The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library was officially commissioned on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The library was incorporated in November 2002 as a not-for-profit organisation.
The launch was part of Mr. Obasanjo’s 80th birthday, and was witnessed by the Acting President, Yemi Osinbajo, and several serving and former African leaders.
The facility is equipped with a museum, zoological gardens, amphitheatre, as well as advocacy centres, amongs them, are the Institute of African Culture and International Understanding and Centre for Human Security and Green Energy Demonstration.
Former President Obasanjo said in a speech that from start he ensured three elements of the library were covered.
“We realised from the beginning that three things must be incorporated into the building and establishing of the Presidential library in our type of situation,” he said.
“One, we must incorporate revenue generating unit to ensure substantial fund are generated to support what donations we may continue to receive. Two, there must be enough facilities to serve the need of the community and to impart positively on the community in a way it must be a community project from the point of view. Three, it must be active and dynamic, not inactive, but also instructive and inspiring. It must also be a centre for knowledge, information and values to a large extent.”
“This library is the combination of fulfilment of dreams, a vision which began in 1988. When I came to realise how much vital materials that should have been preserved from the civil war and from our period of military government were allowed to waste carelessly, then I tried to see what could be salvaged and preserved.”
In his remark, Acting President Osinbajo said few people have the opportunity of making history like the former president.
“Very few human being have the chance to make history and few have a good fortune of both making history and writing it as they go on earth and living long enough to even established a library of history in your own world . Baba Olusegun Obasanjo is certainly one of those truly a rare human being.
“There are two advantages of writing history: the first one you can add a few nice things about yourself, the second advantage is that it is best sure way of preserving the failures and the successes of the past.
“President Obasanjo is a gift to us in various ways. From a few years away from independent to the civil war to military rule and then the Head of State who kept faith to the Nigerian people by ensuring a transition to civil rules and then from retirement to farming to be twice elected as Nigerian President and handed to another President at every time,” Mr. Osinbajo said.
“You are even more an incredible life of service to our nation to our continent and to our world, his enduring legacy will be believe in one strong and detribalized Nigeria.”
Liberian President, Ellen Sirleaf, said, “History will bear truth to this precedent setting presidential initiative in Africa that will spread a strong legacy for retiring president to emulate to record and preserved the history of nation building for prosperity and for the benefit of today and future generation”.
“A nation must believe in three things. It must believe in the past, it must believe in the future, it must above all believe in the capacity of his own people to learn from the past in creating their own future,” she emphasised.
Some dignitaries who attended the event are Presidents Faure Gnassingbe (Togo) and Ernest Koroma (Sierra Leone).
Former Presidents Goodluck Jonathan, Boni Yayi of Benin Republic, Joyce Banda of Malawi and John Kuffour of Ghana also attended.
Others are for United Nations Secretary General, Kofi Anan; AfDB president, Akin Adesina; former heads of state, Ernest Shonekan and Abdulsalam Abubakar; former Commonwealth Secretary General, Emeka Anyaoku, and former Vice President Namadi Sambo.
Former governors, Bola Tinubu, Olusegun Osoba, Rabiu Kwakwaso, Godswill Akpabio, Emmanuel Uduaghan, Donald Duke, Liyel Imoke and Alao Akala also attended.
Others are Ministers Kemi Adeosun, Kayode Fayemi, and Lai Mohammed.
The chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Sheriff, was also in attendance, as well as businessmen, Femi Otedola, and Aliko Dangote.
A former chairman of Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, Nuhu Ribadu, also attended.