigeria as a Nigerian and truly belong to all. Again General Obasanjo fitted the bill. He did not become President because of a lifelong ambition, but because he demonstrated rich cultural core values in assignments that he was given.”


Reacting, Obasanjo confirmed that he was once reluctant to be in political power.


“I was trained as a soldier. One of my training is that soldiering and politics don’t go together and I stuck to that.


“While I stuck to separation between soldiering and politics, power started chasing me. I ran and ran until I could not run out of the reach of power.


“I believed that without been immodest, the fact that I was not looking for power, power was looking for me make a drought of business”, he said.

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