Former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday said that he respected every past and present presidents irrespective of the population of the countries or where they governed when he was at the helm of Nigeria’s affairs. Obasanjo who also condemned what he described as “the rivalry for supremacy among Yoruba monarchs’’, was speaking when the new Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, paid him a courtesy visit at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun.
The former president described the rivalry as “a distraction which can result to setback’’. He said that good governance and welfare of citizens should be paramount to the monarchs. Obasanjo advised the monarchs to guard the honour accorded to their offices jealously and to also demonstrate mutual respect for one another other.
“I think that what is more important is to give good governance to the citizens and also have mutual respect for ourselves.
“When I was president and even now, I usually accorded respect to all presidents, particularly to the ones with small populations. “I do this because I realised that no matter how densely populated a country might be, it has the same one vote as the United Nations, just as a country with few people. “For instance, Nigeria with a population of about 180 million has the same vote with Sao Tome with a population of 150, 000.”
The former president recalled how he consulted with Gov. Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo State during the tussle for the obaship of Ibadan, commending the governor for taking a right step. Obasanjo, who noted that it was God who enthroned the Ibadan monarch, prayed that the same God would strengthen him to succeed. The former president noted that from experience, like the Egbas in Ogun, the people of Ibadan in Oyo State were not easy to govern.
He advised the Ibadan monarch to be trustworthy and to ensure that he dispensed justice.
“Although all mankind are difficult to govern but I also know from experience that the people of Egba and Ibadan particularly, are not easy to govern. “I pray that God who put you there will help you to succeed. “What is most important to any leader, be it traditional, political or religious is for him to be trustworthy.
“Nobody is perfect, but once you are queried over some issues and you are able to defend yourself well, you can then leave the rest to God. In his response, Adetunji commended Obasanjo for his role in his emergence as the 41st Olubadan. He called for unity among monarchs in Yorubaland to move the people forward.