Samuel Awoyinfa, Abeokuta
The former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that the Peoples Democratic Party sank when the former chairman of the party, Ahmadu Ali and himself left the party.
Obasanjo, who was also a former chairman, Board of Trustees of the party, said when he was in the saddle as the president of Nigeria and Ali was the chairman, the PDP controlled 30 states out of the 36 states in the country including Federal capital territory.
He said this on Friday during the display of 40 African traditional drums in commemoration of the 40 years of the Festival of Arts and Culture, popularly known as FESTAC 77.
The event was also to honour him for his 80th birthday by the Centre for Black and African Arts and Civilisation of the Federal Ministry of Information and Culture at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta, on Friday.
Obasanjo who was obviously referring to the internal wrangling in the party which has almost crippled it, later prayed that the country would not suffer the fate that has befallen PDP.
He said his relationship with Ali started when they both served Yakubu Gowon’s administration as ministers.
He said, ” When he (Ahmadu Ali) was the chairman of PDP, we controlled 30 out of the 36 states.
“When Ahmadu Ali and I left, the fortune of PDP sunk, may the fortune of Nigeria never sink.”
Before he completed his statement, the whole hall answered with thunderous ‘Amen.’
Earlier as part of activities marking the 80th birthday of the former president, there was an international symposium, in which eminent people like a former U.S ambassador to the United Nations, Andrew Young, a former permanent delegate of Kenya to UNESCO, Dr Mary Khimulu among others spoke on the theme: ‘Purpose and Utilitarian values of presidential libraries.’
Young in his contribution, described Obasanjo as a man of peace and integrity. He noted the Obasanjo Presidential Library would help other to under his work and leadership qualities.
On her part, Khimulu said the library was not only for Nigeria but also for Africa, and she urged the youth to take advantage of it, and embrace the leadership qualities of the former president.
She said, “This is a landmark that should be emulated by all African countries.”
While talking about the library, Obasanjo said the library “is an act of God.”
He said that while in the military as Head of State and while he served in war front during the civil war, he did not gather as many materials which could have been in the presidential library.
He said, “Somebody among the university dons who spoke earlier said God has always given me the opportunity to correct my wrongs. Not in all cases but in most cases and this Presidential Library is actually an act of God which He has given to me to correct one of my mistakes of the past and I have said this very often.
“I was in the war front, it was very one significant thing in my life and in the life of Nigeria. I was military head of State, it was one significant thing in my life and in the life of Nigeria but I was not as mindful as I should have been about collecting materials that were connected with those events.” (Punchng.com)