The visit was meant to solicit support for the group, the Team New Nigeria (TNN), but, for the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, it was time for him to get a pat on the back for turning Taraba State to an Eldorado state.
This was coming after over four decades that he had served as both a Military Head of State and civilian President.
A member of the National Assembly (1999-2003), Sen. Abdulaziz Abubarka Ibrahim, who was a member of the group and among the visiting team, said it would be unfair to Obasanjo if he failed to appreciate him publicly for the achievements he recorded while in Office for his home state in Taraba.
Ibrahim made this known when the Team New Nigeria visited the former President at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) Pent House residence in Abeokuta.
A release by Obasanjo Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, stated that the ex-lawmaker, who represented Taraba Central in the Red Chamber, described the former President, as a leader that would be remembered for the positive influence he made on the state.
The North East Zonal Coordinator of TNN listed among the projects executed by Obasanjo from his days as the Head of State and President to include, the Federal Polytechnic and Mambilla Dam.
“Back in history as military Head of State, the toughest and the roughest terrain in Nigeria, you have heard of Mambilla. It was Baba as Military President who gave the contract for the tarring of the road to Mambilla it was only 20km and it took them 10years to bring down the rock to get the road to Mambilla.
“When I became the Senator, there was no single grid of electricity in the whole of Taraba State. The Baba you are seeing here approved the biggest transmission line from Yobe to Jalingo. No electricity, no roads, nothing in Taraba before coming to our rescue as Head of State and President.”
Earlier, the President of the group, Dr Modibbo Yakubun Farakwai disclosed that “the group is made up of distinguished citizens who share the attributes of patriotism and nationalism, who cannot afford to sit back and do nothing about the problems that threaten our collective well-being,” stressing that the mission was to make Nigeria work for Nigerians.
To do this, Farakwai said, “we intend to introduce to the polity such narratives that will eradicate poverty, religious extremism, hate, political strife, disunity, inequity and corruption.”
He added that the group had realized the enormous task ahead, “but your acceptance will not just be a credit to Team New Nigeria – it will provide Nigerians who will monitor the event via live telecast and the social media with another opportunity to listen and see you profess again your commitment to project Nigeria.”
He hinted that “in coming weeks, a national rollout of plans will happening in the TNN, the first of which is the launching and presentation of our book, which is a compendium of thoughts, remarks, impressions and speeches of past and present leaders of Nigeria. This is the first step towards gaining national momentum,” he said.
Also, the National Publicity Secretary, Dr. Mohammad Shaibu Tettes reemphasized that Team New Nigeria “seeks to promote and sustain genuine democratic values, equality, diversity and inclusiveness, peaceful coexistence and sustainable community development by engaging and supporting young people of goodwill –men and women through education, entrepreneurship and self reliance skills, among others.”
Obasanjo in his remarks thanked the team for coming up with the idea of having a New Nigeria group, as he endorsed the group existence and programmes.
The former President noted that there was need for every Nigerian to take the task of building a new country at heart, as there is no doubt that the situation is in a very bad shape.
Among the visiting team were Dr. Adebayo Akin-Omotoye (National Financial Secretary), Mrs. Dorcas James (National Women Leader), Hon. Muhammad Bashar Yakubu (National Youth Leader), Prof. Clement Chidi-Ife Chigbo (National Director, TNN Centre for Democracy and Community Development) and Prof. Olaiya Abiden Olaitan (TNN National Director, Membership Registration).
Others include Hon. Afeez Adeleke (Oyo State Coordinator), Dr Salmon Tunde Alabi (Kwara State Coordinator), Dr Okoosi Femi (Lagos State Acting Coordinator), Mrs. Olubunmi Daniel (Lagos State Women Leader) and Chukwunonso Ezeani (member Media Team).