Elder statesman, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, yesterday assessed the eight years democratic rule of former President Olusegun Obasanjo and passed a grim verdict: It was a monumental error.
He also said that Obasanjo was responsible for the inadequacies of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).
Adebanjo spoke at the unveiling of his autobiography titled “Telling it as it is,” in Lagos, yesterday.
At the event were former Commonwealth Secretary General, Mr. Emeka Anyaoku, National leader of All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Founder of Center For Values in Leadership (CVL), Prof. Pat Utomi and others.
According to him, when Obasanjo became the head of state, he left the country worse than he met it.
“What did Obasanjo do in eight years that you can remember in years to come. In practical terms, Nigerians were worse off.
For instance, how much were we buying a bag of rice before he came in, what was the inflation rate, what was the employment figure, what were the redeeming features, if I had N10, 000 before Obasanjo came in, how much was it worth by the time he left Aso Rock?
“His claim as one of his achievement as head of state under the military was that he built these refineries, yet when he came back as president during his eight year tenure (1999-2007), he could neither build a new refinery nor make the existing ones functional.
“And up till today, the problems are still there because the people he gave the contracts to refurbish the refineries were not professionals.
“Obasanjo was offered the presidency under the PDP, it was he who destroyed the party, he made the PDP to change its constitution on who to become chairman of the board of trustees (BOT), in order to favour himself, that was why he said anybody who would occupy that position must be a former president.’’
Tinubu at the occasion said Adebanjo is committed to the values of democracy in the country and ready to pay the price.
“If not for his integrity, I would not have become the governor of Lagos State. As the acting Chairman of the then Alliance for Democracy then, he said every registered member must participate in the primary and when the result came out, I won, but some people tried to manipulate it.’’
Utomi extolled the mentorship Adebanjo received from late Chief Obafemi Awolowo. According to him, that type of mentorship is lacking in this generation now.
Anyaoku said Adebanjo has an unwavering compassion for the success of the Nigerian project. According to him, he is also very passionate that Nigeria should do well. He shows great intellectual prowess at 90.
He expressed dissatisfaction for the military incursion into Nigerian politics, insisting that Nigeria, with diverse ethnic background cannot be ruled by unitary system of government. He stated that Nigeria needs a true federation.