Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed that he derived pleasure from listening to his critics or perceived political opponents when he was sitting president.
Obasanjo made this revelation while delivering a keynote address at the first international conference of the African Studies Association of Africa, ASAA, entitled, “African Studies in the Twenty-First Century, Past, Present and Future” which held at the International Conference Centre of the University of Ibadan.
He said “If you visit the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, you will find thousands of archived newspaper comics and columns meant to spite and insult my person even as a sitting President.
“No individual or group of people was ever queried or jailed or repressed for expressing this freedom. Rather, I encouraged them because I derived fun and pleasure from the humour as I know who I am and nobody needs to tell me who and what I am not “.
He emphasised that the inhumanity Africans experienced as slaves has contributed to the backwardness of the nation.
“The stain and stench of slave trade, the cold war, poor governance made some Africans to laud the good old days of colonialism, corruption and problem of human rights violations.
“In all these, I am delighted that the so-called great European historians who professed that Africa has no history lived to realise that African history and culture had impacts and ramifications on other parts of the world including theirs, he said.
He also added that Africans can now boast of free speech.
He said “The right to free speech, the right to express a different view point, the right to draw personal conclusions based on self-instituted research and to query certain cultural practices and beliefs are part of the huge liberty that the continent of Africa now boasts of.”
Notable people at the occasion included Professor Toyin Falola, a keynote speaker, the Vice Chancellor of the University of Ibadan, Professor Isaac Adewole was represented by the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Administration) , Professor EmilOlorun Aiyelari, the Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic) Professor Mrs Gbemisola Oke, the Director of the African Studies of the University of Ibadan, Professor Dele Layiwola, Professor Femi Osofisan, Dr. Sola Olorunfemi, Dr. Olaoluwa Shenayon and many others.