Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, Saturday, described the first Federal Minister of Social Services and Natural Resources, Adegoke Adelabu, popularly called ‘Adelabu Penkelemesi’ as his political role model.
Obasanjo said he shared the political philosophy of the late politician which, according to him, was devoid of ethnic and tribal considerations but focused on a united Nigeria.
The ex-president, while receiving the family of the late Ibadan-born politician during a courtesy visit at Obasanjo’s Abeokuta Hilltop Mansion, said Nigerians were still struggling to reach the pinnacle Adelabu attained in politics.
Obasanjo, who accepted the offer to be the patron of the posthumous centenary birthday celebration of the late politician, described the late Adelabu as a detribalised Nigerian.
Led by an Ibadan High Chief and a former broadcaster, Aare Tunde Alabi, the family members said they were in Obasanjo’s house to help in giving a befitting ceremony to the first African Manager of UAC Haberdashery, Lagos.
According to Obasanjo, Adelabu was years ahead of his political contemporaries, adding that he advocated for United State of West Africa before his demise.
Obasanjo said, “Adelabu was not just a historic figure, he was a reality, he was a phenomenon, he was uniquely Yoruba, uniquely Nigerian, uniquely African and uniquely a member of the human race.
“What you are proposing to do, I believe Adelabu deserved it in every facet. Today, we are still struggling to reach the pinnacle or the pedestal Adelabu reached in politics, of not being swayed by linguistic, ethnic, tribal, regional, sectional consideration but by what is best for Nigeria.
“He was years ahead of his contemporary politicians. In his life time, he was talking of United States of West Africa; ECOWAS came up years after his demise. In his life time, he belonged to a political party that had its base outside the western region where he came from. He was not a tribal baron, he was a national politician. So, when you asked me to be the patron of Adelabu posthumous centenary birthday celebration, I have no reason to say no.
“I have no reason to say ‘no’ because I share what Adelabu stood for, I share Adelabu’s philosophy of a united Nigeria and believe, I share Adelabu’s view of politics beyond ethnicity, beyond tribe, beyond region and I believe that in our national life, we should extol the virtues like the one we saw in Adelabu – a man of the people, down to hearth, absolutely down to hearth and yet, a man who believed that his politics must be above ethnicity, must be above tribe, must be to unite the country while, of course, uplifting his own people.
Earlier, Aare Alabi, who gave a brief bio data of the leader of opposition in Western House of Assembly between 1956 and 1958, urged former President Obasanjo to ‘carry Adelabu to the world’.
Adelabu, the first Chairman of Ibadan District Council in 1954, died in a road accident on March 25, 1958 in Ode Remo in present day Ogun State at the age of 43.
He was the leader of the National Council of Nigerian Citizens, NCNC, Western Delegation to 1957 London constitutional conference and the first National Vice President of the party.

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