The former Prelate, Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence Dr. Sunday Mbang, has said former President Olusegun Obasanjo is the best president Nigeria has ever had, given the enduring institutions he established and his programmes while in office.
He said this on Sunday while preaching at the former President’s 80th birthday thanksgiving service held at the Chapel of Christ The Glorious King, located inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library complex.
He spoke on the theme, ‘Quality of gratitude to God.’
The cleric, who said he had no apologies for his opinion, said no other administration had added to the institutions established by Obasanjo since he left government.
He mentioned such institutions to include the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission and the National Agency for Food and Drug Administration and Control.
He also noted that if the successive governments had adopted Obasanjo administration’s agricultural programme, Operation Feed the Nation, when he was the military Head of State, the country would not have been spending its hard-earned funds to import food.
He said, “This is a man I have known for a very long time. I fell in love with him when I discovered that he held morning devotion every morning in Aso Rock when he became the civilian President.
“The morning devotion was attended by his family members and other people. That was why he succeeded in government. God never allowed them to impeach him.
“Obasanjo is the best President Nigeria has ever had. I have no apology to anybody about it. He also built a chapel inside Aso Rock within three months after getting there.”
The cleric berated government officials, especially the governors, who surrounded themselves with gun-wielding policemen, arguing that this prevented people with useful information for their administration’s success from reaching them.
He called on politicians and public office-holders in the country to desist from stashing money in foreign banks, but should embark on projects that could help develop their immediate communities, as Obasanjo had done with the establishment of the presidential library.
He also flayed politicians who defected from one political party to the other, describing them as inconsistent and lacking principle, asking the congregation to say ‘shame on you’ to them.
Obasanjo, in his remarks, thanked all his well- wishers who came from far and near to attend his week-long birthday celebration organised by an arm of OOPL, the Centre for Human Security.
He prayed for longevity for all of them.
The International General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, later prayed for Obasanjo, his children and grandchildren.
Dignitaries at the event included the Liberian President, Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, immediate past Nigerian President, Goodluck Jonathan, Governors of Oyo and Abia states, Abiola Ajimobi and Okezie Ikpeazu respectively, a former Minister of Industry, Dr. Nike Akande, and a former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.
Also present were a former governor of Akwa Ibom State, Godswill Akpabio, Ooni of Ife Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, Osemawe of Ondo, Oba Victor Kiladejo, Olowu of Owu, Oba Adegboyega Dosumu, Olubara of Ibara, Oba Jacob Omolade, Oluwo of Iwo, Oba AbduRasheed Akanbi, former governors of Oyo and Ogun states, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, respectively among others.
Meanwhile, a human rights advocacy group, Socio-Economic Rights and Accountability Project, has called on the acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, to initiate the passage of a law that would ensure transparency in the source of funding for any project embarked upon by any sitting President.
The group said this in a statement on Sunday by its Senior Staff Attorney, Timothy Adewale, against the backdrop of the building and the inauguration of the Olusegun Obasanjo President Library.
The group said since former President Obasanjo built the library with the intention of promoting greater openness into his work and achievements while in government, it would have better served public interest if Obasanjo had disclosed the source of the funding for the project.
“It’s unfair to Nigerians for a sitting or former President to raise an unlimited amount of money for a presidential library and not to have the obligation to publish information on the major contributors. Without transparency into donations, a President could potentially take an official action in exchange for or in expectation of a future donation to his or her presidential library and the public would be unaware.”