Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says ‘bad belle” exhibited by Nigerians stopped the late Moshood Abiola from becoming the president of Nigeria.
Mr Abiola won the 12 June 1993 presidential election but the poll was annulled by the military president at the time, Ibrahim Babangida, while the results were being announced.
In 1994, Sani Abacha, another military general who had overthrown the interim national government that Mr Babangida handed over to, threw Mr Abiola into jail where he died on 8 July 1998.
Mr Obasanjo, before he was later thrown into prison by Mr Abacha for alleged involvement in a coup attempt against his junta, was also criticised for saying Mr Abiola, despite being considered popularly elected president, was not the “Messiah” that Nigerians were hoping for.
But on Wednesday at the centenary anniversary of Baptist Boys High School (BBHS), Abeokuta, Mr Obasanjo suggested that Mr Abiola ought to have become president.
Both men attended the famous school in the Ogun State capital.
The former president spoke at the event while delivering a paper titled, “Eyin Ni Iwe Wa: You Are Our Epistle.
He said he would have loved for Mr Abiola as an old student of the school like himself to be president of Nigeria
“If not for Nigerian bad belle, M.K.O. Abiola would have been president and with me as President, we would have needed one more old student of BBHS to be president for us to permanently locate it in BBHS after three times”, Mr Obasanjo said.
He listed Mr Abiola, whom he described as “the first communication industry millionaire in Nigeria,” among old students of the school who became famous in Nigeria.
“The distinguishing common factors among the first set of students of BBHS is their character and their attribute as Baptists with fear of God in their service of humanity and God. They were in every sense the Epistle of BBHS in all the places I happened to have met them and observed them. They were all exemplary”.
“I must also add other distinguished old boys who were contemporaries of the first set earlier mentioned or immediately following them. Among these were Chief D. S. Adegbenro, Minister of Land and then Minister of Local Government and later Premier of Western Region for a short period; Chief Obafemi Awolowo, who was the first Premier of Western Region; Professor Bolaji Idowu, who was the first Nigerian President of the Methodist Church of Nigeria; Chief Duro Oluyemi, the first Principal of African Church Grammar School, Abeokuta; and his immediate successor, Prince Gbogboade. I will be fairly correct to say African Church Grammar School Abeokuta is almost a child of BBHS”.
“To that list we must add Professor Lambo, the Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ibadan and the Deputy Director-General of WHO; Chief Samuel Sogbein, the Minister in the Western Region; Dr. Soleye, former Minister of Finance; Prince Bola Ajibola, former Attorney-General and Minister of Justice and Judge of the International Court of Justice at The Hague; and Chief M. Ola Yusuf with a distinguished career at John Holt.
“Today, there are distinguished old boys in all walks of life, i.e., private sector, academia, military and paramilitary, civil society, traditional rulership, etc. Such is the present President of the Old Boys Association of BBHS, Prof. Kayode Oyesiku.
“I believe that I must not be too forgetful to leave out yours truly, the son of Obasanjo, a modest war-victorious General and former Military Head of State and former President of Nigeria. Chief M.K.O. Abiola, the first communication industry millionaire in Nigeria and the acclaimed winner of the 1993 Presidential election who was in a class by himself”.
“I must not leave out people like Chief Dada who, after working at FAO, came to work with me as Minister of State, Agriculture, and Funsho Kupolokun, who worked with me distinguishingly as Group Managing Director of NNPC. At the State level, I must not forget Gbenga Daniel as Governor of Ogun State. I must not leave out the traditional rulers like Oba Adedotun Gbadebo, the Alake of Egbaland; Oba Adegboyega Dosunmu, the late Olowu of Owu Kingdom; and Oba Olufemi Omolade, the Olubara of Ibara, my personal friend and classmate who robbed of me of my cherished groundnut when we were in School”
“The School’s performance in sports and games particularly against Abeokuta Grammar School normally led to healthy competitions and exchanges without violence. Some old boys who had done the School great in sports and athletic competitions were Erinle and Jolaoso at the international level.”
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“With this galaxy of men and leaders which BBHS Abeokuta has produced for Nigeria, we, collectively and individually as beneficiaries owe the Southern Baptist Convention in the USA, a debt of gratitude for their Great Commission work which had yielded great fruit in the vineyard of God”
“Let me congratulate all students who had passed through the portals of BBHS posthumously and those who are alive no matter whether they are products of Oke Egunya or Oke-Saje, they are the same. As Mr E. L. Akisanya would say, “We have a good heritage (A wa ni ogun rere)”. Let us preserve it and pass it on in perpetuity. What all these great products of BBHS have in common is godly virtue inculcated in them by the School.”
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