Obasanjo, Gowon, Tinubu others pour encomiums on Buhari

Obasanjo, Gowon, Tinubu others pour encomiums on Buhari
October 04 05:59 2016

President Muhammadu Buhari was eulogized by many of the former leaders and political heavyweights who attended the presentation of his biography on Monday.

The book, which was written by an American academic, Professor John Paden, was a chronology of the life and times of President Buhari, both in military and civilian governments.

Former Head of State, Gen Yakubu Gowon (rtd) who was the chairman of the occasion, said Buhari was a dogged fighter and a man of destiny.

“It is an honour for me to be here at the public presentation of Muhammadu Buhari: The challenges of leadership in Nigeria, which has been described as a penetrative biography of Mr. President. I do not expect the book to be anything less than it has been described.

More so, as everyone created by God, particularly in a position of leadership, is a story waiting to be told. As to be expected, today’s event, to quote the late politician, Chief K. O. Mbadiwe, is a gathering of political juggernauts and men and women of timber and calibre.

“Buhari deserves every word of praise as well as criticism. I can say without fear of favour that President Buhari is a fighter and a man of destiny

As a young officer, he did so well during several assignments and operations within and outside Nigeria that attracted my attention and that of the leadership and that is the reason he catapulted to the top within a short time.

“As a combat politician, he fought many battles to take charge of Nigeria from Aso Villa, in spite of being told several times that he would never see the inside of the Villa.

“His election in 2015 as President in a free and fair election was, therefore, an affirmation of the notion that persistence pays. His is like the Irish man, third time lucky but not for their term,” he said.

Special guest of honour, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, told a story of Buhari’s credibility during his time as a federal commissioner, said that despite their disagreement on issues, they had not lost their affinity for each other.

“The President and I have many encounters but most of them in parallel. Not too long ago, we had a direct opposition at the ballot box. But even then, it did not affect our relationship. Fortunately, we didn’t have to look at each other through the barrel of our guns and I thank God for that,” Obasanjo said.

Book reviewer and All Progressives Congress national leader, Bola Tinubu, said Buhari had had to come to the national stage at various critical times, assuring that he would fix the economy, which he said was ruined by the government of People’s Democratic Party, PDP.

“Essentially, the book explores how his professional career, his personal life and prior experiences in government shaped and prepared him for the momentous assignment he now has.

“From the book’s pages, we see a man who has lived his life on assignments that always intersected with vital moments in the nation’s history. He was a man on assignment, when, in the military, he served bravely in a civil war to keep Nigeria united.

“He was on national assignment, when he became military head of state in a well-intentioned effort to straighten things out, and set Nigeria on a better path.

“When he ventured into politics and competed for the Presidency, culminating in his 2015 election victory, he was still on assignment, showing that there was no other way for this nation to go but the way of democracy, no matter how difficult the path may be.

“Now, as sitting President, he is on an assignment, against time, to undo the wrongs of nearly two decades of bad governance. “Such is the life of this man. Always in the public eye, doing things in his different, disciplined and spartan way.

From this compelling narrative, neatly demarcated into three parts and 24 chapters, the reader is able to glean the quintessential Buhari,” he said.

Tinubu also gave an account of his encounter with President Buhari during the formation of APC.

He continued: “The formation of the All Progressives Congress, APC, is an important event that the book addresses. The merger was the result of teamwork, belief in the democratic will of the people and a commitment to national purpose.

“Many of us invested ourselves, our heart, body, mind and soul in this project for national salvation. Many did not want it to happen and fought to undermine the good we sought to accomplish. Many others straddled the sidelines, neither completely in nor completely out, but waiting to see how the prevailing winds might blow before making their move. Muhammadu Buhari never wavered for one moment on this journey.

Proving to be a focused leader, he acted with single-minded determination that showed no fear or doubt in the rightfulness of the cause we pursued

“So many people made contributions that made the historic merger possible.

It would be impossible to give each person the accolades he deserves in a concise work such as this one. However, it is an account that we must begin to chronicle fully, and with care, for it is the story of when reform came to the land. Here, I must say that this book makes a good initial contribution toward this objective.

“Indeed, the APC is a party born of the quest for democratic good governance. In essence, the party is the embodiment of a democratic promise made between its members as well as a democratic vow made to the public. The APC genesis is truly a historic and an engaging one.”

The author of the book, Professor Paden, in his remarks, said the book followed the life and challenges of President Buhari in both military and civilian regimes.

He also said the proceeds of the book would be given to charity and internally displaced persons (IDPs) in the North East.

“This books seeks to answer the questions: Who’s President Buhari and how’s he grappling with the many challenges of Nigeria.

My initial motivation was to introduce President Buhari to the international audience on the assumptions that Nigerians already knew their president.

But increasingly, I came to feel that, perhaps, Nigerians might find it useful to review. “The book follows Buhari through his challenges in and out of office, his military training in UK and elsewhere, his roles in military regime including his time as military Head of State for 20 months; his detention, his re-emergence as a civil society leader and his eventual engagement in politics in the 4th Republic since 1999.

The book is clearly a work in progress,” he said.

President Buhari appreciated the author of the book and his guests for honouring his invitation in a short time.

“I am very grateful to all that volunteered to come, to Chairman and organising committee. I honestly, do not expect the audience that has turned out because of the timing. Today is a public holiday. A lot of people are supposed to be at home with their families. But you made it. I am very grateful, especially to the author, who tolerated me,” he said.

The book launch also attracted Presidents of Chad, Cameroon and Benin Republic, with many Government officials, past and present, including Vice President Yemi Osinbajo and former Vice President Namadi Sambo.

Senate President, Dr. Bukola Saraki; Governors Nasir el-Rufai of Kaduna State; Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State; Tanko Al-Makura of Nasarawa State; Aminu Tambuwal of Sokoto State; CBN Governor, Godwin Emefiele; Edo State Governor-elect, Godwin Obaseki; Tony Elumelu, Chairman, UBA PLC; Mr. Jim Ovia, Chairman, Zenith Bank, were also in attendance.