…As he donates books to OOPL
From: Laide Raheem, Abeokuta
Retired Professor of Statistics, Biyi Afonja, has confessed that his rejection of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s overtures to vie for Ogun governorship over 40 years ago, is now haunting him.
Afonja rued the missed opportunity and regretted that Ogun West’s agitation to produce governor since 1976 would have been actualised, if he had heeded Obasanjo’s call.
He made this known, on Wednesday, while donating some of his books to Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Prof. Afonja, in company of his wife, Yewande, donated some books covering statistics, autobiography, family relationship, philosophy, among others te former president inside the library complex of the OOPL.
Afonja, who served as a commissioner of education in the defunct Western Region, recalled how Obasanjo paid him a visit in New York, years back and asked him to come home to contest for governorship position.
Afonja said: “An august guest who enjoyed visiting me (in New York) was General Olusegun Obasanjo. On one of his visits, he engaged me in a serious talk about the political situation in Nigeria.
“He pleaded with me to come home and make my contributions possibly by running for the governorship of Ogun State. I tried to make him realize how upsetting it would be for me to return home after spending only about a year at UNDP.
“He couldn’t be persuaded by my argument. I can never forget his parting words that he hoped I would not regret my decision. Those words continue to haunt me till today.”
He commended Obasanjo’s initiatives on the OOPL, describing former President as “most erudite head of state Nigeria ever had.”
The former pro-chancellor and chairman, Governing Council of Olabisi Onabanjo University (OOU), Ago-Iwoye, explained the need to contribute to the development to OOPL spurred him to make books donation.
Speaking, Obasanjo thanked Afonja for the donation, saying the need to keep institutional memory made him to establish OOPL, a first of its kind in Africa.
Obasanjo said it is high time Nigeria kept institutional memory to “shape our present and the future”, adding that “we must not allow our past to hurt us.”
Corroborating Afonja’s position, Obasanjo admitted that he called on the retired professor to vie for governor, but added “Only God knows what would have happened if you agreed to contest.”