Olusegun Obasanjo on Official Visit to Somaliland

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The President of the Republic of Somaliland, Musa Bihi Abdi, received at his office, Hargeisa, the Chairman of the Brenthurst Foundation, a two-time former President of federal Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo.

Mr.Obasanjo arrived, Sunday, on an official visit to the thriving Horn of Africa democracy, to, as he said, gather a first-hand impression of events and development programs on the ground.

Obasanjo was received at the airport by His Excellency the Vice President, Abdirahman Abdullahi Islam ‘Zeili’i’, a covey of ministers and the leader of the UCID opposition party, Faisal Ali Hussein ‘Waraabe’, the Mayor of the capital and many other dignitaries.

Before arriving for a luncheon His Excellency the President threw in his honor, Mr.Obasanjo visited the Parliament and the Supreme Court where he closely listened to the on-site reports the House Speaker and the Chief Justice, respectively, gave him on their areas of expertise as well as on how the roles their responsibilities played on national image development, stability, and the democratization process.

“On both my official and private life, I have been a very close and keen watcher of events in Somaliland,” Mr. Obasanjo, speaking at the reception, revealed, adding that he had visited Somaliland in not less than six times during those years.

He said, for him, and Greg Mills, the CEO of the foundation, this was an opportunity to learn first-hand, on the ground, ‘the aspirations, the fears, the prospects and the achievements here in Somaliland’.

Explaining his view why Africa was turning a deaf ear on Somaliland restoration of independence and its vision as a sovereign country – again, he said, there were many examples within the African continent where many countries had issues with internal movements for separation, and that Africa was afraid of encouraging the trend if it seriously considered the Somaliland case.

“You have to package and market your case in such a way it was acceptable to the rest of Africa,” he said.

Mr. Obasanjo made it clear that even as a vast friend of Somaliland he could only take the case of Somaliland at a certain level which he cannot go beyond. ‘The rest is up to you. Package and market it,” he said.

Mr. Obasanjo urged that Somaliland must continue on the path of dialogue and negotiations but should stop short of sacrificing what it cherished most.

He said he was impressed with the presentations the Somaliland speakers at the banquet, namely, Dr. Saad Ali Shire, Finance Minister, and opposition leader, Faisal Ali Waraabe, made which both concluded that they were open to dialogue but not on the expense of what the country has achieved or what it cherished most.

Olusegun Obasanjo was a career soldier before serving twice as his nation’s head of state: He served as a military ruler from 13 February 1976 to 1 October 1979, and as a democratically elected president from 29 May 1999 to 29 May 2007. From July 2004 to January 2006, Obasanjo also served as Chairperson of the African Union.

The Brenthurst Foundation is a Johannesburg-based think-tank established by the Oppenheimer family in 2004 to support the Brenthurst Initiative in seeking ways to fund African development[1] and to organize conferences on African competitiveness.

The Foundation has, in recent years, taken a keen interest on Somaliland which, although not so loudly publicized, Somaliland was most grateful for.

Mr. Obasanjo and Brenthurst wrote themselves on the front page of Somaliland events and road-map to a dream through this and other visible contributions to the morale of its 28-year-old case.

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