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Africans Helping Africans: Former Nigerian President Honored

Former Ghanaian President and frontline African leader John Kuffo and other prominent Nigerians yesterday lauded the leadership qualities of former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing him as “a gift to Africa’’.

They spoke in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, on Friday at a reception organized in honor of the former president by the South-West zone of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in recognition of his contribution to the party, nation and Africa-at-large.

Kuffo, who gave a keynote address, described Obasanjo as a great leader, saying that very few heroes and legends were celebrated during their lifetime.

He described Obasanjo as a friend, a brother, a confidant and a sympathetic African leader who had contributed immensely to the uplift and transformation of less endowed African countries.

According to Kuffo, it was Obasanjo who came to his rescue in 2001 when he took over government in Ghana with an almost collapsed economy.

“I had limited options at this time. I quickly ran to Obasanjo and requested that he should lift the fuel embargo Nigeria placed on Ghana for refusing to service its debt.

“Obasanjo graciously accepted and began to sell fuel to Ghana on favourable terms.

“This singular gesture served as impetus for the uplift of Ghana when other donor countries across the globe refused to offer assistance,’’ Kuffo recalled.

He described Obasanjo as an individual with “a growing concern’’ who had continued to work tirelessly for the unity and transformation of the African continent.

The former Head of Interim National Government Chief Earnest Shonekan, also described Obasanjo as a man of integrity.

He noted that Obasanjo was the first Nigerian military leader who, in 1979, handed over power peacefully to a democratically elected government.

Shonekan said that Obasanjo was passionately committed to the unity and transformation of Nigeria.

The Senate President David Mark, described Obasanjo as an outstanding Nigerian statesman and a national icon whose love for the nation would be difficult to surpass.

Responding, Obasanjo said he appreciated the organizers of the program, attributing his accomplishments to “the grace of God’’.

He said three principles normally guided his actions in life namely: “Can I defend my action before God? Can I defend my action before the people? Will my action benefit majority of people?’’…

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