Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that Nigerians were the architects of their own fate in Nigeria.
Obasanjo made the statement on Monday at the occasion of his 81st birthday.
The celebrator said people should not blame God but themselves for Nigeria’s predicament.
He said God had not created a bad situation for the country.
According to him, “I do not believe God has created a bad situation for Nigeria, no.
“Or for any particular section of this country, no. Or for any part of Africa, no.
“When things are not going on right, we must blame ourselves, and these are issues of leadership, governance, development, and values – these are the things we must get right.”
He celebrated along with associates and well-wishers, including Ibikunle Amosun, Ogun State governor.
He was very thankful to God, and attributed the successes recorded in his life to loyal and committed aides.
According to him, mentioning his achievements in life without mentioning his aides would be an unpardonable omission.
He said: “When people talk about my achievements, not mentioning or remembering that I wouldn’t have been able to achieve anything all by myself, I believe it could amount to a serious omission because many of those who worked with me worked loyally, worked committedly, and some of them are still doing so up till today.
“One of the things that I always missed, or remember with some feeling of sadness, is that my parents left this world too early and that the sacrifices they had made for me – how I wish they had been around to see the fruit of their labour, that was not to be.
“But if, as Yoruba believe, that those who are dead are still able to see who are here alive, if my parents, where they are, are able to see those of us who are here, they will also be grateful to those who have worked with me to enable me to achieve what, if they’ve been alive, they would have been proud of those achievements.”
Obasanjo was also very thankful to members of the board of trustees of his presidential library, adding that he wouldn’t have started it if he knew what was involved.
“If I had known what is involved, I wouldn’t have touched it with the longest stick in the world.
“Of course, you all keep saying you thanked God that I did not know because I would have deprived posterity what we are now having here.
“But if not that you’re able to lift up my hand when I was getting tired, those who said, when we started, that it’s a job that will never be completed, they would have been proved right but for your help,” he said.
When it was his time to speak, Governor Amosun advised the celebrator to slow down on his political letter-writing hobby.
The governor said the former president was getting older and needed rest from his public service exertions.
Amosu’s advice threw guests at Obasanjo’s 81st birthday celebrations into laughter.
While delivering his goodwill message at the event held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in the state, Governor Amosu described Obasanjo as a lover of Nigeria and a true nationalist.
The governor said the history of the African continent would be incomplete without a mention of the former president.
“Love him or hate him, there’s something nobody can take away from him: he’s a true nationalist.
“Baba loves Nigeria and I know that there’s absolutely nothing he wouldn’t want to do for Nigeria.
“Even beyond the shores of Nigeria, if you start counting, Baba would be one of the best three giants of Africa, many of whom are now no longer with us.
“There’s no way the history of our nation, Nigeria, and the continent of Africa would be written without the prominent mention of Baba.
“When they were praying for Baba, they said 120 (years) and I said 100 (years) is okay.”
“But Baba, when you live to that age, don’t write letters, don’t write ooo, because Baba would continue writing when he lives till 120 (years); please, don’t write ooo. That is Baba for you.
“Please, reduce your activities; you’re not getting younger.
“Baba, please slow down, you’re not getting younger anymore – we are not saying Baba should be indoors, because he would die.
“But while you’re doing something, please slow down because we still want to have you around for many years.”
Earlier, a close ally of the former president, Chief Femi Olopade, described Obasanjo as a slave driver but who wants people in government to succeed.
Olopade said Obasanjo was a true Nigerian who must be listened to by the people in government.
He said: “He (Obasanjo) can get water out of a stone; when he talks, listen to him carefully. He is a true Nigerian and very generous about Nigeria.
“I pity those of you in government – Obasanjo is a slave driver but behind that he wants you to achieve success.”