Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, who celebrated his 77th birthday on Wednesday, said that he had no real record of his birthday, hlping to call attention to public records keeping in Nigeria.
The former president, who spoke in Abeokuta birthday ceremony, said: “There are some people including me who do not know their exact birthday.
“My mother only told me that I was born on Ifo market day.
“According to her, in our village, she had prepared to go to Ifo market and Ifo market is every five days.
“She said as she was preparing, she fell into labour and before those who went to Ifo market returned, I was born.
“Don’t ask me what month or what year.
“Whether I know the exact date or not, I think God has made my path to be glorious,” he said.
Nigeria has poor infrastructure to keep both birth and death records with many government agencies saddled with the task forced to store data manually.
It is normal for those born in the before independence to determine their birth dates by landmark events.
Obasanjo expressed gratitude to President Goodluck Jonathan for sending a congratulatory message to him on the occasion of his ‘official birthday,’ adding that as a human being, he had shortcomings and had failed God on several occasions.
The former president, however, said that he was grateful that God never counted his faults against him, saying: “I have disappointed God several times but God had never taken my faults against me.
“If he had counted my faults against me, I will have been consumed.
“So what has been sustaining me is the grace, mercy and kindness of God,” he said.
The former president also said he was full of gratitude to those who had contributed ‘positively and negatively’ to his life, especially his parents, his community and those who had worked closely with him in the course of his life.
Some of the dignitaries who attended the ceremony extolled the virtues of the elder statesman, describing him as a detribalised and humane advocate of Nigeria’s unity.