Former Nigerian President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo says the late former president of Ghana, Jerry John Rawlings will be missed for his exemplary leadership across Africa and his contribution to nation-building in the Republic of Ghana.
He said this in his letter of condolence to President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Ado of Ghana, a copy of which was made available to journalists, in which he condoled with the Rawlings family and the people of Ghana.
In the letter made available to journalists by Obasanjo through his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi on Thursday, he further described Rawlings as a leader that “was passionate about peace, security and leadership issues in Africa.”
Rawlings who first served as the Military Head of State of the country from 1981 to 1992 and later as a democratically-elected President from 1992-2000, reportedly died on Thursday at the Cardiothoracic Centre of the Korle Bu Teaching Hospital, Accra, Ghana from COVID-19 complications.
The letter of condolence read partly “President Rawlings will be missed for his exemplary leadership across Africa but particularly for his contribution to nation-building in the Republic of Ghana where he served, first as the Military Head of State of the country from 1981 to 1992 and later as a democratically-elected President from 1992-2000.
“Like many of his contemporaries too, former President Rawlings provided the much-needed leadership and direction which impacted positively on the social stability and democratic progress recorded thus far in Ghana.
“A quintessential patriot and courageous leader, he will be remembered for his critical role in the evolvement of modern democratic Ghana.
“As you know, I worked very closely with our departed brother within the remaining two years of his completing his second term in office, i.e.1999-2000 and during which time I had become a democratically-elected President of Nigeria.
“I found in him a reliable friend, ally and confidant. We worked together under the auspices of AU with constructive contributions at the various fora in our joint efforts at charting a new future for Africa, particularly in tackling the scourge of malaria in our continent, using the platform of the African Summit on Roll Back Malaria where his participation was quite active and the quality of his contributions enriched our deliberations and pointed the way forward in dealing with the disease.
“He was passionate about peace, security and leadership issues in Africa.
“It must also be on record that President Rawlings played a key role in furthering the actualisation of the objectives of the Africa Leadership Forum, a non-governmental organisation which I founded in 1988 to develop leadership capacities in Africa in order to increase productivity of major actors in government, parliament, business and civil society.”
Obasanjo noted that the late Ghanaian President “supported and accommodated the organisation and its staff during the period of the relocation of the organisation’s base to Ghana because Abacha wanted to have them destroyed just immediately after he got me arrested and imprisoned on a trumped-up charge of coup plotting in 1995. ”