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How Obasanjo Presidential Library came to be

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By Nyaknnoabasi Osso

I’m deeply grateful to our former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo for involving me in the establishment of the first and only Presidential Library in Africa.

The story started as a conversation in 1988 when I submitted my proposal to him.

He appreciated the idea, but nothing happened until he was released from prison in 1998, after spending three years, three months and three days (333) in prison for an imaginary ‘coup’ he knew nothing about.

And so it was in 1998 that he invited me to fully discuss the proposal and a decision was taken to build the library at his Ota farm.

However, I was able to persuade him to take the library to Abeokuta, his birthplace.

Fast forward; I was appointed the Project Co-Ordinator from Day One.

It was the then Governor Segun Osoba that allocated the land for the Presidential Library and we paid for it.

President Obasanjo was in love with this project and took me around the world to gather relevant materials for his library.

One day, he introduced me to President Bill Clinton and said “Mr Osso is one of best librarians/archivists in Nigeria and the Project Co-Ordinator of my library.

Thereafter, President Clinton introduced me to the team that designed and constructed his library at Little Rock, Arkansas, United States.

It’s a very long story… to be continued…!

The Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library is not only academic, but a well-organised cultural and tourist centre; first in Africa and one of the best in the world.

It’s a city within a city, a beautiful place to spend your weekend. A pleasant gift to Africa.

Osso is the Founder/Editor-in-Chief of the Biographical Legacy and Research Foundation. As Chief Librarian and later Chief of Research of Newswatch magazine, he established the award-winning Who’s Who in Nigeria. Between 1999 and 2007, he served as Special Assistant on Library, Research and Documentation to the then President Olusegun Obasanjo.

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