Olusegun Obasanjo, former President, has disclosed that he refused to use government funds to finance the completion of the Ecumenical Centre, now known as National Christian Centre, located in Abuja.
Obasanjo, who spoke at a book launch to mark the 85th birthday of Sunday Mbang, prelate of the Methodist Church, Nigeria, in Lagos, on Friday, noted that instead he became a fundraiser for the completion of the building.
He explained that if he had used government funds to complete the centre, he would have had to do the same for other religions.
“He (prelate) asked me in his capacity as the head of the Christian Association in Nigeria that I should bring money to complete the Ecumenical Centre as they called it then, now it is known as National Christian Centre,” he said.
“I said, ‘No, I don’t have; I won’t put government money into that type of thing because if I do it for Christians, I have to do it for Muslims, I have to do it for Babalawo (traditionalist), I have to do it for Sango worshippers. No.
“He insisted. Again, persistence. I had no choice to agree to now become a fundraiser for the completion of the National Christian Centre and I did.
“I got people together –the rich, the not-so rich, the poor, the not-so poor and we raised money to complete the National Christian Centre. I don’t believe he has been given credit for that work because if he had not gone the way he did, may be that centre will still remain uncompleted till today.”
The ex-president said he and Mbang worked together during his tenure as president “out of necessity”.