AN INTRODUCTION BY OLUSEGUN OBASANJO
In the third volume of my last book, My Watch, I authored a chapter on the Presidential Library in which I laid out my dream for this centre. Towards the end of that chapter I cracked a joke about how, if asked now—with the foreknowledge of the ensuing decade of work and sweat and near disaster that was the building of the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library—whether I would have begun the journey at the time that I did, and I would have shouted a resounding, No. But we began the journey. A journey that was the fruit of conversations that began in 1988 between myself and Mr Nyaknno Osso, conversations that were interrupted by a three-year stint in prison, taken up again immediately after I regained my freedom and during my term as elected president, and solidified with a ground-breaking ceremony in 2005.
As you, dear visitor and citizen, begin your tour of these facilities, I want you to see my footprints not only in the sands of time, but also on the sand of history. You will learn some of the things I have done and have come to admire in the span of my life, about humanity and about my birth—my village background with its enchanting allure and beauty, towns and cities, success and failures, happiness and sadness and what shaped my life.
Within the library building, you will see the pictures of the history of my dear country, Nigeria, since 1914, as it is presented to you with high and low lights. But with one thing tenaciously held by me— my incurable optimism.My mission will be fulfilled if at the end of your visit and tour, you feel inspired—inspired to do because you can do it; inspired to be a hero by doing ordinary things that ordinary people may fear to do because, of course, there is a hero in you; inspired to achieve because you can be an achiever; inspired to say NO to anything that wants to hold you down; inspired to be exemplary because you have something good to give; inspired to be successful as success beckons to you.
Any nation that wants to be regarded as making progress in democracy, peace, development, justice and living standard of its citizens must embrace and promote these values: industry, respect, humility, love, compassion and fear of God. We all need a critical mass of these values. My vision for Nigeria is a country united in love and harmony and a country that is doing its best to achieve the purpose for which it had been created. I believe that God does not make mistakes. Nigeria was created the largest nation in Africa and the largest black country in the world. Nigeria is a beacon of light for the rest of the human community.
For you who have come for more, please visit our institutions and centres of learning, The Institute for African Culture and International Understanding, and the Centre for Human Security. For those interested as I am in the future, join us as we continue the work that must be done to preserve our species at the Green Energy Demonstration Initiative.
Dear citizen of Nigerian, of Africa, of the world, come with me on this journey. And remember to enjoy yourselves while doing so.