Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has said that he believed in the political philosophy of the first Federal Minister of Social Services and Natural Resources, Adegoke Adelabu popularly called ‘Penkelemesi’ , describing him as his political role model.
Obasanjo said the political philosophy of the late politician was devoid of ethnic and tribal considerations, but focused on a united Nigeria.
He stated this while receiving the family of the late Ibadan-born politician, who visited him on Saturday in Abeokuta, saying, majority of Nigerians are still struggling to reach the pinnacle Adelabu attained in politics.
Obasanjo, who accepted the offer to be the patron of the posthumous centenary birthday celebration of the late politician, described the late Adelabu as a detribalised Nigerian.
Some members of the Adelabu family, who were led by an Ibadan chief and a former broadcaster, Aare Tunde Alabi, said they were in Obasanjo’s house to seek his help in giving a befitting ceremony to the first African Manager of UAC Haberdashery, Lagos.
According to Obasanjo, Adelabu was years ahead of his political contemporaries, adding that he advocated for United State of West Africa before his demise.
He said, “Adelabu was not just a historic figure, he was a reality, he was a phenomenon, he was uniquely Yoruba, uniquely Nigerian, uniquely African and uniquely a member of human race.
“What you are proposing to do, I believe Adelabu deserved it in every facet. Today, we are still struggling to reach the pinnacle or the pedestrial 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 talking of United State of West Africa, ECOWAS came up years after his demise. In his lifetime, he belonged to a political party that has its base outside the western region where he came from. He was not a tribal baron, but a national politician.
“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, 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 earth, absolutely down to earth 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.
“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.”
Earlier, Aare Alabi who gave a brief bio data of the leader of opposition in Western House of Assembly between 1956 and 1958 pleaded to Obasanjo to ‘carry Adelabu to the world’.
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