Obasanjo Seeks Divine Intervention For Jonathan

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo is seeking divine intervention for President Goodluck Jonathan as Nigeria’s number one citizen strives to move the country forward.

The former president was among the congregation that worshipped with President Jonathan and his wife Patience on Sunday at the Aso Villa Chapel in the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

The prayer session, which was attended by the president, his family, his ministers and party members, saw Mr Obasanjo seeking the hand of God in the leadership of the country.

The former president was accompanied to the villa by two of his daughters, one of his sons, identified as Juwon and a businessman and the Chairman of Zenon Petroleum and Gas Company, Femi Otedola.

This is the first time the former president would be meeting face to face with President Jonathan this year.

There have been media reports of a crack in the relationship between both leaders and this was amplified when Mr Obasanjo failed to show up at the election of the chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) board of trustees.

The president took a reading during the prayer session; thereafter he retired to his residence with Mr Obasanjo and others for lunch.

The former president left the villa on Sunday about mid-day.

Jonathan, Obasanjo Trade Words Over Fight Against Boko Haram

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has faulted the Goodluck Jonathan-led Federal Government’s anti-terror strategy as he called for more efforts in ending the Boko Haram insurgency in the country.

Mr Obasanjo, in an interview with CNN aired on Tuesday, said the government’s approach to fighting Boko Haram would not lead to the quick resolution of the insecurity the Islamic sect has unleashed on the country since 2009.

According to him, more could be done to reach out to Boko Haram to find out what had led the sect to wage a war against the state.

He urged the administration of President Jonathan to adopt a multifaceted approach rather than just cracking down on the group.

“To deal with a group like that, you need a carrot and stick approach. The carrot is finding out how to reach out to them. When you try to reach out to them and they are not amenable to being reached out to, you have to use the stick,” he said.

The former president said President Jonathan was “just using the stick” in his efforts, adding, “He’s doing one aspect of it well, but the other aspect must not be forgotten.”

He said that he had tried to reach out to Boko Haram about a year and a half ago through a lawyer who was acting as the group’s proxy, and had asked if they had external backing.

The lawyer, he added, told him that the group was receiving support from other Nigerians who have resources overseas or “other organisations from abroad.”

“If they had 25 percent support a year and a half ago, today that support has doubled,” the former president said.

Asked if Boko Haram’s activity was undermining progress in Nigeria, Mr Obasanjo said, “Boko Haram undermines security, and anything that undermines security undermines development, undermines education, undermines health, undermines agriculture and food and nutrition and security,” he said.

Jonathan fights back

Apparently angered by Mr Obasanjo’s assertions that he was not doing enough to stem the activities of terrorist group, Boko Haram in Nigeria, President Jonathan lashed out at the former president, describing him as a confused and unstable man.

President Jonathan’s spokesman, Reuben Abati took to Twitter to express the anger of the presidency over Mr Obasanjo’s comment , labelling him a confused man whose counsel or view the government does not care about.

In four different tweets, Mr Abati said, “In Nov. 2012 in Warri, fmr Prez. Obasanjo accused federal govt of being soft on Boko Haram. He recommended the Odi solution: genocide.

“In Jan.2013, OBJ tells CNN Govt shd adopt a carrot and stick approach to Boko Haram. Genocide & dialogue? Where exactly does he stand?

“OBJ’s position on Boko Haram= Contradiction and Confusion writ large.

“One report says OBJ is recommending a multifaceted approach to Boko Haram. This govt certainly doesn’t need a lecture on that!

“Jonathan administration has shown creativity & purposefulness in handling the BH challenge. Hence, the progress we witness.”

Obasanjo Shows PDP How To Win Lagos From ACN

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked Nigerians to keep the hope alive, be prayerful and continue to thank God for his blessings despite the various challenges facing the country

The former president was speaking in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital during a courtesy call on him at his hill top residence by officials and members of the Lagos chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In what seemed like giving the road map for the PDP to take over the governance and administration of Lagos State, Mr Obasanjo charged officials and members of the party to put aside their differences and work together for the progress of the party in the state.

He described the PDP as a party in wilderness in Lagos state, and noted that leaders of the party needed to work together to build the party and restore it on the right path.

He expressed optimism that if the leaders and the members could be united, they would capture power from the ruling Action Congress of Nigeria (ACN) in Lagos state.

Mr Obasanjo appreciated the PDP leaders who commiserated with him on the recent fire incident in his house which he described as ‘minor”.
He was full of gratitude to God for confining the fire to his Secretary’s office and preventing loss of life.

Giving his speech at the occasion, the chairman of the Lagos PDP, Tunji Shelle acknowledged the leadership roles the former president has continued to play in the politics of Nigeria.

He said the visit became imperative in view of the recent fire incident that razed a section of Mr Obasanjo’s residence and the need to rejoice with him and receive his blessings in the New Year.

The pastoral element in the former president was brought to fore as ne led a prayer session where he prayed for peace, harmony and progress of the country.

Obasanjo, Amosun Reconcile Traditional Rulers In Egbaland

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the governor of Ogun State, Ibikunle Amosun on Saturday called for an enduring, purposeful peaceful co-existence and harmony among the four sectional traditional rulers of Egba extraction to fast track socio economic and political development in the state.

The two leaders made the call in Abeokuta, the state capital, at the peace parley among the four sectional traditional rulers held at the Ogun state Government House facilitated by the state governor.

The peace parley initiated by Mr Amosun was attended by the Alake of Egbaland; the Osinle of Oke Ona; the Olowu of Owu kingdom; and the Agura of Gbagura; Mr Obasanjo, former head of interim government, Earnest Sonekan; and the Deputy Governor (Operation) of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Tunde Lemo.

The goal of the meeting was to end the mistrust, and leadership tussle among the Egba traditional rulers.

While recommending dialogue and communication as panacea to world peace and harmony, Mr Obasanjo decried the slow pace of development in the country despite abundance of natural and human resources. However, he was quick to say that there is light at the end of the tunnel.

Reading the communique after the closed-door meeting which lasted for several hours, the Alake and paramount ruler of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo said the traditional rulers have agreed to leave the past behind them all for the progress and development of Egbaland and Ogun state in general.

Mr Obasanjo admonished the traditional rulers to do the needful to sustain the new found peace.

The highpoint of the occasion was the toast to the unity and continuous progress of Egbaland; Ogun State; and Nigeria in general.

Presidency Says Alleged Fight Between Jonathan And Obasanjo Is Mere Drama

The Presidency on Sunday denied the existence of a rift between President Goodluck Jonathan and ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, saying the reported “frosty relationship” between them was “mere drama which is a very important element of politics and governance.”

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, said this while reacting to recent interview granted by a leader of the Niger Delta Volunteer Force, Mujaheed Dokubo-Asari.

Mr Asari-Dokubo had, among other things, said President Jonathan would not rule beyond 2015 because he is surrounded by greedy politicians who caused the rift between him and Mr Obasanjo.

However, Mr Abati in an interview with State House correspondents in Abuja said, “I keep saying it; there is no rift between President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo. The President has utmost respect for the former President whom he regards as his father. He even calls him ‘Baba.’

“I don’t think anybody can say he has any evidence anywhere where the President has been disrespectful to the elderly man. So, those things that you see in the newspapers about people saying President Jonathan and former President Obasanjo are quarrelling are exaggerated. They do not reflect the truth,”

Mr Abati claimed that “some persons” were just bringing up issues in an attempt to set up the two leaders.

He said that Misters Jonathan and Obasanjo were experienced enough to discern the tactics.

The presidential spokesman said Dokubo-Asari’s attack on the President amounted to a member of the house, who stands outside to urinate into the same house. He urged him to see the big picture and worry less about greedy people who are preventing other Ijaws from reaching the President.

“I was quite surprised that he would talk like that because as he himself admitted in that interview, he is close to government. So, I don’t know whether it is a wise thing for you to be a member of the house and then stand outside and urinate into that same house. Doing so may serve the purpose of sensationalism and it may please some mischief makers, but the truth of the matter is that wise people may think that that is not really the right way to go,” he added.

He urged Dokubo-Asari to be consistent, honest and truthful, and be less worried about those who are preventing other people from seeing the President.

He said, “President Jonathan is not running an Ijaw project. He is running a Nigerian project and I keep saying he is a man who is very conscious of his place in history. At the end of the day, whether the people say they are being blocked from having access to him, or even those of us who work for him, it is important to remember that the only person that will be called to come and give account is President Jonathan.

“That is the man Nigerians voted for and all of us, whether we are his kinsmen or we are his staff or we are his friends, I think we should focus more on the Nigerian project, the Nigerian assignment that President Jonathan has been given and worry less about insinuations like all these ‘people are blocking me from having access’, ‘he has forgotten his brothers’, ‘he is arguing with a particular person.”

Media chat: You are wrong about Odi, Obasanjo tells Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday rebuffed claims by President Goodluck Jonathan that the army invasion of Odi – a small community in Bayelsa state – in 1999 was a failure.

During last Sunday’s presidential media chat, President Jonathan had said that the invasion of Odi ordered by Mr Obasanjo in 1999 was a failure.
He had said: “After that invasion, myself and the governor entered Odi…and saw some dead people. Most of the people that died in Odi were mostly old men, women and children, none of the militants was killed.

“If bombarding Odi was to solve the problem, then it was never solved. If the attack on Odi had solved the problem of militancy in the Niger Delta, then the Yar’ Adua government would not have come up with the Amnesty programme. So, that should tell you that the attack on Odi never solved the militancy problem and we had more challenges after that attack on Odi.”

Reacting to these assertions, Femi Fani-Kayode, who served as Special Assistant on Public Affairs and subsequently Minister of Aviation during Mr Obasanjo regime, released a press statement claiming that the invasion of Odi not only killed the militants but decimated their capacity to wage acts of terror against the state.

The statement reads: “During a live broadcast of the Presidential Media Chat to the nation on the evening of November 18, 2012, President Goodluck Jonathan said that the military operation in Odi by the Nigerian Armed Forces in 1999, which was ordered by President Olusegun Obasanjo, did not solve the problem or stop the killing of soldiers, policemen and innocent civilians in the Niger Delta area by the terrorists and militants. He also said that all he saw in Odi after he went there on an official visit as Deputy Governor were the dead bodies of old people. With the greatest respect to Mr. President this is factually incorrect. He has either forgotten the relevant facts or he has been misinformed. Whichever way he is mistaken and it is important for those of us that proudly served the Obasanjo administration to respond to him in order to clarify the issues, clear the air and set the record straight for the sake of history and posterity.

“I had the privilege of being briefed about all the facts by President Olusegun Obasanjo himself and Col. Kayode Are, the former DG of the SSS, immediately after the Presidential Media Chat and I believe that it is appropriate to share some of those facts with members of the Nigerian public given the grave assertion and serious charge that President Jonathan has made. Those facts are as follows:
Why Army invaded Odi

“Five policemen and four soldiers were killed by a group of Niger Delta militants when they tried to enter the town of Odi in Bayelsa State in order to effect their arrest. This happened in 1999. After the brutal killing of these security personnel, President Olusegun Obasanjo asked the then Governor of Bayelsa State, Governor Alamieyeseigha, to identify, locate, apprehend and hand over the perpetrators of that crime.

“The Governor said that he was unable to do so and President Obasanjo, as the Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces, took the position that security personnel could not be killed with impunity under his watch without a strong and appropriate response from the Federal Government. Consequently he sent the military in, to uproot and kill the terrorists and to destroy their operational base which was the town of Odi. The operation was carried out with military precision and efficiency and it’s objectives were fully achieved. The terrorists were either killed and those that were not killed fled their operational base in Odi. They were uprooted, weakened, demoralised and completely dispersed. That was the purpose of the whole exercise and that purpose was achieved. The truth is that the killing of security agents and soldiers with impunity by the Niger Delta militants virtually stopped after the operation in Odi and remained at a bare minimum right up until the time that President Obasanjo left power eight years later in 2007. I advise those that doubt this to go and check the records.

“The same thing was done in Zaki-Biam in Benue State in the North-central zone of Nigeria in 2001 after 19 soldiers were murdered in cold blood and then brutally beheaded by some terrorists from that area. Again after the Federal Government’s strong military response in Zaki Biam, the killing of security personnel with impunity stopped. The objectives of the military operations in both Odi and Zaki-Biam were to stop such killings, to eliminate and deal a fatal blow to those that perpetrated them and to discourage those that may seek to carry out such barbarous butchery and mindless violence in the future.

“Those were the objectives and nothing more and clearly those objectives were achieved. There is no doubt that after Odi, there were still unrest, agitations, protests, kidnappings and the blowing up and sabotage of oil pipelines in the Niger Delta area but there were hardly any more attacks on or killing of soldiers and security personnel by the terrorists and militants because they knew that to do that would attract a swift and forceful reaction and terrible retribution from the Nigerian military.
Invasions objective achieved

“To stop and deter those attacks and killings was the objective of President Obasanjo and that objective was achieved. President Goodluck Jonathan was therefore in error when he said that Odi did not solve the problem of killings in the Niger Delta area by the Niger Delta militants. Not only did it stop the killings but it is also an eloquent testimony of how to deal with terrorists, how to handle those that kill our security personnel with impunity and how to deter militants from killing members of our civilian population and thinking that they can get away with it. If President Obasanjo had not taken that strong action at that time, many more of our civilian population and security personnel would have been killed by the Niger Delta militants between 1999 and 2007.

“By doing what he did at Odi and Zaki-Biam, President Obasanjo saved the lives of many and put a stop to the killings and terrorism that had taken root in the Niger Delta area prior to that time.”

The former Aviation minister also said Mr Obasanjo’s comments last week on how to solve the Boko Haram problem were misconstrued and misrepresented in certain quarters.

“He never said that the Odi treatment should be applied to Boko Haram or that such action is appropriate in these circumstances. What he said was that a solution ought to have been found or some sort of action ought to have been taken sooner rather than allow the problem to fester over time like a bad wound and get worse.

“There can be no doubt that he was right on this because, according to President Jonathan’s own Chief of Army Staff, no less than 3000 people have been killed by Boko Haram in the last two years alone. That figure represents approximately the same number of people that were killed by the IRA in Northern Ireland and the British mainland in the 100 years that the war between them and British lasted and before peace was achieved between the two sides.

“The same number of casualties that the IRA inflicted on the people of the United Kingdom in 100 years, is the same number of casualties that Boko Haram have managed to inflict on our people in just two. This is unacceptable and it is very disturbing. The Federal Government must cultivate the courage and the political will to stop the killings by Boko Haram and to find a permanent solution to the problem.”

Obasanjo to lead ECOWAS election observers to Ghana

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo will lead a 250-member ECOWAS Election Observer Mission to Ghana’s general elections scheduled for 7 December 2012 within the context of the region’s instrument for provision of support to Member States holding elections.

This was disclosed in a statement by the commission.

According to the statement, the teams, comprising representatives of various segments of the West African society, will be in Ghana for nine days to observe the conduct of the Presidential, legislative and local elections, expected to contribute to the deepening of democratic culture in the country.

An ECOWAS assessment mission was in Ghana last October to review preparations for the elections during which the mission members met with various stakeholders, including representatives of political parties, civil society organizations and the national electoral commission, to discuss their perspectives on the preparations for the elections.

Through these missions, the region seeks to promote a culture of transparent and credible elections, consistent with best practices for the enhancement of regional peace and stability.

N5000 note: Obasanjo is a good farmer but a bad economist – Sanusi

The governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Sanusi Lamido on Tuesday reacted to a statement credited to a former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, who said that the planned introduction of the N5000 note will increase inflation in the country.

Mr Obasanjo had on Thursday said the introduction of the N5000 note would kill production and affect small businesses negatively.

The former president, who disclosed this at a roundtable advocacy forum organised by the Institute of Directors, in Lagos, said the way, Mr Sanusi, was fighting inflation by removing money from circulation was improper.

However, speaking at the sixth annual conference of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria, Mr Sanusi said Mr Obasanjo had introduced more high denomination in Nigeria than any other Head of State.

“General Obasanjo did N20; he did N100, N200, N500 and N1000. He has introduced more higher denomination than any Head of States,” Mr Sanusi said.

The CBN governor said that during the period Mr Obasanjo was introducing high denomination inflation in Nigeria was actually low.

“General Obasanjo did N100 in 1999; then he did N200 in 2000; he did N500 I think two years later; and did N1000. In that period, inflation was coming down because it was accompanied by very tight monetary and fiscal policies during his reforms.

“For somebody who have gone through that to come and stand up and say ‘introducing a higher denomination causes inflation’ I don’t know if somebody wrote his speech. I’m trying to see him or if he was misquoted.

“If he actually said that then he must be the single most important determinant of inflation in our history given the number of notes that he introduced,” he said

Mr Sanusi said printing higher denomination without increasing the money supply in the economy will not increase inflation. “This is simple economics,” he said.

He said that the cost of printing and minting all denomination of currency in 2009 was N47 billion and that by 2011 the CBN brought this cost down to N32 billion.

He said that by 2014 the cost would further be reduced to N25 billion thereby saving about 50 percent of the total cost of printing and minting all denomination of currency.

Mr Sanusi said the N5000 note would not cost more than N3 billion to print.

Supreme Court cedes disputed 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State

The Supreme Court on Tuesday conferred on Akwa Ibom State, the ownership of the 76 oil wells along the Atlantic Ocean, ruling that Cross River State has lost its claim to being a littoral state.

According to the Court, Cross River State lost the right of an oil producing state when the federal government under the leadership of former President Olusegun Obasanjo handed over portions of the Bakassi peninsula to Cameroun.

The seven justices of the court headed by Dahiru Musdapher, in their ruling, submitted that the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission (RMFAC) was right in attributing the oil wells to Akwa Ibom at the inter-agencies meeting.

Justice Olufunlola Adekeye, who read the lead judgment, which was unanimous, dismissed the appeal by Cross River State as lacking in substance and merit, insisting that the agreement which initially gave the state rights to the 76 oil wells was upturned by the handing over of Bakassi to Cameroon.

“The facts before the court do not support the claim of the plaintiff to being a littoral state. A non-littoral state cannot claim oil wells offshore as she has no maritime territory. The plaintiff has no maritime territory since the cessation of Bakassi Peninsula and the Cross River estuary which used to be part of the state prior to August 2008. The present position of the plaintiff cannot be blamed on any government agency particularly the National Boundary Commission and the Revenue Mobilisation, Allocation and Fiscal Commission, RMAFC.

“This court cannot because of the influx of refugees from Bakassi into Cross River State, give a legislative judgment. The government of Nigeria has a means of providing for the social needs of the people of Cross River State faced with the social problems thrust on the state due to the cessation of the Bakassi Peninsula to the Cameroun,” the court ruled.

The 76 oil wells had before the judgment of the International Court of in Justice in Hague belonged to Bakassi Local government area of Cross River state.

Bakassi was however handed over to Cameroun on the order of the International Court of Justice as the new owner of the oil rich area after its victory in a boundary legal battle with Nigeria.

However, the Supreme Court said that Akwa Ibom being a littoral state with its boundary directly touching the sea remains the only state that can lay claim and remains the rightful owner of the 76 oil wells in line with the International law.

The Cross River State government had through it counsel, Yusuf Ali, approached the Supreme Court and asked it to compel both the Federal Government and the Akwa Ibom state government to respect the sharing formula put in place by the former President Obasanjo on the 90 oil wells which had been a subject of dispute between Cross River and the Akwa Ibom state government.

Imoke flaws judgement

The Cross River State governor, Liyel Imoke has faulted to the judgement of the Supreme Court which handed over 76 oil wells to Akwa Ibom State.

Mr Imoke said: “As a wronged but law-abiding people, we had hoped for justice. We had hoped for a dispensation of justice that would restore our belief in the timeless saying by the iconic American civil rights leader, Dr. Martin Luther King Junior that “the arm of the moral universe still bends towards justice.”

He said that the judgment differed from the opinion of the people but noted that justice could only be delayed and not denied.

“We maintained our peace and dignity even in the face of what could easily have provoked unprecedented violence and reprisals. We hoped for justice from the highest court in the land. But our hope was dashed. My dear brothers and sisters, our spirit will never be broken,” he said.

Akpabio hails ruling

The Akwa Ibom State governor, Godwill Akpabio, who also spoke to journalists after the judgment, said had the apex court ceded the 76 oil wells to Cross River State, the oil well would have automatically been transferred to Cameroun.

He said: “we are happy that the Supreme Court did justice today, but we hereby extend hands of fellowship to our sister state, we have always lived amicably with one another, and we are committed towards ensuring that the relationship that had always existed between the two states is not jeopardized in any way.”

Obasanjo says fighting corruption is not a one-night affair

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Tuesday said that fighting corruption in Nigeria is not a one night affair.

In an interview with a UK newspaper, theguardian, Mr Obasanjo told the reporter interviewing him that instead of saying Nigerian leaders lack accountability, he should say they are corrupt.

“You are being euphemistic when you say lack of accountability. Call it corruption,” he said.

“There is no part of the world where corruption is absolutely eliminated. But [in other countries] that corruption has not been a way of life. When you are found, you are dealt with. And that’s what we need.”

Mr Obasanjo was in the UK to promote investment in Nigeria.

“Fighting corruption is not a one-night affair,”  the former president, who made fighting graft a significant element of his manifesto ahead of his election in 1999, said.

“The givers of most of the corruption in Africa are from outside Africa,” he said. “They do in Africa, [things] they would not do in their own countries. In my part of the world, we have a saying that the man who carries a pot of palm oil from the ceiling is not the only thief. He has an accomplice in the man who helps him to bring it down. The giver and the taker are criminals, and they should be treated as such.”

The former present who is working as a roving ambassador, facilitating firms’ entry into Nigeria and the rest of Africa said he believes that positive examples of business success will encourage avaricious minds to look for more legitimate routes to wealth.

“I still believe in the opportunities that Africa affords to make legitimate money,” he says. “Africa is one place I believe that if you are courageous enough, you get the money, you can invest and get 25% return on your investment annually. There aren’t many places in the world where you can get that return.”

A corrupt nation

In 1999, Transparency International Corruption Perception Index rated Nigeria the second most corrupt nation in the world.

Successive democratic government have since 1999 attempted to fight corruption in Nigeria. Following his election as president, Mr Obasanjo established the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) and the Independent Corrupt Practices and Other Related Offences Commission (ICPC) in a bid to halt corruption.

Despite the efforts of these agencies, corruption continued abated in Nigeria.

In a country ranked 143 in the world on the Transparency International corruption perception index, civil society fights a perennial battle with institutionalised corruption, which has led to some officials – including some of Nigeria’s extraordinarily influential state governors – becoming dollar billionaires.

One, James Ibori, a former governor of Delta State, was convicted this year of embezzling £150m and jailed for 13 years. Ibori, whose annual state salary of less than $25,000 (£16,000) was bolstered by the systematic theft of state funds, built up a portfolio of luxury cars and properties in the UK, US and South Africa.

Timipre Sylva, the former governor of Bayelsa State, was arraigned this month by the EFCC on charges including fraud and money laundering.
Since 2009, the crusading central bank governor, Lamido Sanusi, has had some success in cleaning out the banking sector, claiming high-profile scalps such as Cecilia Ibru, the former CEO of Oceanic Bank, who was jailed for fraud and mismanagement.

Arunma Oteh came in to head the Securities and Exchange Commission in 2010, attacking vested interests in the stock market. Ms Oteh had since been removed from office based on allegations that she abused her powers.

State of the Nation: Terrorism is so Elusive – Osuntokun

Akin Osuntokun; the former political adviser to the former President Obasanjo amongst other positions not mentioned here came for a chat on the state of the nation with the Sunrise Daily Crew.

On the issue of Nigerians having the impression that government is not handling the security matters of the country properly, Osuntokun said the most important thing for Nigerians and Nigerian government is not to lose their norms and should not get negatively excited.

Jonathan, others congratulates Obasanjo at 75

President Goodluck Jonathan on Monday congratulated former President Olusegun Obasanjo who turns 75.

Mr Jonathan, in a letter to the former president, wrote: “On the historic occasion of your 75th birthday anniversary which comes up on Monday, 5th March 2012, I join you, your family, friends and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for the life of fulfilment and uncommon accomplishment which He has blessed you with.

“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.

“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. Happy Birthday!”

Speaking at the party event at the premises of Mr Obasanjo’s Presidential Library located along IBB Boulevard, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, Ogun State, the Vice President of the World Bank, Oby Ezekwesili, eulogised the former President, saying that to the people outside Nigeria, Obasanjo is a role model and a leader worthy of emulation.

She urged Nigerians to tap from the wealth of experience of the former president.

She advised Africans to strive to achieve more on food production to achieve food security, stressing that instead of fighting themselves, they should fight hunger and poverty.