The world have been honouring former President Olusegun Obasanjo as he celebrates his 75 birthday.
He was the cynosure of all eyes as the world gathers in his honour to celebrates the landmark occasion on Monday.
At least two African presidents were present to give honour to Africa’s no 1 statesman and Nigeria’s iconic leader who have braved several dangers to mediate as a leader in Nigerian political terrain and Africa’s social political upheavals.
Obasanjo in the present generation has served the nation more patriotically than other living statesmen.
At Monday’s occasion, many serving state governors, ex- governors, ministers and captains of industries across the country stormed Lagos and Abeokuta on Monday to felicitate with the septuagenarian.
Although Obasanjo said he was not celebrating until 80 years but the high profile gathering was selling the occasion out as more than a birthday celebration but the celebration of an active life and high achievement in the chosen field of humanitarian service and self sacrifice.
However, the occasion witnessed the public presentation of two books in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital and a dinner at the Civic Centre, on Ozumba Mbadiwe, Victoria Island, Lagos, by the siblings of Chief Olusegun Obasanjo .
President Goodluck Jonathan and Ogun State Governor Ibikunle Amosun showered encomiums, leading on the list of high profile well-wishers celebrating the international statesman.
A thanksgiving service which was attended by family members and close associates of the former President, including chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in the Southwest, was held on Monday in Abeokuta.
Former Vice President under him, Abubakar Atiku claimed Obasanjo is the only political boss he has in the entire country, swearing that both of them would continue to work closely for the good of the nation.
The texture of the occasion attested to Obasanjo’s nationaland international standing as a frontline statesman whose life has been dedicated to service of humanity. even as he said both of them would continue to work closely for the good of the nation.
In his congratulatory message, President Jonathan described Obasanjo as a former President with exceptional courage, steadfast commitment and abiding faith in the unity, peace, stability and prosperity of the country.
“You have spent virtually all of your adult life in dedicated patriotic service to our fatherland: as an accomplished officer in our nation’s army; as a military commander who played a historic role in effecting the end of the unfortunate civil war; as a military Head of State who ushered in civil democratic governance; and later serving two terms as a democratically-elected President, and helping to consolidate the democratic process in our country. Today you are the Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the ruling, and by far the largest political party in Nigeria.
“Through it all, you have demonstrated exceptional courage, steadfast commitment and abiding faith in the unity, peace, stability and prosperity of the Nigerian nation. It is gratifying to note that you stand ready to continue to avail us of your wise counsel at all times”, said the President in his passionate message concluding: “On behalf of my family, the Government and people of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, I congratulate you on this milestone and wish you many more years of fulfillment.”
Governor Amosun, whose message was signed by his media aide, Mrs. Funmi Wakama, described the former President as an epitome of selfless service to the fatherland.
The message reads: “It is indisputable that Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has devoted virtually his entire adult life to the service of the nation, first as a fine officer in the army, Head of State and later President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria.”
The message quoted Amosun as recalling that Obasanjo did not only fight for the unity of Nigeria but contributed immensely to its growth and development.
The Northern Governors Forum paid tribute to the former President Olusegun Obasanjo who attained 75 years of age yesterday claiming he has “remained the reference point on good governance, statesmanship, diplomacy, conflict resolution and prudent management of resources.”
A statement by Aliyu’s spokesman Danladi Ndayebo yesterday quoted the governor as saying Obasanjo is a distinguished military man and statesman.
“In 1976, destiny beckoned on General Obasanjo to become Nigeria’s Head of State; an era that ushered in huge developmental drive in our journey to nationhood and in the exercise of greatness, he voluntarily relinquished power and handed it over to a civilian administration in 1979.
“He returned to the presidency in 1999 from the verge of death to the flourishing tree of democracy he planted, this time as the gardener and the nourisher,” the statement said.
Aliyu said Obasanjo has left legacies in all sectors of the economy.
Former governor of Ogun State, Otunba Gbenga Daniel felicitated with the former President,
Describing him as a foremost patriot whose commitment to the Nigerian project over the years has been outstanding.
He said Obasanjo’s firm belief and conscious efforts in working for the corporate existence of Nigeria was admirable and should be emulated by other Nigerians.
Daniel said: “Chief Obasanjo’s contributions to the development of our great country and belief in its corporate existence have never been in doubt, it is actually admirable and infectious.
“It is noteworthy that Chief Obasanjo has always been there for the country especially at difficult moments when statesmen-like actions and interventions were needed to guarantee stability and guide the country out of major crises.”
Our prayer is that the good Lord will grant him good health and more years in the land of the living so that he would continue to partner with other patriots in the ongoing efforts to transform the country into a nation of our dream. On the joyous occasion of this unique milestone in the life of our former President, I join other Nigerians to felicitate with him and to wish him many happy returns.”
Roll Call: Sierra Leonian president, Bai Koroma; his Liberian counterpart, Sirleaf Johnson; Senate President, David Mark; wife of the president, Dame Patience Jonathan; former Vice- President, Atiku Abubakar; Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun); Emmanuel Uduaghan (Delta); Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom); Theodore Orji (Abia); Liyel Imoke (Cross River); former Governors Olagunsoye Oyinlola, Olusegun Oni, Adebayo Alao-Akala, Adamu Muazu . Minister of State (Defence), Chief (Mrs) Olusola Obada; Police Affairs Minister, Caleb Olubolade; Chief of Defence Staff, Air Chief Marshall Oluseyi Petirin; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, Mr Femi Otedola, Dr Wale Babalakin, Dr Charles Soludo and several other important dignitaries graced the twin event.
The 75th birthday was marked in the morning in Abeokuta with the launch by the former president of the Feed Africa Programme while a dinner was later held at the Civic Centre, Ozumba Mbadiwe road, Lagos.
A Short Biography:
In 1958, after High School, General Obasanjo enlisted into the Nigerian Army and got trained at the Mons Officers Cadet School, Aldershot, England. He also underwent military training in the following institutions: Royal College of Defence Studies, London; Indian Army School of Engineering; Indian Defence Staff College; School of Survey, Newbury, England; Royal College of Engineering; Regular Officers Special Training School, Teshie, Ghana. fie was Commissioned into the Nigerian Army, 1959; Ile served with the United Nations Peace-Keeping Force in the Congo, 1960-1961; Commander, Engineering Corps, 1963;General Officer Commanding, Third Marine Commando Division during the Nigerian Civil War; led the Division to end the war and accepted surrender of Biafran forces in January 1970; Commander, Nigerian Army Engineering Corps, 1.970-1975; Federal Commissioner for Works Commissioned into Nigerian Army in 1959; service with the United Nations Peacekeeping and Housing, 1975; Chief of Staff, Supreme Headquarters, 1975-1976; Member, Supreme Military Council, 1975-179; Lieutenant-General, 1976 and General, 1979; Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria and Commander-inChief of the Armed Forces, 1976-1979; he presided over the voluntary transition to civil democratic rule in 1979
- Member, Independent Commission on Disarmament and Security Issues (Palme Commission), 1983-1989;
- Member, UNESCO Commission for Peace in the Minds of Men, 1981-1987;
- Member, WHO Commission of Experts on the Effects of Nuclear Weapons, 1993;
- Co-Chairman, Commonwealth Eminent Persons Group on South Africa, 1985-1986;
- Member, United Nations Panel of Eminent Persons on the Relationship between Disarmament and Development, 1986;
- Chairman, I learing on Namibia of the World Council of Churches, Washington, DC, May, 1988;
- Member of the Inter Action Council of Former Heads of Government, 1983-present; in that context: Chairman of High Level Expert Group on Military Expenditures by Developing Countries, 1985;
- Director, Better World Society, Washington, DC, 1987-1993;
- Member, Board of Directors, University for Peace, Costa Rica;
- Member, Board of Trustees, Ford Foundation, 1988- 1999; Founder and Chairman of Africa Leadership Forum and Chairman, Board of Directors, Africa Leadership Foundation, Inc., New York till 1999;
- Publisher, Africa Forum (quarterly), 1991-1993; Member, Independent Group on Financial Development Countries (SchmidtCommission
- Member, Independent Group on Financial Development Countries (SchmidtCommission
- Publisher, Africa Forum (quarterly), 1991-1993;
- Member, Independent Group on Financial Development Countries (SchmidtCommission
- Special Advisor to the International Institute for Tropical Agriculture, lbadan