Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said he was persuaded to take over the reins of power after the 1976 coup which claimed the life of the then head of state, Murtala Muhammed.
Speaking when he hosted the star-studded cast and crew of the yet to be released film, titled “1976” at the Presidential Library in Abeokuta on Monday, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, disclosed that he was‘persuaded’ to take over the reins of power after the 1976 coup which claimed the life of the then head of state, Murtala Muhammed who was killed on February 13,1976 in a coup spearheaded by Bukarsuka Dimka, a colonel in the Nigerian Army.
The former president who was the second-in-command at the time and escaped being killed by the coup plotters, said Nigerians had thought that the coup would bring the country to an end, adding that there were misconceptions about the coup, which upturned the political situation at the that time.
According to Premium Times, he also said the misconception stemmed from the fact that most of those involved in the coup were Christians and killing the head of state, who was a Muslim, was seen as a bad signal for a nation.
“The killing of a Muslim on a Friday by a gang thought to be Christians, particularly, when we remembered the first coup, which upturned the political situation, gave a bad signal.
“Where will it amount to; where will it lead us to and where will it lead us out? These were what Nigerians had in mind,” Obasanjo recalled.
Speaking further on his experience with the slain Muhammed, Obasanjo said, “We worked like jackass for the peace of the country and I was persuaded to take over the headship of the country”.
On the star-studded film, “1976”, which was partly shown during the interaction, Obasanjo described the film, as“a mixture of sweet and sorrow”.
“It will make us to remind ourselves not to go back to the dark days, which put us in ‘go-no-go’ situation. We can have more of this, as there are more national issues that can be portrayed. We are capable of the best and that is what this film has shown.”
The film’s Executive Producer, Tonye Princewill, remarked that the cast and crew of “1976” was on tour of the country to seek support and endorsement for the film, billed to premier in November.
“The youth of today need to have a sense of the past, hence the resolve to have the film 1976, which is simply called ’76,” he explained.