Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says he believes in the political philosophy of the first Federal Minister of Social Services and Natural Resources, Adegoke Adelabu popularly called ‘Penkelemesi’.
He described the late politician as his political role model.
He stated this while receiving the family of the Ibadan-born politician, who visited him on Saturday in Abeokuta where he accepted the offer to be the patron of the posthumous centenary birthday celebration of the late politician.
“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,” Obasanjo.