Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday admitted to not knowing his true age – according to him, his late mother merely told him she gave birth to him on a market day.
Mr. Obasanjo said this on Thursday at the 2017 International Youth Variety Day and Public Presentation of Olusegun Obasanjo’s Books for Children, as part of programmes for his 80th birthday.
The programme, organised by the Centre for Human Security, with the theme “Presidential Libraries Will Reduce Leadership Deficit in Africa”, held at theater hall of the Obasanjo Presidential Library, Abeokuta.
Mr. Obasanjo said while growing up, he had the challenge of knowing his real date of birth, because his parents were illiterates.
“At early stage in my life, I had the challenge of knowing my date of birth, and my peers always asked, while in return I persisted in asking my mother, who was an illiterate and had no records,” he said.
The former president added that when he continued to pressure his mother, the information he was given by his was that she gave birth to him on an Ifo village market day.
“When I continued to put pressure on my mother, she told me that she was preparing to go to market on the said day, and went into labour, and before others could return from the market, she had given birth to me,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
The former leader said he arrived at his current age when he considered the ages of some of his peers at the time.
“I’m not as lucky as some of my peers who know the dates of their birth. What matters to me is that I have chosen a date. If I don’t even know the exact date of my birth, at least I know my age group,” he emphasised.
The former president also spoke about morality in the society, lamenting that the era of genuine morality was fading, but needed to be revived in the interest of all and sundry.
“When we were growing up, if people doubt the source of your wealth, you will be ostracised. If your father goes out every night, the conclusion would be that your father is a thief, and if a family is seen and known to have engaged in crimes, the community will keep its distance from such family. All those values are gone, and how do we bring them back?” he said.