Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday described the first Federal Minister of Social Services and Natural Resources, Adegoke Adelabu popularly called ‘Adelabu Penkelemesi’ as his political role model.
Ladi Kayode ,Abeokuta
Nigeria Former President Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at the weekend admitted that, the late South-West opposition party leader during the first Republic, Alhaji Adegoke Adelabu was his political mentor who he still cherish him even after his demise.
Obasanjo made the disclosure while playing host to deceased the children, who also a former Minister of Natural Resources and Social Services paid him a visit at his Hilltop Private Residence in Abeokuta in preparation for the deceased 100 years posthumous birthday and foundation.
The former nation leader while addressing the family which include some grandchildren of the late heavyweight politician popularly known as Penkelemi, pointed out that he(Adelabu) was not just a historic figure, but a reality, a phenomenon, who was uniquely Yoruba, uniquely Nigerian, uniquely African and uniquely a member of human race.
His words ‘ I share Adelabu’s philosophy of a united Nigeria and believe, I share Adelabu’s view of politics beyond ethnicity, beyond tribe, beyond region and I believe that in our national life, we should extol the virtues like the one we saw in Adelabu, a man of the people, down to hearth, absolutely down to hearth and yet, a man who believed that his politics must be above ethnicity, must be above tribe, must be to unite the country while, of course, uplifting his own people’.
Obasanjo added ‘Today, we are still struggling to reach the pinnacle or the pedestrian Adelabu reached in politics, of not being swayed by linguistic, ethnic, tribal, regional, sectional consideration but by what is best for Nigeria. He was years ahead of his contemporary politicians.
In his life time, he was taking of United State of West Africa, ECOWAS came up years after his demise. In his live time, he belonged to a political party that has its base out side the western region where he came from, he was not a tribal baron, he was a national politician’.
While also responding to the family request to play major role on the proposed posthumous centenary birthday, the former President accepted to serve as the grand patron of the event scheduled for September,2015 He said ‘What you are proposing to do, I believe Adelabu deserved it in every facet. So, when you asked me to be the patron of Adelabu posthumous centenary birthday celebration, I have no reason to say no.
I have no reasons to say no because, I share what Adelabu stood for, I share Adelabu’s philosophy of a united Nigeria and believe’ ‘On behalf of the family who asked me to accept this and having accepted this, I will do my utmost best to contribute to making that day you have chosen to celebrate the birthday a success and also to use it to remind those who may like to forget that there was, even before independent, men and Nigerians like Adelabu who believed in the unity of this country, who lived for it and indeed died for it’,Obasanjo declared.
The leader of the visiting team Are Lekan Alabi,an Ibadan High Chief in his speech earlier tabled the family desired and need to celebrate the late political leader, who would have been 100 years this year if not for the untimely death.
He also recalled the political antecedents and performances of the late famous and formidable opposition leader in the South West of the country, adding that, he deserves to be celebrated even in death. Meanwhile, it would be recalled that, the late politician popularly called Penkelemisi died in auto crash on March 25,1958 along Ibadan- OdeRemo road at the age of 43 years while on a business trip. He was the first Blackman to be West Africa Manager of UAC at age 21.