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Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo

A former Interim National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress, Bisi Akande, said in his new book that he knew former President Olusegun Obasanjo to be a faithless suitor and an unblinking political philanderer.

In his autobiography, ‘My Participations,’ which was presented in Lagos on Thursday, the former Governor of Osun State recalled how the “assassination of Bola Ige left us rudderless.”

He said, “We were like sheep without a shepherd. The AD had lost its lodestar for guidance and we were left on the open sea like a floundering ship. Soon, the sharks were circling.

“The man who came hunting for us was President Olusegun Obasanjo, Ige’s friend for many years who became our relentless foe. He and Ige met in the late 1960s when both of them served in the government of then Colonel Adeyinka Adebayo, the second military ruler of the old West. Since then, Obasanjo had dogged Ige’s path like an evil spirit.

“During his reign as military Head of State, Ige gave him a wide berth, yet Obasanjo would not disappear from Ige’s path. In 1982, it was Obasanjo’s unsolicited intervention into the crisis in the Oyo State UPN that led to the ‘Night of the Long Knives’ in Yola which almost cost Ige his job as the governor of old Oyo State. His final dalliance with Ige eventually cost Ige his life.”


Akande, who described Ige and Obasanjo as victims of Sani Abacha’s military dictatorship, recalled that Obasanjo was sent to Yola Prison and Ige to Makurdi Prison.

He said, “When Obasanjo made up his mind to contest for the presidency, he rushed to Ige’s residence in Ibadan to seek his support. Ige declined, promising him however that they would meet on the field of electoral combat on opposing sides.


“Ige knew Obasanjo’s deep-seated hatred for our leader, Chief Obafemi Awolowo, a public confession to which he devoted his book, ‘Not My Will’. What Ige did not reckon with was the unrelenting hostility of some members of Afenifere leadership to his aspiration to become the presidential flagbearer of our party, the AD, and its alliance partner, the APP.”

Akande noted that Chief Olu Falae eventually emerged the flagbearer of the alliance, but Ige led Falae’s presidential campaign in the South-West.


He said, “Obasanjo won and yet, would not leave Ige alone. Obasanjo visited Ige three times in his Bodija home, Ibadan, after he emerged as the President-elect, pressuring him to come and take up ministerial appointment.

“Ige finally agreed to serve when he was given the go-ahead by our movement Afenifere, and our party, the AD. It was late before he realised it was a kiss of death. All this made me wary of Obasanjo’s relentless dalliance. I knew him to be a faithless suitor and an unblinking philanderer on the political field. You trust him at your own peril.”

Bisi Akande sanitised governance in Osun state – Buhari

The President, Major General Muhammadu Buhari (retd.), at the book presentation, said Akande sanitised governance during his tenure.

He said, “By 2003, Chief Akande virtually sanitised governance in Osun State having cleared some of the trouble makers from his government and though elected to serve a second term, he was persuaded to try again in 2003.


“On page 400 of his book, he wrote, ‘I never gave to or demanded bribe from anyone all my life.’ He is a perfect gentleman; a perfect public officer, as it is said in Hausa, ‘labarin zucciya a tambayi fuska,’ loosely translated as ‘if you want to know what is in a man’s heart watch his face.’ Akande has a permanent smile on his face. He is the type I will go into the jungle with.

Buhari, narrating Akande’s career, described him as a decent and truthful public servant who survived various difficulties and political discontinuities.


He said, “It gives me immense pleasure to be present on this occasion of the launching and the formal presentation of Chief Bisi Akande’s autobiography. This is an authoritative account of his life and times. My being here therefore, is more than a pleasure; it is a duty.

“Chief Bisi Akande, is a decent, truthful and friendly person. He is a public servant by choice and an administrator of the first order. My first, personal encounter with Chief Akande was, if I recall correctly, in 2006, when a preliminary presentation was coming to fruition for a great coalition to unseat the Peoples Democratic Party government.

Lennox Mall

“Those efforts eventually came to nothing. Neither he nor I, nor many of us and our friends and associates gave up, because the country was going down and down under the PDP. You can see that on page 396 of ‘My Participations.’ Bisi Akande has risen to governance from his participation in the constitutional assembly established by General Olusegun Obasanjo’s military government.

The National Leader of the APC, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, described Akande as a selfless politician who earned things the principled way.


He said, “Our lives are better because of the selflessness, public and private contributions he has made to this national family we call Nigeria. Thankfully, he decided to make a written record of the events, ideas and lessons of his profound life so they may serve to enlighten and educate both the present and the future.

“Being a key light in our political firmament, whatever he says about his life also doubles as an intimate account of the political story of Nigeria. Baba Akande represents what a public figure in Nigeria ought to be. He is what many should aspire to be.


“The book, ‘My Participation,’ truly affirms that Chief Akande places high premium on integrity and truthfulness. It could not be otherwise. Indeed, many say President Buhari and Chief Akande are two of a kind: honest, resolute, patriotic and committed to their beliefs. I concur in that comparison.

“Baba did not walk the easy road. He earned things the hard and principled way. Nothing deterred him. Though easy-going in demeanor, he was always strong of character. Without seeing the four walls of a university, Chief Akande tutored himself and became a qualified accountant by the age of 22.

“People saw in him the rare combination of the gifts, fairness, tolerance and vision. Because of this, he was chosen as the chairman of the AD and Action Congress of Nigeria. And as a crowning achievement of the party leadership, he became the interim chairman of the APC helping to shepherd the historical platform of several major political parties. Without Chief Bisi Akande’s guidance, that merger might have never come to past.”

The author thanked Buhari and all the dignitaries present, however, he expressed his reservations with the President’s handlers who still think he is a soldier.


He said, “I am only uncomfortable that each time my President is travelling here, he is always in a hurry. He is our President, he is one of us. We always want him to relax and come and stay with us, you know, eat our dinner with us, let our children eat with him, touch his clothes, and let him know that we love him.

“But his handlers never recognise that he is no longer growing younger. They march him; they think he is still a soldier. They march him from the Naval yard to Eko Hotel, marching him to Abuja, and that is the way they will march him throughout today, throughout tomorrow.”

The Minister of Science, Dr Ogbonnaya Onu, said, “The author of the book is a man with a complex personality. In addition to his ever smiling face, he is full of jokes, which can at times be very expensive. He always stood by what he believed in. His honesty spoke for him at all times. He was born poor but never allowed that to deter him.”

Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu, said, “There are not many people that will sacrifice more than him for democracy. Chief Akande is a great man of respect and it is therefore not surprising that the public presentation and autobiography is being witnessed by notable progressives, including the President himself.”

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