Prof. Itse Sagay (SAN), Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee Against Corruption (PACAC), has recommended that the Federal Government should take over the management of Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) located in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, in order to sustain it and preserve it as a national monument.
However, speaking on the issue, Prince Tony Momoh, a former Minister of Information, argued that the Federal Government has no business with the library as it was a private project owned by Obasanjo, though he requested and got donations for it while in office as president.
Momoh, one of the national leaders of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC), also cautioned the government against carrying vendetta too far.
Rather than take over Obasanjo’s library, Momoh advised the Federal Government to focus its attention on thousands of public libraries littered across the country that are in dilapidated state.
“The library is Obasanjo’s personal property and he asked people to donate and they donated. He then built the library which is highly patronised today, people hold meetings there and so on. How can anybody deny what the library was meant to be? Was it meant to be public or private? If it was public, which government set it up?
“Let us not carry our preoccupation with vendetta too far. That is a library pioneered by Obasanjo which is for public use. The motive for setting up the library is what we should be looking at. I am sure it is not a Federal Government property and it is not an Ogun State or any state’s property.
“I think it is a private and personal property that he used his position as president to influence the donations to that library. But that is a moral issue. I remember that even Fayose said he was forced to donate N10 million and he asked Obasanjo to refund it to Ekiti State.
“You will discover that after he left office, the donations fell. A lot of the large donors did not even show off after he left office. If he had waited till after his tenure as president to collect that money, maybe he couldn’t have collected 10 percent of it.
“So, he acted smart by asking for donations while he was still in office as president and got them. So, I don’t think anybody should be talking about anybody running Obasanjo’s library. There are lots of public libraries established. Go there today, many of the roofs are leaking. Government should go and focus on that”, he said.