How Obasanjo interrupted a diplomatic trip abroad to attend the presentation of “The Letterman”, written by the editor-in-chief of PREMIUM TIMES

Pleasant surprise and excitement filled the air midway through the presentation of “The Letterman: Inside the ‘secret’ Letters of former Nigerian President, Olusegun Obasanjo” on Thursday afternoon when the former president unexpectedly stormed Bolton White Apartments, Abuja. , venue of the event.

Mr. Obasanjo and his entourage arrived at the venue as a former Aviation Minister, Osita Chidoka, who represented former President Goodluck Jonathan, was reading a speech by the immediate former president, who was the special guest of honour.

Upon Mr. Obasanjo’s arrival at the packed Events Center, Mr. Chidoka briefly suspended his presentation to announce the presence of the elderly statesman.

The announcement was greeted with a thunderous applause from the audience as the 85-year-old briskly walked to the head table.

The almost magical appearance of Mr. Obasanjo electrified the atmosphere in the packed center.

Obasanjo, who ruled Nigeria at two different times, first as an unelected military head of state from 1976 to 1979 and as a democratically elected president from 1999 to 2007, led the list of dignitaries who graced the well-attended inauguration event.

Other dignitaries present at the book launch event included Catholic Diocese of Sokoto Bishop Mathew Kukah, former Transport Minister Rotimi Amaechi, former FCT Minister Aliyu Modibbo, former Bayelsa State Governor and Acting Senator Seriake Dickson. , former aviation minister, Femi Fani-Kayode, senator representing Osun West, Aderele Oriolowo.

Others included Ifueko Omoigui-Okauru, former FIRS President, who was the main presenter of the book, former Senator Babafemi Ojudu and Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) Director General Asishana Okauru.

Mr. Obasanjo, a respected international statesman, is the key subject of the epic book written by PREMIUM TIMES editor-in-chief and COO, Musikilu Mojeed.

Mr. Mojeed explained that the former Nigerian leader was the least likely guest expected to appear at the event for many reasons.

First, the book was written without the authorization of the former president.

Second, the invitation letter sent to her for the event was not acknowledged, so she left no word on whether she would attend or not.

Third, Mr. Obasanjo was away on a week-long diplomatic engagement in Ethiopia.

However, the former president mystically emerged at the inauguration and brought the event to its frenetic climax.

Mr. Obasanjo in his comments stated that he did not give the author permission to write the book even though he enjoyed reading it.

“I had no intention of coming. He (Mojeed) did not take my permission. Until last week when he brought me two copies, I didn’t know he was writing the book. When I read the book, I was flabbergasted. I was torn between him not telling me and the amount of work he put in.

“I read a part and called him. I said, have you dug up this part? This is good. I did not respond to his letter because I did not want him to quote me, ”she said.

Mr. Obasanjo explained that Mr. Kukah convinced him to attend the book launch. “I met my Waterloo when I called Bishop Kukah, who told me that he was reading my book. He told me to be here,” he stated. Mr. Kukah was the book’s reviewer.

On how he coped with his busy diplomatic schedules in Ethiopia to return to Nigeria and attend the event, he said it was not an easy task for him.

He said that his program schedule in Addis Ababa has been extended until Thursday, December 1, the date of the opening of the boom. To buy time, he asked Ethiopian officials to break his two-day program into one. Later, he said that he had to reschedule his meetings in Ethiopia to finish his meeting on Wednesday, November 30.

Mr. Obasanjo, considered one of Africa’s most respected former leaders, said he found “The Letterman” incredibly good, adding that he recommends the book to people to read.

However, he said he would have titled the book “The Audacity of an Optimist.”

ALSO READ: Nigeria loses influence in Africa – Obasanjo

He added, “There are many things that I have forgotten, and he (Mojeed) presented them well. The reason why I don’t give interviews is because journalists are like a nagging wife who has children for you. You just have to tolerate them. They will bother you. Musikilu has a unique advantage, he tolerates me and I tolerate him… I believe in writing letters because you have to communicate. I don’t see any substitute for it.”

Obasanjo said that most of the letters he wrote have stood the test of time.

According to him, the letters were not personal but about topics. He said that, in some cases, the letters try to provide solutions.

Speaking about the current state of affairs in Nigeria, he said that the current administration has not been able to diplomatically handle the affairs of our neighbours. He cited the case of Chad and how Nigeria has left a leadership vacuum in Africa.

“God loves us so much that we have done so many stupid things and gotten away with it. I hope his patience has no elastic limit,” Mr. Obasanjo said. “The right lesson must be learned. We have everything we need to have. God is not to blame for not doing what we should be doing.”

He said that after reading the book, he will return to his letters.

Mr. Obasanjo said that for refusing to ask permission and colluding with some of his employees, he will decide the “punishment” to be imposed on Mr. Mojeed.

He jokingly added that Mr. Dickson, who though a lawyer but not practicing, will “manage” Mr. Mojeed when he (Dickson) starts practicing law.

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