By Daud Olatunji
ABEOKUTA— Former South African President, Thabo Mbeki, yesterday, paid a visit to the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, OOPL, in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital and urged other ex-African leaders to replicate same in their countries.
Mbeki said this shortly after he was conducted round the departments of the library complex, including the wild life park, the Museum and the plastic bottles recycling centre.
The multi-billion naira library which was inaugurated earlier this year, is the first of its kind in the African continent.
Speaking with newsmen, Mbeki said he was in Lagos for a meeting and decided to visit the library which his friend, Obasanjo, had told him about and expressed joy that he saw more than he expected.
He said he was very excited over what he saw and commended Obasanjo for the feat.
His words: “Hopefully, some other African leaders can come and have a look because I think the example that you (Obasanjo) have set here is an example that will be worth repeating in other African countries.”
Because the collective history told in the way that you (Obasanjo) have told it here, I think it will make a very important contribution even in the recovering of our own dignity, our own identification of ourselves, who are we? Where do we come from? Where do we think we are going?.
“ I really want to say congratulations to the President (Obasanjo) and hopefully, the people of Nigeria will help you in terms of maintaining this (OOPL) because it is really an important part of our heritage.
“I didn’t know we have such a major and complex project, I had the picture in my head of a building which is the library and that was all. But the complex is a very, very important contribution in terms of communicating what our leadership in the continent (Africa) can do.
“The library itself, of course tells a very important story about President Obasanjo, from his early life experiences to post government and all that. It is a very important story, in fact it is not just a story about Obasanjo but a good part of the story is about Nigeria and also Africa. And it is very important that record is available, not only to the people of Nigeria but to everybody, particularly the people of the continent.
“I was particularly pleased with the focus that is being paid to the youths because indeed, I think our youths need to be exposed to our past because it teaches them something about the responsibilities that they have to themselves, to their country and to the continent.’’
Obasanjo in his brief remark, expressed appreciation to his guest and assured that everything would be done to maintain the facility to world standard.