President Olusegun Obasanjo: A Tribute

by Paul I. Adujie

Sundry comments by the UN Secretary General Mr. Moon, demonstrated his keen understanding of numerous positive roles that President Obasanjo have led Nigeria to play in the world arena. The new leader of the UN therefore emphasized his desire to continue to see Nigeria play such prominent roles on the world stage. Mr. Moon promised President Obasanjo that Nigeria will not be sidelined, just because the former UN Secretary General Mr. Kofi Annan has left the UN in retirement.

Mr. Moon repeatedly emphasized the importance of the meeting with President Obasanjo, even as the incoming Secretary General of the UN, declared and proclaimed publicly, that Nigeria is an important and strategic country in Africa and with a welter of natural and human resources. Nigeria has played meaningful and positive roles in the past, and Nigeria continues to make major efforts and contributions in the affairs of the African continent. Nigeria, he said, has enhanced the roles and functions of the United Nations. For this, Mr. Moon stated that Nigeria deserved and still deserves commendations, for Nigeria’s leadership roles in Africa and on the world scene.

Mr. Moon is, according to press reports, a keen watcher of global events and he is said to have acknowledged ‘Nigeria’s strides in international politics, he acknowledged Nigeria’s efforts at promoting regional cooperation and integration and also Nigeria’s contributions to peacekeeping missions in troubled zones.’ He is said to have also intimated that “I have deep respect for Obasanjo and his tireless efforts to resolve regional conflicts in Africa and to also ensure regional, continental and global peace and security,” he reportedly emphasized. Mr. Moon promised President Obasanjo his immediate action on the internecine Darfur crisis in the Sudan.

Mr. Moon promised to continue to emphasize Nigeria place in world affairs and laudable roles that Nigeria assiduously and adroitly played during the President Obasanjo administrations. He stated and restated, in so many words, his commitment to accentuating Nigeria’s leadership in global affairs.

In President Obasanjo’s vote of thanks, which was generously infused with his usual humor and genial demeanor, our president told of how he is from a humble beginning, he emphasized the real name for that euphemism, humble, he said, mean that he was born to parents who were of little means, they were poor! And no one expected that his name would be heard in the next village. But here we are in New York today he concluded. He told of lessons he has learnt through his life and carreer in public service. In the Nigerian Army, in the Civil War, and before that, his peace keeping mission in the Congo in the 1960 and of course, in the leadership of Nigeria, as a military head of government and now, as the democratically elected President of our dear republic. He spoke of challenges and the power of God over all things.

His vote of thanks were interlaced and interspersed with so much self-deprecatory humor. President Obasanjo’s intelligence and wealth of knowledge and his world-wise, world-smart, world-aware information, shined all through his speech, this is a man who is clearly an under appreciated by Nigerians. Prophets gets no respect at home? His vote of thanks was very impressive! It made you wonder about the other President Obasanjo that is often derided, vilified and denigrated by Nigerians!

Mr. Phillip Adekunle, (Big K) the brain behind was also in the audience and he subsequently commented publicly, thus; the former Prime Minister PJ Patterson of Jamaica ‘gave a FANTASTIC speech, which should have been the highlight of the evening. Next year, his country will celebrate 200 years of the end of slavery’ Mr. Adekunle’s summation was my exact feelings, listening to PJ Patterson speak on Tuesday night. He really moved the audience with his full grasp of history, particularly, world history as it has impacted Africans on the continent and peoples of African descent worldwide. All guest speakers were know their subject and they obviously prepared, which shone through their presentations.

President Obasanjo, Ambassador Young and PJ Patterson are in sync as friends. This was clear from the stories they told, indicative of their worldview, their portrayal of the way the world works and the ramifications and consequences for Africans and peoples of African descent. They were elaborate and on points in every specificities! President Obasanjo informed the audience that Africans were the first in the world to practice globalization, albeit, involuntarily. He demonstrated this by reminding us that there are Africans in Americas, Antigua and Barbuda, Bahamas, Cuba, Jamaica, Trinidad and Tobago and in-between. He reminded us how that first globalization in the world, is what built structures, and created wealth in the world, with the blood, sweat and tears of Africans and peoples of African descent, but the structures and wealth, were mostly outside Africa for non-Africans.

President Obasanjo mentioned repeatedly, and explained his depth of knowledge of the world interdependence and interrelationships; he stated for example, that God put petroleum under the earth in parts of the world for a reason. He stated that he quite understand the world’s need for oil for economic growth and survival. He however insisted that those whose soil posses such nature’s bounty, should earn the reward or benefits imbued in such bounties and fortunes of nature. It will be recalled that President Obasanjo administration has seen to it that oil producing states in Nigeria have since 1999, received increased revenue allocations for the benefit of the inhabitants of the lands where oil is produced, with its attendant environmental consequences. Instances abound of pollutions of rivers and streams, farmlands and fishing waters and other ravages of the environment in oil prospecting and producing areas of Nigeria. It was clear that our president thinks globally and acts locally! President Obasanjo warned prophetically about a ‘fourth scramble for Africa’, which he said was coming in the wake of slavery, imperialism/Apartheid and colonialism. ‘I can see a fourth scramble for Africa for petroleum and other important strategic resources which Africa is endowed or possess.

Apart from the visit to the United Nations by President Obasanjo, and his attendance as the honored guest and cynosure of the tributes and celebrations at the Waldorf Astoria Hotel, our president also conducted other important national business, including a meeting with a Nigerian engineer, Bamidele Oyekanmi, PhD, an inventor of an automotive part, for which this Nigerian is currently partnering with Ford Motors Company, with a view of possibly producing the particular automotive part in Nigeria, thereby offering employment opportunities to Nigerians in Nigeria.

Another Nigerian, Dr. Greg Oghafua, a medical doctor in the cardiology specialty was also introduced to President Obasanjo, this cardiologist has an invention for which he has a patent and the invention prototypes were manufactured in China and in Mexico, but there are plans to make Nigeria the home country of the invention and its manufacture.

Both inventions were demonstrated to all present by the inventors, two of our best and brightest. You will all recall that President had a remarkable idea that gave birth to the Nigeria in Diaspora Organization (NIDO); that umbrella organization of Nigerians abroad, NIDO’s mission includes, among other things, the bringing together, of accomplished Nigerians in all fields of endeavor, and the harnessing of expertise and special skills, training and education, our experiences in the Diaspora, for the benefit of Nigerians in Nigeria, our homeland. These NIDO efforts coalesced and culminated into the meeting of NIDO Board Chairman Dr. Ola Kassim who practices medicine in Canada; Ms. Adejumoke Akin-Taylor who is a manager of retail real estate with Chase Bank, Jumoke is consummate advocate of all that is good and

beneficial to Nigeria. She is a Board member of NIDO. Also present was Mr. Robert Ngwu a NIDO Board member who traveled from Minnesota and of course, my humble self, we on behalf of NIDO, introduced these Nigerian inventors to our president as facilitated by the amiable Ambassador George Obizor, Nigeria’s ambassador to the United States. Our thanks and appreciation is reserved for our embassy and our consulate in New York.

Meeting President Obasanjo is always a good experience; it has always been for me. He is a straight shooter! He is very effacing of all the negative things that is peddled about him and he erases any doubt as to his intention and sincerity of purpose. During our meetings, he cracked humorous jokes even as he was singularly focused on the business at hand. He caught anyone, who slipped or misstated an issue or glossed over something. Even though you may have thought that he may be momentarily distracted by the banter and laughter, no! He does not miss anything. He was always very attentive at our presentations. He made knowledgeable suggestions to the Nigerian inventors for instance.

He also informed us, how the Nigerian government may be able to facilitate all these.

On PDP nomination, he praised Governor Yar’Adua’s integrity, qualifications and suitability. He emphasized his reform policies as key to Nigeria development and advancement, just as he reiterated that the PDP has adopted his reform policies as policy fulcrum, even beyond 2007. His reform agenda has become PDP’s plank and platform. He highlighted Governor Yar’Adua’s fiscal discipline and austere financial management style.

President Obasanjo assured Nigerians at home and abroad that Nigeria is destined for development and greatness soon, as the foundations and institutions in that direction have been laid. At the end of all these events, I came away with more admiration for our super patriot, our statesman and the man who has earned all these accolades, all these befitting, glowing and well-deserved tributes by non-Nigerians. I personally wish that Nigerians appreciated President Obasanjo much more; I strongly believe that will be the case in due course and as time goes by!

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2 comments December 31, 2006 - 9:04 pm

Excellent piece! Thanks for the report. Olusegun Obasanjo is indeed our "PROPHET WITHOUT HONOUR" in our hometown of OBODO Nigeria. He is, in Yoruba Palance "AKANDA ENIYAN" (Man specially created by God). Like Biblical David he is human, but God has been merciful and gracious to him. He is indeed a man after Gods heart. (So all the efforts to diminish his achievements are futile) Those who try to copy him have also failed. They are quick to forget that we (Nigerians) offered him Leadership in 1999. He did not beg for it. I very heartily concur with the well deserved words at the occassion and once again thank Paul for the timely report.

Xtreme December 28, 2006 - 8:08 am

All i can say is nonsense, arrant nonsense. All those extolling OBJ's alleged peace initiatives are either blind or just sycophants. In any case, i can't blame them cos if a man that has total disregard to the rule of law and constitutional processes can be suggested as becoming a recipient of the prestigious NObel Peace Prize, then its high time, the Nobel award is closed.



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