Even as a Christian, I refused to use the state fund to finance the construction of CAN – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said Friday that he once refused to use government funds to complete the CAN building in Abuja.
Obasanjo spoke during the book launch and Eminence Prelate’s 85th Birthday Sunday Mbang of the Nigerian Methodist Church at the Admiralty Center, Naval Dockyard, Victoria Island, Lagos State.
The former president who set up the program in honor of Mbang called the former president of the Christian Association of Nigeria a lover of Nigeria. The book, a memoir that records the eighty-year-old’s journey, is entitled “My Life and Times”.
Obasanjo, 84, was Nigeria’s President from May 1999 to May 2007. From February 1976 to October 1979 he was also the military head of state.
The former president recalled: “He (Mbang) asked me, in his capacity as the leader of the Christian Association in Nigeria, to bring money to promote the Ecumenical Center, as it was then called, now as the National Christian Center. I said, ‘No, I haven’t; I’m not going to put government money into something like this because if I do it for Christians, I have to do it for Muslims, I have to do it for babalawo (traditionalists), I have to do it for Sango worshipers. No.
“But he insisted. Endurance again. I had no choice but to take on a fundraiser to complete the National Christian Center now, and I did. I brought people together – the rich, the not-so-rich, the poor, the not-so-poor, and we raised money to complete the National Christian Center. I don’t think that this work was ascribed to him because if he hadn’t gone like this, this center might remain unfinished to this day. ”
Obasanjo remembered meeting the cleric before his election in 1999 and saying, “I got out of prison and was pressured to run for the presidential election. At first I resisted and said how many presidents you wanted me to be, but the pressure continued to build.
“Then I gave in. When I gave in, I decided to come over and one of those I visited was the Methodist Church prelate in Nigeria, Sunday Mbang. I’ve never met him before but I made a courtesy call and said, ‘Sir, I came to see you’ but before I was done he said, ‘I won’t vote you and I don’t know what She? come here for ‘. ”
He said the cleric might not have voted him, but he won the election.
“As President of CAN and I, a Christian, he became my boss religiously and I his boss politically, and we inevitably had to work together. Somehow the interest developed. This man who is going to say it is a man to be around so that you can say it for what it is, ”he said.
The ex-president spoke directly to the celebrant and assured the Christian leader that Nigeria’s enemies will not win.
Obasanjo said, “We are here to honor someone we should honor and to learn from him (Mbang) to show that we really love and appreciate him for his service to the Christian community in this country and has done around the world. And to assure him that we will definitely continue to work for the unity, peace, security and progress of this country.
“I know these are things that are important to him. We want to assure you that Nigeria will continue to exist because the cost of Nigeria’s non-existence is much higher than the cost of us to keep Nigeria going.
“There are many people – high and low – who can be called enemies of Nigeria, but they will not win over those who are friends of Nigeria.”
Despite the resounding secessionist movements and many local and international predictions that Nigeria is on the verge of becoming a failed state and will soon disintegrate, Obasanjo said Nigeria will continue to exist no matter what.
The former president stated that the enemies of the West African nation of over 200 million people will not win in their agenda for the dissolution of the country.
He also said the cost of staying together as a nation is cheaper than the cost of dividing Nigeria.
On the program, he recalled how “pressure” was put on him to run for president in 1999 after his release from prison.
Obasanjo said he would continue to work for the peace and progress of a united Nigeria, adding that the “many enemies” who do not want to see the country continue to live together will fail.
The former head of state made the statement at a time when secessionist agitation, fueled by perceived injustice and deteriorating security situation, has increased across the country, particularly in southern Nigeria.
The regime of the President, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari ret., Is fighting with secession groups, including the banned indigenous peoples of Biafra, led by the imprisoned Nnamdi Kanu; including the separatist group Yoruba Nation under the leadership of Prof. Banji Akintoye and the embattled Sunday Adeyemo alias Sunday Igboho.
The event was also attended by the governor and chairman of Akwa Ibom State, Udom Emmanuel, as well as dignitaries from all walks of life.
Mbang talked about how he befriended Obasanjo, adding that “since then” we have become brothers, but from different mothers. He thanked the former head of state and other dignitaries who were present for the honor.
Emmanuel thanked Obasanjo and Mbang for sticking together over the years and assuring them that they would remain his fathers.
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