6 March 2014

Nigeria: I Don't Know My Real Age - Obasanjo

Photo: WEF

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital said that his parents did not record his birth when he was born.

Obasanjo, who also said that President Goodluck Jonathan had actually congratulated him on his "official" birthday, added that Nigerians should continue to hope for the better.

The former president disclosed this while responding to solidarity messages by some of the personalities that attended his "77th" birthday ceremony organised by the Centre for Human Security (CHS) and the UNESCO Institute for African Culture and International Understanding (IACIU) of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.

He stressed that he had no real record of his birthday because his parents did not document it.

"There are some people including me who do not know their exact birthdays. My mother only told me that I was born on Ifo market day. According to her, in our village, she had prepared to go to Ifo market and Ifo market is every five days.

"She said as she was preparing, she went into labour and before those who went to Ifo market returned, I was born. Don't ask me what month or what year. Whether I know the exact date or not, I think God has made my path to be glorious," he said.

Obasanjo, however, promised to make a revelation on the issue of his real birth date very soon.

"Sooner than later, the cat will be let out of the bag by myself. But one thing that is clear is that I was born; there is no doubt about that," he said.

Admitting that being human, he is prone to shortcomings, Obasanjo said he had failed God on a number of occasions.

"I have disappointed God several times but God had never taken my faults against me.

"If he had counted my faults against me, I would have been consumed.

"So, what has been sustaining me is the grace, mercy and kindness of God," he said.

The former president expressed gratitude to all those who had contributed "positively and negatively" to his life.

He also appreciated his parents, his community and those who had worked closely with him.

Obasanjo also assured that there is still hope for Nigeria to realise the goals and aspirations of her founding fathers.

The former president was apparently reacting to the brilliance displayed during the debate earlier organised by the OOPL's CHS and the UNESCO IACIU for selected primary, secondary and university students from across West Africa.

He stated that the arguments and counter-arguments marshalled by the students during the debate had raised the hope for a better Nigeria.

"When you listen to these younger ones, you cannot but agree that there is hope for this country. When you hear them and listen to them, you will feel proud.

"Here we have two organisations that are working together not only to give hope, not only to raise expectation for the up and coming in Africa but to make sure that tomorrow will be better than today. And in those children, I am assure personally that tomorrow is better than today," Obasanjo said.

Taking a retrospective look at his life, Obasanjo admitted that God had been gracious to him despite his shortcomings.

He also thanked God for making him relevant and important in the scheme of things in Nigeria.

The ex-president said he was grateful to those who influenced his life both positively and negatively, describing life as both sweet and sour.

According to him, "I am grateful to God and I cannot thank God enough for all He has done, for all that He is doing and all that I know He will continue to do in my life.

"For making me to be a source of blessing to others, for making me to be a participant in areas that are of relevance and importance in the life of this country, Africa and indeed in the world".

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