BusinessDay

Obasanjo recalls Tutu’s help in Nigeria’s $18bn debt relief by Paris Club

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has joined other World leaders to mourn the passage of Desmond Tutu, Archbishop Emeritus and South African most revered Priest, saying Tutu’s demise is a personal loss.

In a Condolence Letter dated December 26th, 2021, which was personally signed and addressed to His Excellency, Cyril Ramaphosa, President of the Republic of South Africa, Obasanjo extolled the virtues of Desmond Tutu as being patriotic, highly respected teacher, preacher, intercessor and field commander of the Lord’s Army.

The former Nigeria’s President, who noted that Tutu was an activist and Intercessor personified, narrated how the departed humanist intervened and prevailed on the Paris Club through the United Kingdom (UK) to ensure that external debt relief was secured and guaranteed for Nigeria during his tenure between 2005 and 2006.

Recall that Paris Club during Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidency, in October 2005, Nigeria and the Paris Club announced a final agreement for debt relief worth $18 billion and an overall reduction of Nigeria’s debt stock by $30 billion.

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The deal that was completed on April 21, 2006, when Nigeria made its final payment and its books were cleared of any Paris Club debt, was said to be a landmark achievement of Olusegun Obasanjo’s Presidency.

Speaking on the debt relief, Obasanjo said, “Again, I must acknowledge his uncommon solidarity and the deep passion with which he had argued Nigeria’s case for full debt cancellation by the contents of his letter to Mr. Gordon Brown, the then United Kingdom’s Chancellor of the Exchequer, during my administration as the President of Nigeria.

“This heroic advocacy effort of his with respect to Nigeria’s indebtedness to the Paris Club on behalf of Nigeria was very much in his character.

“Though we are saddened by the inevitable finality of his passage, as we will miss his fiery sermons, writings and fatherly counsel, we should be comforted by the fact that he left a good legacy behind and his memory will linger on for very long time in the minds of his admirers, friends, protégés, immediate community, congregants and, indeed, Christendom.

“He will also be remembered for his forthrightness, doggedness, dynamism, welfarism, anti-corruption, estachological discourses, courage, commitment to ethical values, uprightness, unwavering Christian testimony, and purposeful leadership. He died with his head lifted high; his ministry untainted, and his integrity uncompromised.”

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