Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday revealed that his household gave him a wide berth after he tested positive for COVID-19.
Obasanjo disclosed this when he marked his 84th birthday with a colloquium at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
He said he tested positive for the virus but was relieved 72 hours later when subsequent tests came out negative.
He said he was concerned about the result of the test and had to put a call through to his daughter, Dr. Iyabo Obasanjo-Bello, that he was asymptomatic but had COVID-19 test from sample extracted from him reading positive.
He said his daughter concluded that the result might have been faulty and required further tests.
The former president said subsequent tests 72 hours later gave him a clean bill of health.
“It will surprise you that I was tested positive for COVID-19. I called them to come and test me, they came on a Saturday, I didn’t get the result until Wednesday and it came out positive but I didn’t see any symptoms.
“They came three days after they tested me and said I am negative – that is three days after I tested positive.
“My daughter, Iyabo, is an epidemiologist and I called her. She said maybe they tested me at the later stage of my being positive.
“I told her I had no symptoms and she said it could be a faulty result. But I was tested positive. Since then, I have been tested negative three times.
He also revealed that his family members kept a safe distance when he announced that he was COVID-19 positive.
“It is nothing to worry about. When I tested positive, my household was running from me. I told them to stay in their places while I stayed in mine,” he said.
The former president also revealed that when he tested positive for the virus, he took local herbs on the advice of an unnamed professor of medicine.
“I used herbs because a professor of medicine was the one who told me that herbs should not be ignored. He said 80 per cent of drugs had their origin in local herbs.
“The herbs will boost your immunity. A professor told me that every living thing has an inbuilt process of healing. While doctors care, God does the healing,” he added.
Obasanjo called for collective efforts to tackle the pandemic while urging people to adhere to the COVID-19 protocols like hand-washing, wearing of face masks as well as use of hand sanitisers.
Besides, he called on African leaders to pool their resources together to buy vaccines.
“If we don’t have the facilities to produce vaccines, we can have the sense of coming together and collectively purchasing vaccines,” he added.
On why the pandemic has not wreaked havoc in Africa like it has done in America, Europe and Asia, Obasanjo said many had attributed Africa’s luck to genetics, heat and peculiar food in the environment, but stressed that “for whatever might be the plausible explanation, God’s finger cannot be ruled out.”
The colloquium, which took place simultaneously online and offline, was themed, ‘Reflection on governance and changes for post-pandemic leadership in Africa.’
The event attracted hundreds of guests who participated virtually from Nigeria, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Ghana, and Singapore.
Meanwhile, former President Goodluck Jonathan felicitated with Obasanjo describing him as a “sincere patriot” and thanked God for his life and all the great things he has achieved.
“As you mark this occasion of your 84th birthday, I join your family, friends and well-wishers to thank Almighty God for a fulfilling and highly eventful life.
“You are a sincere patriot who has sacrificed so much for the growth and development of our dear country. Your leadership both as a military Head of State and President at different periods produced landmark achievements in uniting and deepening the bond that holds together our diverse country,” said Jonathan in a signed goodwill message.
Similarly, the governor of Abia State, Mr. Okezie Ikpeazu in his birthday greetings described Obasanjo as “Nigeria’s most authentic living statesman.”
He added that the former president’s “life odyssey has become an invaluable source of history.”
Ikpeazu further said Obasanjo has lived for Nigeria and given the best of his years to the “sustenance of the unity and democratic development of our country with the very exceptional privilege of serving as both a military and democratically elected leader.”
In its congratulatory message, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) said the former president is a patriotic leader, global figure and exceptionally energetic administrator, who has made immeasurable contributions, both as a military leader and as democratically elected President, for the survival, unity, stability and development of the nation.