God has been partial to me, says Obasanjo

Samuel Awoyinfa with agency report

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says President Muhammadu Buhari has not disappointed him since he assumed office  in 2015.

Obasanjo, who stated this in an interview with the News Agency of Nigeria at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, added that God had been partial to him as he did not deserve the favour He bestowed on him.

While reflecting on the Buhari administration since 2015, Obasanjo said the President had done his best to move the country forward.

“Whatever anybody says, President Buhari has not disappointed me from what I know of him,’’ he said.

He said Buhari had delivered on his core areas of strength and ability, particularly in the  anti-corruption crusade and the war against insurgency.

Obasanjo stated, “In my book, I have said Buhari is not strong on the economy and I did not write this to run him down.

“I also used to think that he is not strong in the area of foreign affairs, but I have realised that he has improved very well.

“He has actually done his best in the areas where we know him to be strong.”

The elder statesman urged Nigerians not to relent in their support for Buhari and not to give up on Nigeria.

Obasanjo added, “Whatever you might see as bad in Nigeria, other societies have gone through the same at some period in their history.

“It is not for us to begin to condemn but to begin to join hands together and consider how we can make the best out of our present situation.

“”Our present situation is a passing phase and we need to be resilient to ensure that we are not consumed by it.

“I will be the first to admit that we have not been where we should have been, but note that we have also been far from where we could have been because it could have been worse.

“It is the height of ingratitude for people to say Nigeria has not achieved anything or much as a nation.”

Obasanjo also decried the call for national conferences or assemblies to negotiate the continued unity of Nigeria.

The former President, who described such conferences as distractions, said he did not bother to read the report of the last one organised by former President Goodluck Jonathan.

“We Nigerians need ourselves and if anyone thinks he does not need another person, good luck to him. What I see in all those groups trying to break away is that they want more of the national cake.

“But I think that rather than engage in violence, they should think of how to build on the sacrifices of the generations before them,” he said.

Also, on Sunday, Obasanjo said God had been partial to him, arguing that he did not deserve all the favour God had shown him.

He stated this in his remarks at the thanksgiving service organised in his honour by the Christian Association of Nigeria, Ogun State chapter, ahead of his 80th birthday scheduled to hold on Sunday, March 5.

The thanksgiving service was held at the Treasure House of God, Agbeloba, Abeokuta.

Decked in white agbada, the former President said given the village where he hails from, Ibogun Olaogun, and the illiterate parents that gave birth to him, he never thought his name would even be known in the next village let alone the whole of Nigeria, Africa and the world in general.

The elder statesman, who would turn 80 on March 5, said he had no regrets at such an age.

He said his hope that Nigeria would still be a great nation was still intact.

Obasanjo also recounted his ordeal after he was alleged to be involved in planning a coup against the regime of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.

He said it was due to divine intervention that he came out of prison alive.

He said, “God has been partial to me by showing me so much favour that I do not deserve.

“If you don’t know anything about me at all, go to the village where I was born. I was born by parents that were illiterates. There was no road to the village then. One could not boast of even being known in the next village.

“God has done so much more than I deserve. I thank God for this.”

Obasanjo said he was confused when he came out of the prison and people were mounting pressure on him to come out and contest the Presidency in the run-up to the 1999 general elections.

Bishop Wale Oke, in his sermon, urged the former President to forgive all who had wronged him, so as to have a right standing with God.

Dignitaries at the event included the Ogun State Deputy Governor, Mrs. Yetunde Onanuga; Chairman, Ogun State Council of Obas, who is also the Olu of Ilaro and Paramount Ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle; Alake and Paramount Ruler of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo; Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade; Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu; Osile Oke Ona Egba, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso; and Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu among others.

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Contact: editor@punchng.com

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