OGUN, Nigeria – Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has sympathised with the people of Ghana on the death of their former President, Jerry John Rawlings, saying he is forever indebted to him.
In a condolence letter to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado, a copy which was made available to newsmen by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, Thursday, Obasanjo said Rawlings “was passionate about peace, security and leadership issues in Africa.”
Obasanjo disclosed that Rawlings will be missed for his contribution to nation-building in the Republic of Ghana where he served, first as the Military Head of State of the country from 1981 to 1992 and later as a democratically-elected President from 1992-2000.
“Like many of his contemporaries too, former President Rawlings provided the much-needed leadership and direction which impacted positively on the social stability and democratic progress recorded thus far in Ghana. A quintessential patriot and courageous leader, he will be remembered for his critical role in the evolvement of modern democratic Ghana.
The former Nigerian President said he found in Rawlings, “a reliable friend, ally and confidant.”
He said the two of them worked together under the auspices of AU with constructive contributions at the various fora in their joint efforts at charting a new future for Africa particularly in tackling the scourge of malaria in Africa, using the platform of the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria where the deceased participation was quite active.
“It must also be on record that President Rawlings played a key role in furthering the actualization of the objectives of the Africa Leadership Forum, ALF, a non-governmental organization which I founded in 1988 to develop leadership capacities in Africa in order to increase productivity of major actors in government, parliament, business and civil society.
Obasanjo noted that the late Ghanaian President “supported and accommodated the organisation and its staff during the period of the relocation of the organisation’s base to Ghana because Abacha wanted to have them destroyed just immediately after he got me arrested and imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of coup plotting in 1995.
“No doubt, his generous assistance to ALF and its staff makes me forever indebted to him. I can proudly say he was a true friend and brother. His works, values, and principles have had and will continue to have a great influence and impact in Africa and beyond.
“I join the Government and the good people of Ghana as well as millions of others around the world in mourning a man, who dedicated his life to the growth and development of Ghana, his country, in particular, and Africa as a whole.
“While earnestly praying for the repose of the soul of President Rawlings, I add that God Almighty should give his family, your Government and people of Ghana the fortitude to bear the irreparable loss of this committed nationalist,” Obasanjo stated.