Nigerian former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has inadvertently dismissed speculations that he is not a Yoruba man.
Obasanjo in his book titled ‘My Watch Volume 2: Political and Public Affairs,’ said his two parents were from Owu in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
A chieftain of the All Progressives Congress, Senator Anthony Adefuye, recently claimed that the father of the former Nigerian leader was Igbo but that he was born of a Yoruba woman.
Adefuye had in an interview with a national daily said among other things, “Some people may argue that what about Obasanjo? Obasanjo is not a Yoruba man.
He is an Igbo man from the South-East. His father was from Anambra while his mother was a Yoruba woman. And that was why during his tenure, he completely ignored the South-West. For example, throughout his eight years, he did nothing on the Lagos-Ibadan Expressway.”
Some Yoruba leaders had in 2007 also alleged that Obasanjo’s biological father was not a Yoruba man.
According to them, his father was Onyekwelu from Onitsha in Anambra State and so, his reign as President between 1999 and 2007 should be viewed as an Igbo reign.
But Obasanjo in the 675-page book described himself as a thorough-bred Yoruba man.
“To be a Nigerian, I have to be born somewhere in Nigeria or be of Nigeria parentage or one must naturalise. If the other can hide their identity, I cannot, because my two parents were from Owu in Abeokuta. And you cannot be more Yoruba than an Owu man as the first child and daughter of Oduduwa, the father of Yorubas was the mother of all Owus. What is more, I bear Owu tribal marks. And better or worse still, I speak English with my Owu dialect.
“I have always maintained and felt proud of my Owuness, Yorubaness and Nigerianess in that order. They are all part of my cherished identity. But I always refused and will always refuse to be constrained, diminished or reduced to the level of Yoruba leadership. Without being immodest, I am a national leader, an African leader and a world leader in my own way.
“If a Yoruba meeting is called on an important issue of concern to the Yorubas and I am invited. I will go but will not sit on the high table unless I joined in convening the meeting. But I would expect that a seat on the high table would be reserved for me if such a meeting is a national meeting.