I did not run after power, power chased me — Obasanjo
March 13, 2022
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed that “he did not run after power, but power ran after him.”
Obasanjo spoke in Abeokuta, while responding to some issues raised during a symposium, organised by the national leadership of the Keggites Club of Nigeria through the Unity in Diversity Forum.
The lecture, which was held at the auditorium of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Complex, was part of activities to celebrate the 85th Birthday of the former president, who is the Eternal Grand Patron of the Kegite Club.
At the symposium, Dr. Yemi Faroumbi, Dr. Festus Adedayo and Prof. 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 in response to a former Nigerian Ambassador to the Philippines, Dr Yemi Farounbi, who eulogised Obasanjo as someone, who at no time ran after power.
Farounbi in the lecture, said that 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.
He said, ” he (Obasanjo) 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 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, who 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 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 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.”
Responding to the lecture, Obasanjo, who was elated by the submissions of the lecturers confirmed the position of Farounbi.
He said, “at one time you (referring to Farounbi), mentioned I was reluctant to be in political power as you said. I was trained as a soldier. One of my trainings is that soldiering and politics don’t go together and I stuck to that”.
” But as you rightly said, while I stuck to separation between soldiering and politics, power started chasing me and I ran, and I ran and I ran and 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.”
Speaking on the topic of the lecture, Obasanjo said that his allegiance is for Africa and Nigeria, as he would not be part of anything outside them.
He affirmed that the sterling values and virtue in the continent and the country, made him a Pan-Africanist and Nigeria to the core.
The former president tasked the club to unite and become one, saying their unity was part of what would be needed to make him truly an eternal grandpatron of the club.
“I will only be your Kegite eternal grandpatron if you all bury your hatchets. So, the honour you all that are here will do me is to come together now, so that by next year of my birthday, we will all be together again, and that will gladden my hearts.”
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