By Raymond Mordi
The founder and Chief Executive of Channels Television Media Group, Mr. John Momoh, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo is not passive observer of events, especially in Nigeria.
The ace broadcaster noted that though some people might not like the former Nigerian leader, he always speaks his mind on national issues.
Momoh spoke yesterday in Lagos at the public presentation of a book, titled: The Man, the General, the President, written by one of his former aides, Otunba Femmy Carrena.
Momoh, who addressed the event virtually, said leadership remained the bane of the country’s politics since independence in 1960.
“Nigeria,” he said, “has had few good leaders but many bad leaders, not only in the political scene but in every aspect of national life.”
Quoting President Muhammadu Buhari, he added: “Nigeria’s history is replete with inept and corrupt leadership.”
This, he stressed, is exacerbated by ethnic and sectional biases.
“But this does not imply that we do not have good political leaders in Nigeria. Indeed, we have had some men and women who made a difference. There is no gainsaying the fact that our guest of honour today, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, is one of such leaders.
“Love him or hate him, one thing is for sure: Chief Obasanjo is not a passive observer of events in Nigeria, even out of office. He is the author of many books, among them, This Animal Called Man,” Momoh said.
The ace broadcaster said Obasanjo has made a difference in Nigeria and that it was among the reasons he agreed to chair the event.
“As mundane as it may seem, President Obasanjo listened to the people; he demonstrated that he was a leader who was willing to serve… Leaders don’t wait for things to happen, they make things happen; leaders don’t crave for change, they initiate change,” he added.
Mrs. Bola Obasanjo, who represented the former President, said the General still felt concerned about the food crisis facing the country.
She said if Nigerians emulated her husband by doing some farming, Nigeria’s food security situation would improve.
Carrena said it was an obligation to write the book on Obasanjo, to show appreciation to him.
“I had to write this book; not many Nigerians have the opportunity to see, interact and dine with Baba (Obasanjo). But I’m privileged to have worked with him closely and travelled with him. Why won’t I be inspired?” he said.
Apostle Dave Salako, who was in the National Assembly during the Obasanjo era, said the third term agenda was never the former President’s idea.
Salako, who represented the chief launcher of the book, Chief Adebutu Kessington, said: “It was an idea initiated by sycophants. But, that is a story for another day.”
The third term agenda was one of the dark sides of the former President’s era as a civilian leader.
One of Obasanjo’s former aides, Akin Osuntokun, who wrote the foreword to the book, indicated that many lawmakers who kicked against the third term agenda “would tell you today they wished it had happened”.
Chairman of the Lagos State chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Deji Doherty, described Obasanjo as a nationalist and a father-figure who brought Nigerians together as one family.
“I wish he was not too nationalistic and I wish he did not believe too much in the Federal Character,” he added.
Dignitaries at the event included Akwa Ibom State Governor Udom Emmanuel, who stayed briefly; the Secretary to the State Government, Dr. Emmanuel Ekuwen, to represent him at the occasion.
They include the Ooni of Ife, who was represented by Dr. Soko Kemade Olugbaju; Professor Michael Omolewa, who reviewed the book; Mrs. Nike Jones, Kenny Martins, and a host of others.