A few weeks back, Aremo Olusegun Obasanjo, the former Nigerian president, celebrated his 80th birthday and quite expectedly the media was awash with news of the event.
While no doubt an event of both national and international significance; among others, my take away from it was the disclosure by the celebrant that he actually did not know his real age; and all he remembers as of the day he was born, was the link to an Ifo market day according to his parents accounts.
In essence, he could be well over eighty or below.
But what difference does it make now? None!
You will agree with me that life has been more than generous to him if you are familiar with the trajectory of his luck-lustre careers and perquisites accrued.
That is by the way, as more importantly, I am here to celebrate with him rather than call to question what his real age is or if he truly deserves all that life had simply thrown at him. And to those still quizzical of those he once wrote ‘Not My Will.’
For all I know, he has aged and gracefully too.
Above all he has been a recurring decimal in the political evolution of Nigeria.
But lest I bore you with repeated narratives about the life and time, concessionary glorious, of one of the few men whose existence have shaped and still shaping the destiny of the geopolitical entity called Nigeria.
For nothing new can yet be written about a man both fondly and fearfully called Ebora Owu, translated to mean a deity from the realm of Owu in Abeokuta, Ogun state by multitudes of his die hard followers.
A man also respectfully referred to as Baba (father) among his inner circle of younger friends, contemporaries and political associates.
He has no doubt seen it all and deserves his place in the pantheon of Nigerian political deities.
Though many still squabble unending about what he has achieved, or could have achieved but did not achieved for one reason or the other while he held sway as Nigeria’s number one citizen on two occasions.
But that is history now.
It is also not out of place to regularly encounter a handful both in private discussions and in some of the national papers who will not hesitates to both call him names and his bluff based more on the latter of the above mentioned reasons.
Some even go as far as blaming him for many of the woes that currently betide the nation.
While everyone is indeed at liberty to love or hate him; remember differently all he has done, the causes and events he has championed before now whether successful or not.
But one thing you, however, cannot take away from him is his iconic charisma, personal boisterousness maybe swashbuckling and an inexhaustible repository of caustic wits and sometimes fearless and brash analytic of people and institutions that lives you ever asking for more.
So, my basic preoccupation here is to attempt to suggest a monument, a befitting one at that to such a god, if indeed one can be erected in his name more than he has done himself.
And I do not mean a mausoleum of gold and glitz that may hold such a deity in death.
I will enjoin you all to come with me on this fun-filled adventure..
Get it straight, I am not wishing him death even by the strokes of imagination, mischief or hatred. Indeed like several of his well wishers, I wish him long life and prosperity and in good health too.
I am doing this for the simple reason of attempting to poll the people’s opinions and suggestions on the matter however ridiculous or elevated.
If I may ask, which landmarks in Nigeria do you think is worthy an eponymous of his name and why?
Personally, I have just two in mind.
The first is the National Open University of Nigeria which he help to resuscitate from the dead.
The reason for this is simple. This is one institution that has huge national outlook and underscores his hunger for knowledge and criticism which are some of the cultures citadels of learning thrive on.
Above all, I am aware he recently got his PhD from the school lending it a deserved credence as an institution of choice for all. Though before now, Aremo Olusegun Obasanjo, is well known for his intellectual combativeness on issues in national developments.
The second is National Art Theatre in Iganmu Lagos. It is also on record that as military president between 1976-1979 he completed the national edifice presently a sorry sight primarily for the international art and cultural festival which Nigeria hosted in 1977.
I think this is one national monument that essentially captured his undying love for his African culture and tradition; and would be a fitting eponymous of his name.
Though through it his critics still feel he imported demons into Nigeria that today torment her.
If not this conclusion, I wonder what else can be further from the truth. I say so because long before then, Nigeria is a land of a thousand demons.
Artistically attested to by the late playwright, Chief G.O Fagunwa, who appropriately gave us something to chew in this regards with his monster hit < A FOREST OF A THOUSAND DEMONS’>.
Feel free, however, to think and say which landmark in Nigeria would be a befitting monument to Aremo Olusegun Obasanjo.
If you say posthumously that is your own addition for which you are liable.
I rest my case!