Yoruba socio-political organisation, Afenifere; and its northern and eastern counterparts, Arewa Consultative Forum and Ohanaeze Ndigbo have backed calls for the image of former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be on one of the naira notes to be newly designed.
The comes after former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar had over the weekend made the suggestion.
Atiku, who took to his Twitter handle on Saturday to congratulate the former President for his role in restoring peace in Ethiopia after two-year-long crisis, also said Obasanjo deserved a Nobel Peace prize for the feat.
The crisis between the Ethiopian government and the Tigray People’s Liberation Front ended on Wednesday after talks and an agreement facilitated by Obasanjo, ex-Kenyan President, Uhuru Kenyatta, and a former Deputy President of South Africa, Phumzile Mlambo-Ngcuka.
Lauding the role of his former boss, Atiku tweeted, “I celebrate the extraordinary prowess of His Excellency, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, in bringing peace to Ethiopia. I am not surprised. I know my boss. He did the same thing in Liberia and São Tomé and Príncipe during our time in office.
“If for nothing else, he is most deserving of a Nobel Peace Prize, and I will nominate him when entries are open for nominations. Africa is blessed to have a statesman of such impeccable democratic credentials as Chief Obasanjo, a man whose image ought to be on the redesigned naira note, to inspire future generations of Nigerians to sacrifice for their nation and continent.”
Reacting to Atiku’s proposition, the National Secretary-General of Afenifere, Chief Sola Ebiseni, said he agreed with the former vice-president that Obasanjo deserved to have his image on the naira note for his contributions and place in country’s history.
He said, “The naira notes that are to be redesigned already have pictures of some personalities who are part of our history but Obasanjo is well deserving of any honour that Nigeria considers necessary for him. As a matter of fact, no one has been more part of Nigeria’s history as Olusegun Obasanjo, so a place of honour should be reserved for him. When you look round Nigeria so far, no monument of much importance has been dedicated to his personality. I have looked round, no airport, no university, no stadium.”
Similarly, the National Publicity Secretary of Ohanaeze Ndigbo, Dr Alex Ogbonnia, said, “Chief Olusegun Obasanjo deserves national recognition on the Nigerian currency. He is a moral edifice who governed the country with an appreciable level of equity, fairness and ethnic sensibility. The governance structures across Nigeria are dotted by his accomplishments. Obasanjo remains the conscience of not just the nation but the entire Africa.”
On his part, the Secretary-General, ACF, Murtala Aliyu, said Obasanjo’s roles as an international figure stood him out.
He said, “Looking at the history of the country, whether you like him or not, you cannot dismiss him when talking about the development of this country. From the roles he played during the civil war, as military head of state and handing over power to the civilian government and then during his time as civilian president and even being an international figure. There is nothing stopping a country like Nigeria from honouring Obasanjo.”
In the same vein, the National President of the Middle Belt Forum, Dr Bitrus Pogu, said, “Former President Obasanjo did well during his time of administering this country as a military and civilian leader of the country. He started serious infrastructure development in the country as well as Operation Feed the Nation. Also during his time he was able to negotiate our foreign debt downwards.
“Also in the aspect of economy, remember that when he came in, one barrel (of crude oil) was selling for the lowest ever experienced in the history of the country. He was able to grow the economy and handed over a robust economy to Yar’Adua. I think so far he has done well. And up till now he still behaves like a statesman in all his dealings. He deserves to be honoured. I believe that if that honour is given to him, I am in support. That will encourage others to do the right things and they will be honoured too when they leave public office.”
Also lending his voice to the idea, the National Publicity Secretary of pan-Niger Delta Forum, Ken Robinson, said, “Former President Olusegun Obasanjo definitely deserves to have his image on one of the notes of the nation’s currency. It is very right. We will also say that elder statesmen who have consistently, from the 60s to date, promote the unity, stability and oneness of Nigeria should also be honoured in terms of being put on the naira note; (and this includes) someone like chief Edwin Clark.”
Similarly, a former aide to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, Reno Omokri, on his Twitter handle appealed to the Central Bank of Nigeria to consider the proposition to put obasanjo’s image on one of the redesigned naira notes.
“I appeal to the Central Bank of Nigeria to consider putting President Obasanjo’s image on the redesigned naira. He is the greatest Nigerian living or dead. He and Atiku paid our entire foreign debts. He entrenched democracy and has now brought peace to Ethiopia.
Obasanjo ended the Nigerian Civil War, Liberian Civil War, prevented a civil war in São Tomé, and has now ended the Ethiopia-Tigray Civil War, and someone is saying that the CBN should not put him (his image) on the redesigned naira note because he is still alive? Nonsense!
“South Africa put Mandela’s image on their currency while he was still alive. Benin Republic put living Olympians on her currency. Many other nations have living people on their currencies. President Obasanjo deserves the honour for what he has done for Nigeria and Africa!.”