Former president, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abeokuta rejected a request to lay a wreath at the 2013 Armed Forces Remembrance Day Celebration in the State capital.

 The reason for the rejection, according to findings by The Nigerian Indicator was due to the fact that the former president was not originally listed as one of the people to perform the wreath-laying for the fallen heroes.

Obasanjo, who made a sudden appearance at the Arcade Ground, Governor’s Office, venue of the grand finale of the celebration, turned down the request to lay the wreath as done by the state governor, Senator Ibikunle Amosun and others: Awujale of Ijebuland, Oba (Dr) Kayode Adetona; the Alake of Egbaland, Oba (Dr) Adedotun Gbadebo; the Olu and paramount ruler of Yewaland, Oba Kehinde Olugbenle and the Akarigbo of Remoland, Oba (Dr) Adeniyi Sonariwo.

Obasanjo was persuaded to lay the wreath by Governor Amosun and other dignitaries at the event such as the state deputy governor, Prince Segun Adesegun; the Iyalode of Egbaland, Chief (Mrs) Alaba Lawson but he refused.

Others that laid wreaths at the ceremony included the Brigade Commander, 35 Artillery Brigade, Alamala, Abeokuta, Colonel E.E. John; Commandant, Nigerian Navy Secondary School, Abeokuta, M.A. Adetunji; Commissioner of Police, Ikemefuna Okoye and the chairman, Nigerian Legion, Chief Samuel Olaosebikan. 

Though he refused to lay wreath, the former president however accepted to speak at the event. According to him there was no way lives would not be lost during wars, saying there was need for Nigerians to learn from history. He appealed to government at various levels to take adequate care of persons who have laid down their lives to ensure the existence of Nigeria.

The former president said, “Fortunately, war is not a picnic. Unfortunately, when you engage in wars, lives are bound to be lost. That is why, as much as possible, wars should be avoided". “For us in Nigeria, even when we were fighting along with the colonial power, we lost Nigerians in Burma, in East Africa. But since the days of the constabulary, because that is where the Nigerian Army started from, Nigerian security forces have been losing lives either in support of civil authorities or in fighting local wars". “The aim of this is to constantly remember the sacrifice that they have made, constantly remind our ourselves that they left families behind who need to be cared and catered for and constantly to remind us that whatever that might have caused internally, what led to the loss of lives of members of our armed forces will no longer recur.”

Culled from: The Nigerian Indicator

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