My bitter-sweet experience with Obasanjo – Tinubu

Former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, on Thursday recounted the series of bitter and sweet experiences with former President Obasanjo. Tinubu, and other leaders of the All Progressives Congress (APC) described Obasanjo as the first true father of the Nigerian nation, having, among others, dumped partisan politics to put the welfare of the country above all else.

It was an occasion for old foes to reminisce on the days of yore; for matters that caused tempers to flare years ago to be smiled upon with tolerant hindsight.

It was the former president’s 78th birthday.

Among the politicians who graced the event in Abeokuta were the leadership of the APC, led by its national chairman, John Odigie Oyegun; Tinubu; the former National Secretary of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola; the Deputy National Chairman of APC, Chief Segun Oni and the Ogun State Governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.

The event which was organised by the Centre for Human Security, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), with the theme, “An Agenda for the Developmental Future of Nigeria”, was chaired by Prof. Akin Mabogunje.

Tinubu told the gathering: “Obasanjo has trapped me innocently with the great wisdom of a 78-year- old. I am honoured to be here and many of you will see this as a rare occasion. But this is an opportunity to pay tribute to a nationalist, a teacher, a disciplinarian and a tutor in dignity and boldness.”

The APC leader spoke further:

“Yes, it is true, there are no permanent friends or permanent enemies in politics, what is common is common interest. “Once upon a time, some nine years ago, I went to the Villa, and President Obasanjo asked me to walk out and was just abusing me in the papers and I said, ‘Baba, you are a tenant here, this house belongs to Nigeria, if I get to Ota, you can send me out. I brought files about Nigeria’ and he said, ‘that is true, sit down’. “If I would tell you several events that occurred between the two of us in the interest of the nation, I would write an epistle but today is not for that.

But how do you celebrate truly and honour a man who has kept you on your toes, no matter who you are. Between Baba Olusegun Obasanjo and myself, what I can say is ‘gratitude from me because you kept me on my toes’. “Each time, we disagreed on things, principles. I took him to court one time as the President and he saw me and said, ‘You took me to court, we can’t be friends after the court’ and I responded, ‘I didn’t take you to court, I took Nigeria’s President to court’ and he said, ‘get out of my way’ and I told him, ‘I wouldn’t get out of the way until I get what I want.’

 

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