By Olufemi Adediran, Abeokuta
A former Prelate of Methodist Church Nigeria, His Eminence, Dr. Sunday Mbang, on Sunday in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital, declared that former President Olusegun Obasanjo is the best President Nigeria has ever had, insisting that no President had been able to match his achievements.
Mbang in the sermon, titled, “The Quality of Our Gratitude to God”, at a Thanksgiving service to mark the 80th birthday of Obasanjo, commended the former President for his numerous achievements in and outside government, saying the good deeds of Obasanjo would outlive him and urged leaders across the country to emulate his leadership qualities.
The service was held at Chapel of Christ the Glorious King, a church built inside the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Mbang noted that Obasanjo created majority of government’s institutions which according to him are performing well till today, citing the example of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC).
The cleric lamented that the country would have been more better than its current status, stressing, “If other administrations that succeeded Obasanjo had followed his agricultural plan, the country will not be where it is today.”
“Obasanjo is a man I love so well, I was in love with him when I discovered that he was holding a morning prayer service at the seat of power everyday. The service was not for only members of his family but also for other Christians in Aso Villa at that time.”
“This man within three months of getting to office built a chapel in the Aso Villa. I remember that at that time when Obasanjo came into the Villa, there were 12 mosques in the Villa and there was no single church but Obasanjo built a chapel for Christians to worship.”
The cleric chided selfish politicians who he described as chameleons, saying, “Some politicians change their minds like chameleons, today they are in PDP (Peoples Democratic Party), tomorrow, they go to APC (All Progressives Congress) and before you know it they are back in PDP. They are always fighting war without end. Shame on you all (politicians).”
Mbang said, “Shame on you pastors who collect money from armed robbers. When the money is big, they announce the donation to the congregation but when the money is small, they do not announce to the congregation.”
“There are people who are so self-centered and when they are successful, they believe they are the ones responsible for it and they fail to show gratitude to God” and expressed delight that Obasanjo is not one of such people.
Mbang also described Obasanjo as a unique and special gift to Nigeria by God, stressing “Even when Obasanjo was in the shadow of the valley of death, God was with him even when his enemies tried to impeach him, God was there for him.”
The clergyman urged Nigerians leaders and all well meaning Nigerians to go back to their various communities and develop them by replicating what the former President had done for his community, saying “All of you should go back to your communities and assist in developing the areas.”
“Some politicians keep their money in Switzerland instead of using it to develop their respective communities like Obasanjo has done. This achievement of Obasanjo will outlive him. The story of what he has done will be told everywhere and his deeds will outlive him.”
To the congregation, he queried, “For those of you here, what have you done for your communities? It is a shame that most of the Governors now do not know what continuity in government means.”
He charged the congregation, “Whatever you do, do it well, knowing that God will ask you for what you have done.”
Obasanjo in his brief response, commended the guests, the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Board of Trustees, Clerics, his family members and all those present, saying “Thank you all and I pray God will bless you all”.
The former President told the congregation that the journey had not been smooth throughout but he could confidently say that God had been too faithful to him.
He revealed that because of God’s abundant blessings upon him, one of his friends sometime ago asked him why God had been so kind to him as if he was the only one God created.
Obasanjo recounted, “Sometime ago, a good friend of mine came to me and asked me if I was the only one God created, he asked me why God had been so good to me, he went ahead recounting the good things that had happened to me but he didn’t mention the bad ones. He said the one that baffled me most, he said even your children are doing well and indeed, they are all doing well.”
The National President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Rev. Supo Ayokunle in his brief remark disclosed that the Christian community in the country can never forget what Obasanjo did for them, saying “he gave us symbol of unity”.
He explained that Obasanjo and the former Head of State, late Muritala Muhammed in 1976 called all the Christians together to form the CAN.
The CAN President commended the celebrant for initiating the funds raising for the building of the National Ecumenical Centre now called National Christian Centre, stressing “We (Christians) will continue to celebrate you (Obasanjo)”.
His words: “During his time as Civilian President, Baba called people to raise funds for the Ecumenical Centre now called National Christian Centre, one of the tallest buildings in Abuja with 22 floors. We (Christians) are grateful”.
Among the political associates, friends and family members who joined Obasanjo to thank God for seeing him through 80 years of healthy life, included, President of Liberia, Mrs. Ellen Sirleaf, Chief Ernest Sonekan, Emeka Anyaoku, former Secretary General of the Commonwealth, State Governors, Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Victor Ikpeazu (Abia)
Others were former Governors, Otunba Gbenga Daniel (Ogun), Alao Akala (Oyo), Segun Oni (Ekiti) and Olagunsoye Oyinlola (Osun).
Senator Goodswill Akpabio, Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Ogunwusi, Pastor Enoch Adeboye, Alake of Egbaland, Oba Aremu Gbadebo, Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul Rasheed Akanbi, Osiele of Oke-Ona, Oba Adedapo Tejuoso, Christopher Kolade, Prof. Akin Mabogunje, Andy Uba, former Minister of Mines and Steel, Sarafa Tunji Ishola and Gbenga Nasir Isiaka, former Ogun Governorship aspirant also graced the occasion.