Muritala Mohammed Was Killed Like A Chicken - Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again insisted that former President Shehu Shagari won the 1979 presidential election.
Obasanjo said as Military Head of State, he handed over power to the person who rightly won at the polls.
The former President has been accused of rigging the election in favour of Shagari over his kinsman, Obafemi Awolowo.
But Obasanjo on Sunday in Lagos insisted that Shagari won the election.
Giving a chronological account of his life at the Diocese of Lagos West, Archbishop Vining Memorial Church Cathedral , Obasanjo also revealed why he, the Late Gen Murtala Mohammed and some other senior military officers overthrew Gen Yakubu Gowon in 1975.
Obasanjo was the guest speaker at an exposition series tagged, “God in my life,” organised by the Torchbearer Society of the church.
Obasanjo said Gowon’s reluctance to hand over power to a civilian government as promised prompted the coup.
Obasanjo said: “After the war, General Gowon said that military will go by 1976 but later said that it will not be realistic again and that was the major reason why he was unseated.
“That later brought about what was termed as Muritala/Obasanjo regime. But we were careless as regard security in which Muritala was killed like chicken and I would have been killed but God’s grace preserved me and I was later persuaded to take over."
Obasanjo admitted that God has been quite partial to him all through.
He said considering his humble background in a remote Ibogun Olaogun community and the illiterate parents that gave birth to him, he never knew his name could even be heard in the next village, let alone the whole of Nigeria, Africa and globally.
"I didn’t plan going to school. I was going with my father to the farm and one day, as we were returning from the farm, he just said, ‘look young man, is it this farming thing I am doing that you will continue to do for the rest of your life?’
"And I replied, ‘yes, baba.’ Then, I had a cousin, who had left the village and went to Abeokuta to become a motor mechanic. So, he asked, ‘you don’t have an alternative?’ I said I had an alternative; that I wanted to be a mechanic. Then he said, ‘you don’t want to go to school?’
"School had not crossed my mind, and I said, ‘baba, if you send me to school I will go.’ So, that was the Grace of God. And he brought me to Abeokuta from the village.
"I went to five different schools, because we came late, and I was not admitted.
“My village, about the end of the year, people go about the villages for harvest. Some people came to our village, including the headmaster of the school in the nearby village. My father entertained them. Afterwards, he asked the headmaster if he had admission for me and he said yes.
"The headmaster said I should come at the end of the month, it was in September, to register.
"So when I got to the school, a teacher in charge of registration asked what my name is. I told him I am Olusegun. He asked Olusegun…what? I told him Olusegun, Matthew Olusegun.
"He then said he was asking about my last name, my father’s name. Then I told him, asking for my father’s name was an insult. I have never mentioned my father’s name before.
“By my own training in the village, to mention your father’s name is an insult and for him to ask for my father’s name is an insult, so I slapped him
"That would have been my first and last day in school, but for the understanding of the head teacher.
"When I was called, the head teacher said I should lie flat on my stomach, while the teacher should give me six strokes of the cane. I might not have continued; I might have ended my school on that first day. So, when I talk of grace of God, these are things you don’t and cannot say I planned.
He spoke about how he escaped death while in prison during the regime of Late General Sani Abacha and eventually became an elected President.
Listen to Obasanjo giving glory to God for His mercies upon his life.