Friday, December 1, 2023


‘The Letterman’: Musikilu Mojeed demonstrated Obasanjo’s prodigious intellect, says Fayemi

‘The Letterman’: Musikilu Mojeed demonstrated Obasanjo’s prodigious intellect, says Fayemi
December 01
22:31 2022

Kayode Fayemi, former governor of Ekiti, has praised Musikilu Mojeed, Premium Times editor-in-chief, for capturing the “prodigious intellect” of former President Olusegun Obasanjo in ‘The Letterman’.

Fayemi, who is also the head of governors forum in Africa, said this on Thursday in his remarks at the launch of the ‘The Letterman’.

The book, authored by Mojeed, focuses on letters written by Obasanjo.

Speaking on the book, Fayemi said it has also demonstrated Obasanjo’s skill in relation to attention to detail, adding that Mojeed has done the world a “favour” with ‘The Letterman’.


“Musikilu Mojeed has done us a huge favour by putting these letters together in a single volume with excellent annotations. To many of us, some of these letters are not new,” he said.

“They were indeed the subject of dinner table discourses in many homes when they were officially released or stealthily leaked.

“At the time, reactions ranged from those who saw them as Baba’s supposed penchant for self glorification to those who regarded them as his obsessive predilection for painting his successors black to very rare commendation for speaking truth to power and approximating the feelings of the people in periods of stress and angst as the voice of the voiceless.


“Read together with other letters seen for the first time in this volume, one is bound to have a renewed sense of respect and admiration for our former president, chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

“For me, if one is in any doubt, these letters written over a period of sixty years demonstrate a high level of remarkable consistency of thought and action. Even when you disagree with the logic of his argument in his letters, you cannot doubt the courage of his conviction.

“Musikilu was also able to demonstrate indubitably through this published volume, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo’s prodigious intellect, his attention to detail and tireless capacity for record keeping, his native intelligence, his transparency and accountability, his generosity of spirit which runs contrary to the widespread impression of Obasanjo as a stingy man who won’t give shishi, his religious piety, his ability to show appreciation as a person who never forgets a favour nor forgive a slight, his unquestioning patriotism and loyalty to Nigeria and his irrepressible Pan-Africanist inclinations.

“One is also astounded often by the speed with which he churns out these letters. But then maybe one should not be surprised. Afterall, I once travelled from Addis Ababa to Lagos on an Ethiopian Airline flight, sitting next to him. Baba wrote all through the four and a half hour flight non stop. And he went on to deliver the paper he wrote in Lagos same evening.”


In his comment on the style of presentation, Fayemi expressed satisfaction with the creativity captured in the book.

“What Musikilu also achieved with this publication without necessarily meaning to do so is the manner he surreptitiously exposed Baba’s softer side through insightful revelations in some of the letters, especially how his prison years brought him closer to God to the point of rescuing many offenders who would have been worse off in prison, or expressing heartfelt condolences to the widow of the man who threw him in jail, Hajia Maryam Abacha, at a time that the late stormy petrel, Gani Fawehinmi, roared on the BBC that the hottest part of hell should be reserved for the late maximum ruler,” he said.

“As our country proceeds in search of a new leader, there’s a lot of leadership lessons to glean from Baba Obasanjo’s remarkable life – from his success and also from his foibles.”

He urged politicians to take advantage of the book and learn the leadership method of Obasanjo ahead of the 2023 general election.


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