By Henry Umoru & Ezra Ukanwa
ABUJA- AHEAD of 2023 general elections, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked Nigerians to ensure that right lessons are learnt as the search for new leadership continues.
Obasanjo, who noted that at independence, expectations about Nigeria were that the country would be a giant in the sun and not in Africa, said the failure of Nigeria should not be attributed to God, but on poor decisions to live to its greatness.
Speaking, yesterday in Abuja at the public presentation of a book, entitled “The LetterMan: Inside the ‘Secret’ Letters of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo,” written by Premium Times’ Editor-in-Chief, Musikilu Mojeed, the former President said he was not aware of the book, but only got to know about it last Monday, when two copies were brought to him with a letter inviting him for the event.
Obasanjo said he was highly elated when he read it and found that the book was amazingly good and a must-read one.
The Letter Man is a 25 selected letters with different subject matters and made up of 465 pages.
The book was presented by the former Chairman, Federal Inland Revenue Service, FIRS, Mrs. Ifueko Okauru.
Obasanjo, who bemoaned the current situation of things in the country, said during the time of James Earl Carter (Jimmy Carter) as the President of the USA, there was no period he had anything to do in Africa that he would not inform Nigeria, but regretted that respect for Nigeria has gone.
He said: “Only this morning, I heard something that shocked me, here at our door, Chad. When Idris Deby was killed or died, some people said he was shot from the back when he was on the war front but he died and it was Doha that decided to pull the different elements in charge together, not Nigeria and Chad is at our doorsteps.
“We didn’t do anything about that. I believe to say the least that it is not good enough. Again, I believe that God is in Nigeria because God loves us so much that we have done so many stupid things and we have gotten away with these things. I sincerely hope that God’s patience will have no limit of elasticity, because if He does, there will be a day that God will say look, I have had enough and if God says he has had enough, it doesn’t matter, Musikilu can write 20 books on letter men and letter women, it won’t help us.
“So, I believe that the right lessons must be learned. We have all we need to have. God gave us all we need to have. That we are not doing what we need to do, God is not to blame. We should blame ourselves.”
On his part, former President Goodluck Jonathan, who was the special guest of honour, commended the book, reiterating the place of letter-writing in the development of the country.
He said: “We have in Obasanjo, an unmatched Zest for letter writing, a passion that, over the ages that has apparently remained one of his key medium for critical communication and engagements.”
The Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Sokoto, Bishop Matthew Kukah, who reviewed the book, eulogised Obasanjo, noting that the former president had, in governance, created a footprint in the sand of times with letter writing.
Former Minister of Culture and Tourism, Femi Fani Kayode, who represented the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, hailed the author of the book, noting that the book was long overdue, saying it would make a good read for all Nigerians.