Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday expressed regret over the inability of his parents to live to reap the fruits of their labour and the sacrifice they made before death came calling and snatched them very early in life when he was young.
Speaking at his 81st birthday celebration in Abeokuta, Obasanjo stated that he wished his parents were alive to appreciate his growth and success in life, in order for them to reap the fruits of their labour over him.
According to him, “One thing I always miss and remember is that my parents left this world too early. The sacrifice they made, they did not wait to see the results. How I wish they had waited to see and eat the fruits of their labour,” Obasanjo lamented.
He, however, said his consolation is predicated on a popular Yoruba belief-system that “the dead doesn’t sleep in death but always looks after the one that is left behind,” while expressing optimism that with that belief-system, he was sure his late parents would still be happy in their graves till date for his great leap in achievements as a one-time Head of State and President and Commander in-Chief of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. “But going by what Yoruba believe in and says that the dead always watch over their beloved ones and see to good things happening around them, I am convinced that my parents are happy in their graves, as they watch over me,” he emphasised
On the 81st birthday, Obasanjo said he would continue to appreciate, praise, adore and worship God, just as he admitted that all those who worked and are still working with him, are loyal, and also expressed his appreciation to them. He admitted that his recorded successes and achievements so far, cannot be complete without the relevance, support and cooperation of all his workers and aides, emphasising that they were all committed and loyal to him and he prayed for them.
Obasanjo also seized the occasion to call on Nigerians on the need to serve humanity, noting that it is when humanity is served that one can serve God, stating that he did not believe that God has created bad situation for Nigeria, or any particular country in Africa. “We must be able to serve humanity. If we can’t serve humanity, we can’t serve God. I do not believe God has created bad situation for Nigeria, or any particular country in Africa.
If things are not going right, we must blame ourselves,” he said. The former president therefore, emphasised further that governance and values among other things must be accorded serious attentions, in order to get things right. “For me, this day, I have nothing to say but to continue to thank God, appreciate Him, and praise Him and worship Him and adore Him for all that He has done for me personally, for my family members, for my extended family, friends, peers and those who have worked with me.
“Where people talk about my achievements, not mentioning or remembering that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything all by myself alone. I believe 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.”
Meanwhile, Former President, Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, has congratulated former President Olusegun Obasanjo who turned 81 yesterday.
Jonathan’s spokesman, Mr. Ikechukwu Eze, said in a statement that the former president described Obasanjo as a man of great achievements. In a goodwill message to Obasanjo, Jonathan wrote: “Your Excellency, I write to most sincerely congratulate you on your 81st birthday. On this very special anniversary, I join you, your family and other well-wishers to give thanks to Almighty God for a life of great achievements and inspiring service to humanity,” he said.
Also, the All Progressives Congress (APC) in a statement yesterday by its National Publicity Secretary, Mallam Bolaji Abdullahi, described Obasanjo as the bastion of democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria. “Our party joins family, friends, well-wishers and associates in celebrating the retired army general who has emerged as the bastion of democracy, good governance and development in Nigeria and beyond.
On his part, former Deputy Governor of Osun State, Senator Iyiola Omisore, described Obasanjo as an unrepentant nationalist who wants the best for his country. Omisore, in a statement issued to congratulate Obasanjo on the occasion of his 81st birthday, extolled the former president for his consistent interventions on issues relating to the general well-being and survival of Nigeria as a country.
According to the former Chairman, Senate Committee on Appropriation, the fact that Obasanjo loves and is ready to risk his life for the good of Nigeria is never in doubt. “He has demonstrated that as one of the Nigeria civil war heroes, who fought to keep this country one,” he said.