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I’d shared this piece with my father a few weeks ago, informing him of my intention to post it as a Father’s Day tribute, and when he said he was delighted with it, I was over the moon! It is important to appreciate what you’ve got while you have it and to let them know.

Olusegun Obasanjo at 87 is a tireless advocate for the progress and development of Nigeria and Africa. A true global citizen, fondly known as the ‘grandfather of Africa’, he tirelessly traverses the length and breadth of Africa and the world indefatigably promoting justice, fairness, democracy, citizen-centred leadership and good governance. He continues to defy expectations with energy that belies his age and remains a relevant and influential force for good in Nigeria, Africa and the world. His refusal to be censored or silenced has landed him in jail as a political prisoner, escaping assassinations on multiple occasions.

A devoted grandfather, I recall my dad being dog tired, yet forcing himself to stay awake so he could painstakingly mark the ‘homework’ he had set my son. Proving that when he promotes the importance of education, he practices what he preaches and is truly committed to human capital development.

His dedication to lifelong learning is evidenced by obtaining a PhD at 80.  And when I approached him with an idea to extend my studies of International Relations after completion at the London School of Economics and Political Science, he enthusiastically jumped on board as my ‘supervisor’.  He gave generously of his time, experience and insights, leading to the publication of my book -he was less generous with the marks for each report though, in fact he was rather miserly on that score (I have his permission to use that word😊).  The intention was to push me to produce my best work every time.  For that I am enormously grateful!

I have seen posts on various platforms celebrating and denigrating him in equal measure. My father has as many dogged detractors as staunch supporters. Although most objective people acknowledge his contribution to the progress of Nigeria, his unwavering commitment to the development of Africa and world peace.

The word ‘hero’ is overused and misused, but my father epitomises that word to me. His unending quest for a fairer and more just world is my inspiration.

A special happy Father’s Day to the legend I have the privilege of calling my dad, and a happy Father’s Day to all fathers, fathers to be and men who are father figures to others.