H.E. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo
At the launch of Christopher Bayo Akala ‘s Book “Amazing Grace”Ibadan Oyo State, Thursday, November 5, 2020
I cherish history because to forget history is like losing one’s memory, in which case, you will not remember what you ate last night History is a conglomeration of biographies. And without history, we lose the past with all the record of events.
History, no matter how expansive never captures all events.But biographies are even more limited and narrower and greatly subjective. And the
Caution may be “readers beware!”
Although biography is neither a definitive nor an entirely reliable window into the past,without biography there could be no human history.
Biography may be highly
Having started with an attempt to make the point of biography more than history being in the mind and purpose of the writer and therefore must be taken with a pinch of salt, I must hasten to congratulate Governor Christopher Adebayo Alao-Akala for the great efforts he had mustered to write his own biography.
I know from experience as a regular book and letter writer how much discipline and courage you need to garner to write meaningfully. And Adebayo has exhibited extra courage to invite eyewitness and ear witness of some of the events chronicled in the biography for confirmation or otherwise. It is both courageous and dangerous to do so.
By inviting me to be here at the launch of this great intellectual work of yours, you are asking me to confirm all
events itemised in the book and in which I am connected as correct which you may or may not know are not.
But I am here as I promised you on every occasion you visited me to ensure that I will be present at the book launch. And you gave me a copy of the book early enough to be able to read and put some things right according to what I know.
There are two issues on page 125 of the book that I need to get you properly informed about. In1992, Shehu Yar’Adua came to me to request me to intervene on his behalf with Chief
Adedibu. It was not the usual thing I would do but for Shehu. I went to the Chief, meeting him one on one for the first time and he received me warmly. And I said to him, “I know both Olu Falae and Shehu Yar’Adua very well as they both worked directly under me – Olu as Permanent Secretary and Shehu as my political Number 2.
They are both very good. But if we are looking at the entire Nigeria picture, it should be Shehu before Olu; if, however, it is purely Yoruba issue, it should be Olu before Shehu. If my information is correct that you people are considering Nigeria and not
just Yoruba land, then I will recommend Shehu.” That led to Chief Adedibu changing his support in favour of Shehu YarAdua in 1992.
Again, Atiku did not back down as you claimed until Alex Ekwueme was defeated at the primary of PDP in 2003 as Atiku’s agreement with Ekwueme was to be Ekwueme’s running mate and Ekwueme, as President, spending three years and resigning for
Atiku to complete the fourth year and then for Atiku to contest election in his own right in 2007. It was after the result of the primary that Atiku backed down, if you put it that way, it was when there was no other choice
You pointed out on page 140 that Ladoja picked up a quarrel with me for reason of a non-existent third term. I did not know that Ladoja picked up quarrel except that his becoming Governor was due to the grace of God and major contributions of two people – Yekini Adeojo from whom the Party structure was wrenched and Chief Adedibu who spearheaded the whole programme. I pleaded with him to makeaccommodation for them both. He told me that they were all Ibadan people and they knew how to deal with themselves. He subsequently proved himself right as they dealt with themselves, and he, Ladoja, came out the worse for it Adebayo, I must thank you for weaving my school life with your uncle, Chief Gabriel Otunla, my Physics and Chemistry teacher at the Baptist Boys’ High School, BBHS,Abeokuta on page 387. Without him, none of us at school at that time, including MKO you mentioned, would have studied any science subject other than biology. When Chief Otunla returned from Manchester University, he changed our situation drastically and our lives were enriched and we were all better for it. Maybe in thanking God for Chief Otunla, I should also thank you for Chief Otunla being your uncle or thank Chief Otunla for being your uncle.
wonder how you come on page 390 of your book to blame or criticise me for dividing the Ibadan-Ilorin Road to three sections for reconstruction during my second terms that it could be expeditiously completed. You had a full term plus one year from Governor Ladoja’s tenure as Governor and even up till today, the roads are not
completed and you believe honestly that in your biography, I should be blamed at least thirteen years after I have left office. As an Ogbomoso man, I can understand how important that road is to you. But when I took the steps which I took for the road to be expeditiously handled, it was not for your interest as an Ogbomoso man but for theimportance of the road for the economic life of Nigeria and it is tragic that the artery road remains in the sorry state it is today. Bayo, I will not say much on the issue of Muraina and Mulikat for Speaker of House of Representatives as reported on page 391 as you put it,” sinned against this man once and that has marred our fantastic relationship” The story as you put it down is not correct.
You proposed Muraina for the job and we all accepted him for South-West and started to work. As a result, the then National Vice-Chairman of PDP, AlhajiTajudeen Oladipo, wrote to the then Acting Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Haliru Mohammed Bello, on 12 May 2011 to put forward Muraina. I got a copy of that letter as Chair of BOT of PDP. It was unbelievable for me to hear that you later surreptitiously started prompting Mulikat, a lady from Ogbomoso, and you had started working behind the scene for her without coming back to tell me what had changed and why, nor go back to the South-West Caucus. Iwo lo pe ole ko wa ja, Iwo lo pe oloko ko wa so oko. That, to me, is duplicity and I don’t play such a game. Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo told me later the game that was played and in the end you and the South-West were the losers. But you have apologised and I have forgiven and, of course, I am here. That too has also passed into history I find this book easily readable and I will recommend it to practitioners of politics and students and teachers of politics and Political Science in all educational institutions.
Finally, Bayo, this is a good effort for which I once again, commend and congratulate you.
You have had opportunity to serve, you have served to the best of your abilityYou have kept as best as you could recollect records of events as you wish to present
them. It has become part of history and let others contend. And you are already amaker of history. Well done! And, once again, congratulations.