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Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, has denounced his Christian name, Matthew, saying he should no more be called by it, because he is not a tax collector like his biblical namesake.
He said he has adopted only Olusegun Okikiola Aremu, as his names, even as he noted that names have lots of connotations in African setting.
He said while his decision was borne out of the fact that Matthew in the Bible was known as a stupid tax collector.
He stated this in Abuja, at an event organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers, NSE, in commemoration of his 80th birthday celebration in Abuja.
“When I was born in my part of Nigeria, the system was that after eight days, you must be given a name and for people to know that you were born into a Christian family, you will be given one Hebrew name.
“My mother and father decided to name me Matthew but when I grew up, I started asking myself the meaning of Matthew. Not only does it not have meaning as long as I am concerned, the biblical Matthew is a stupid tax collector. Anybody who does not want to see my eyes red should stop calling me Matthew.”
While highlighting the differences among Engineers, Doctors, and Lawyers, he noted that they were three famous professionals in the country at a time, though Post masters, Police, Teachers, and Station masters existed.
“If a Doctor makes mistake in a patient, it is only one patient that will die; if a Lawyer makes mistake on his client, the client will go to prison, but if an Engineer makes mistake, it is a disaster and tragedy. If an Engineer builds a house or bridge and it collapses, many people will die and not one person will go to prison”, the former Nigerian leader explained.
Obasanjo thanked the NSE President, Engr Oliver Tagbo Anyaeji, and other members of the engineering bodies for the honour bestowed on him, even as he described the Chairman, Senate Committee on Housing, Senator Barnabas Gemade, and former Governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as (political) victims.

The former President however, gave reasons why he sacked 93 officers of the Armed Forces from the Military, upon his assumption of office as the elected President of Nigeria.
He said: “The 93 Officers were used to chummy chummy life in the government house, and If I had left them in the Military, they would have created more problems for us and our democratic dispensation would not have lasted as it has lasted till now.”
He maintained that Oyinlola was one of the 93 Officers, adding that: “If he was not out by that time, he may not have had the privilege of becoming a State Governor”.
Obasanjo stated that Gemade was not competent to handle the chairmanship of the party, which was why he was kicked out.
His words: “If Senator Gemade had not been kicked out as chairman, he would never have become a Senator, but I’m happy that Gemade said that in all these, I was looking for perfection and what is best for Nigeria, because till tomorrow, Gemade is still a friend and will remain a friend.
“When it comes to Nigeria even with the death of my friends, Nigeria will continue working and for that, I have no apology and will never have apologies. If he (Gemade) is not good enough, he is not good enough and you will continue to look until you get what is good enough because in this country, we are not short of men and women. If he’s not good enough in one area, he may be good enough in another area”.
Obasanjo emphasised that if Gemade was not good enough as Chairman of a party, he may be good enough as a Senator.
“The place you are as a Senator may also be a learning process and who knows you may have learnt so much that you would have improved as a Senator”, he added, just as he further tasked Gemade to contribute to legislations that have engineering bearing in the National Assembly, since he is an Engineer.

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