Former President Olusegun Obasanjo said on Wednesday that Kaduna remained a melting pot of all the ethnic groups in Nigeria.
Obasanjo, who was in the state on a private visit to Governor Nasir el-Rufai, also hailed the pan-Nigerian character of the governor’s cabinet.
The former President described himself as a son-of-the-soil having lived in Kaduna from 1959 to 1967 and built his first house at the Makera area of the town.
Obasanjo was quoted by Ibrahim Musa, the Special Assistant, Media and Publicity to el-Rufai, to have said that he was at the Mogadishu Battalion in Kaduna between 1959 and 1967, adding that his visit to Kaduna was like a home-coming.
The former President said that the battalion was “the first to be Nigerianised” and it had soldiers from all over the country.
He expressed delight that El-Rufai had recreated the Kaduna of old because his state executive council reflected a mini Nigeria.
He said having worked with el-Rufai as FCT Minister, the governor remained one of the best persons to work with, describing him as a “near genius.”
The former President went down memory lane by recalling El-Rufai’s spat with the Senate, maintaining that the former FCT minister was asked to apologise but “he refused to write a letter of apology to the Senate.”
Obasanjo said, “We need a character like this, a man that you know where you stand with him. Any job given to him will be well done.”
“I made women to matter in my government. He has done the same in Kaduna. He is a very good learner.”Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
The governor said Obasanjo remained a mentor, noting that he learnt many public service skills from the former President when he served in his government as minister.
El-Rufai then thanked the former President for finding time to come to Kaduna to see things for himself.