Former president Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday said God did not make mistake in allowing Nigeria to be a country of many tribes saying all the problems confronting the nation are that of leadership and those being led.
The former leader stated this in his remarks at his 81st birthday Heald at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
He said neither Nigeria nor any African nation is being tormented by God with problems insisting the challenges confronting the third world countries are man made issues of leadership, governance, development and values.
He said, “I do not believe God has created a bad situation for Nigeria. No, or for any particular state of this country, no, or for any part of Africa, no. When things are not going on right, we must blame ourselves and these are issues of leadership, governance, development and values. And these are things we must take seriously and make sure we get them right,”
On his achievements, Obasanjo said he would not have been able to achieve much while in power but for the loyalty and commitment of those that worked with him.
“Here people talk about my achievement, not mentioning or remembering that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything all by my self alone, I belief it could amount to a serious omission because many of those who worked with me worked loyally, worked committedly and some of them are still doing so up till today.”
On how he feels at his age, Obasanjo said he always feels sad when he remembers this parents died too young but takes solace in African belief that the dead are always around with the living.
“One of the things that I always missed or remember with some feeling of sadness is that my parents left this world too early and that the sacrifices they have made for me, how I wish they have been around to see the fruit of their labour, that is not to be.
Obasanjo who turned 81 March 5 said it is always a thing of regret and pain in the heart that his mother and father did not live long enough to witness his achievements in life and profit from them.
The occasion, chaired by Pa Christopher Kolade with Governor Ibikunle Amosun had in attendance Senator Kola Bajomo, former Deputy Governor in Oyo State, Taofeek Arapaja, former Minister and Secretary to the Ogun State Government, Tunji Ishola among others.
According to the ex – President, it is Nigerians, particularly leadership failure, and not God, who should take the blame for why things are not working well as they ought to.
“But if, as Yoruba belief that those who are dead are still able to see who are here alive, if my parents, where they are, are able to see those of us who are here, they will also be grateful to those who have worked with me to enable me to achieve what, if they’ve been alive, they would have been proud of those achievements.
“For me, this day, I have nothing but to continue to thank God, appreciate Him, and praise Him and worship Him and adore Him for all that he had done for me personally, for members of my family, for my extended family, friends, peers and for those who has worked with me.
On his presidential library, Obasanjo said he would not have touched it if he knew what it would take to put in place.
“If I had known what this is involved, I wouldn’t have torched it with the longest stick in the world. Of course you all keep saying you thanked God that I did not know because I would have deprived posterity what we are now having here.
“But if not that you’re able to lift up my hand when I was getting tired, those who said, when we started, that it’s a job that will never be completed, they would have been proved right but for your help.
In his remarks, Governor Amosun lauded Obasanjo at 81, describing him as a true nationalist, whose love for the country can’t be controverted.
He said, “Love him or hate him, there’s something nobody can take away from him, he’s a true nationalist, Baba loves Nigeria and I know that there’s absolutely nothing he wouldn’t want to do for Nigeria.
“Even beyond the shores of Nigeria, if you start counting, Baba would be one of the best three giant of Africa, many of whom are now longer with us.
There’s no way history of our nation Nigeria and the continent of Africa would be written without the prominent mention of Baba.
“When they were praying for Baba, they said 120 and I said 100 is OK but Baba, when you live to that age, don’t write letters ooo don’t write ooo, because Baba would continue writing when he lives till 120, please don’t write poop, that is Baba for you.
“Please reduce your activities, you’re not getting young anymore, Baba please slow down, you’re not getting younger anymore, we are not saying Baba should be indoors because he would die, but while you’re doing something, please slow down because we still want to have you around for many years.”