FORMER President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Friday said he prays that Nigeria would not sink like the troubled opposition political party, the Peoples Democratic Party .
Obasanjo declared that the PDP has sunk.
Obasanjo said the party that was once in control of 30 states out of the 36 states in the country is now a shadow of itself as a result of protracted internal crisis .
The occasion had earlier witnessed an International Symposium on “Purpose and Utilitarian Values of Presidential Libraries” with national and international speakers.
The former President stated this at the display of 40 African traditional drums in commemoration of his 80th birthday celebration organized by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilization of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL).
Obasanjo who was responding to the remarks of the elsewhile national chairman of PDP , Chief Ahmadu Ali on their past relationship while in government said when Ali was the Chairman of the party, they were able to control 30 out of 36 states in the country.
Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo (l) and the Assistant Inspector-Geral of Police, in-charge of zone 2, Onikan, Kayode Aderanti, during the former’s visit as special guest, at the First Biannual Special Training and Capacity Development Seminar organised by the Zone, for officers, yesterday, at the Federal Palace Hotel, Victoria Island Lagos. Pix by Evelyn Usman
According to him, “when all was going well, when I brought Ahmadu Ali as the national chairman of the party, we controlled 30 States out of the 36 states but when Ahmadu and I left, the fortune of the PDP sunk.
“Ali is a man of truth, hardworking but cantankerous.
However, Obasanjo alluded that may the situation which affects the party never happened to the Nigerian nation. His words: “May the fortune of Nigeria never sink like that of the PDP,” the audience responded with a thunderous “amen”.
Earlier, at an International Symposium, Obasanjo disclosed that the Presidential Library was another opportunity for him to correct his past mistakes in keeping important materials as Military Head of State.
Obasanjo said, “somebody among the University Dons said God has always giving me the opportunity to correct my wrongs not in all cases but in most cases and this Presidential Library is actually an act of God which He has given to me to correct one of my mistakes of the past and I have said this very often.
“ I was in the war front, it was very one significant thing in my life and in the life of Nigeria. I was military head of State, it was one significant thing in my life and in the life of Nigeria ,but, I was not as mindful as I should have been about collecting materials that were connected with those events, the war front and civil war both on the vandals side, we called them rebels side or if you like the Biafrans side, they called us vandals, we called them rebels.
“But we did collect something, when I was also the Military Head of State I didn’t pay much attention to collect materials, where I should have paid attention to, so by 1988, it occurred to me that these are mistakes, I looked at some of the materials we got from the war fronts, they were in very bad state of neglect so what I did is to try and micro-film what we could micro-film.
“I also learnt a lesson, when you are in a position to keep materials and preserve them for prosterity, you should do so and I never knew there will be another opportunity so God created another opportunity for me to correct the mistakes of the past.
“God is the God of second chance and for some of us. He is not God of second chance but God of many chances and I will be internally grateful to God for the opportunity he has given me but more importantly whatever I might achieved, I take responsibility but, whatever I might achieved it would not have been possible without the people who have helped me in life to be able to achieve what I have achieved.
“Take the Presidential Library for example if not for the members of Board of Trustees I will have fallen by the roadside and that will have been another mistake because it got to a stage that things were rough, things were rough and we are just putting heads together, it is God of many chances”, he said.
Also speaking, a United Nations Ambassador, Mr. Andrew Young discribed Obasanjo as a man of peace, saying “I don’t think there is any man that have made much contribution to Africa than Obasanjo”.
He noted that the Presidential Library would make people to understand Obasanjo’s work as a President and his leadership qualities.
Andrew said “it is time for Nigeria to realise and make ammendment where it’s lagging behind. There is no human being in Africa that has experienced what Obasanjo has gone through in the last 50 years .
“The presidential Library will help others to understand your work as a President and your leadership qualities”.
The daughter of former American President, Franklin D. Roosevelt, Tracy Roosevelt in her remark maintained that the Presidential Library is a place, meant to bring together the memories of the past Presidents and their works Roosevelt said the Library is a gift, Obasanjo left to share the memories of his past with his people.
“There are 14 presidential libraries in the the United States of America (USA),but, the first Presidential Library in Africa was created by Obasanjo in Abeokuta”.
On her own, former Permanent Delegate of Kenya to UNESCO, Ambassador Mary Khimulu who spoke on “Presidential Libraries a Catalyst for Youth Development” said the Library was not for Nigeria but all Africa, saying “This is a landmark that should be emulated by all Africa”.
He said the library would help the youth to know the way of the former President and also to learn from them, stressing it would help in the development of the Nigeria’s democracy.
The former Secretary-General of All Africa Association of Students Union, Fred Awaah said African continent should make building of Presidential Library as a priority, saying it would help in its leadership development and governance.
All those who spoke at the occasion commended Obasanjo’a leadership qualities and love for Nigeria and Africa as a whole.