Former President Olusegun Obasanjo caused a stir this morning at the Armed Forces Remembrance Day celebration in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Southwest Nigeria, when he refused to lay a wreath to honour the fallen heroes.
P.M.NEWS gathered that the former president was expected to attend the programme in Abuja, Nigeria’s capital but important personalities gathered at the Ake ground in Oke Mosan, were shocked when he suddenly appeared at the venue.
Though he was not originally on the agenda for the celebration, he was contacted to lay the wreath after the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun.
But he bluntly refused despite overtures made to him by Governor Amosun, the deputy governor and Iyalode of Egbaland, Chief (Mrs.) Alaba Lawson who went to his seat and knelt down beside ‘Baba.’
When Obasanjo refused bluntly to lay a wreath, the Commander, Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Commander, Nigerian Navy School, Abeokuta, Ogun State Commissioner of Police, Chairman, Nigerian Legion (Ogun State Chapter) and the four paramount rulers in the state laid wreaths in succession.
Obasanjo also refused to make any speech. He did not utter a word throughout the duration of the programme. He merely sat down and observed the event from the beginning till the end.
The former president, however, agreed to speak to journalists covering the event on the condition that he spoke only on the significance of the Armed Forces Remembrance Day and no other topic.
He said the event was important and people must remember our fallen heroes who fought gallantly and lost their lives in Burma, Congo, the Nigerian Civil War and others.
He added that the widows and children of the soldiers who died during peace keeping and various wars must be taken care of to convince others that the death of our heroes past was not in vain.
During the programme, Governor Amosun made a speech and laid a wreath in memory of Nigerian soldiers who died in world wars, civil war and other conflicts.
Meanwhile, political observers in Ogun have viewed Obasanjo’s sudden appearance in Abeokuta as a fall-out of the crisis rocking the PDP.
“He has always marked the day in Abuja as a former president. He never joined us here in Abeokuta. The crisis rocking the PDP must be responsible for his dramatic appearance at the celebration today,” a source who does not want to be mentioned told PM correspondent.