Kofo Obasanjo-Blackshire is a keen marathoner and in her spare time, she can be found pounding the pavement in pursuit of her favourite hobby. She has completed 12 marathons and is always in training for the next one. Beyond this, however, is the woman who believes in hard work, discipline and a life devoted to God.
Obasanjo-Blackshire Christian life, no doubt, finds a bearing in the engaging book titled, Pillars of Statecraft: Nation-Building In A Changing World. What exactly do you expect from the wife of a pastor and daughter of a statesman theologian?
She insists the power of God in delivering countries from the shackles of corruption and poverty is paramount in Africa.
The book is premised on six pillars— Politics, Prosperity, Protection, Partnership, Population and the double-barreled Prayer and pleasing God — these constitute the fundamental building blocks for excellence in statecraft.
She deploys her over the years knowledge of politics, governance and leadership, as well as opportunity provided by her father to highlight the essentials of development.
In Pillars of Statecraft, Obasanjo-Blackshire presents vital arguments that emphasise their importance as fundamental building blocks for excellence and national development.
The book is an engaging, accessible and compelling treatise on what comprises a successful nation-state, providing many interesting insights into the causes of threats and problems to human security and well-being and possible resolutions to create a fairer and safer world for all.
The sincerity and compassion of the author shine through what is at times a challenging read, given the turbulence of contemporary global politics.
And as Professor Nimi Briggs, Chairman, Committee of Pro-Chancellors of Nigerian Federal Universities, attests: “This book is a treasure. I could not but conclude that the author was divinely inspired to bring to the surface the ills plaguing Africa and the balm… that can soothe, indeed, move towards a cure for the illness. Since this treasure should not be hidden, we should do it justice by it being read by all generations, young and old, and more importantly operationalise its recommendations at the community, national and continental levels.”
An opinion also shared by Kgalema Motlanthe, former President, South Africa. “This book, with a level of intellectual engagement that is only achieved with due diligence and depth of inquiry, points us in all the right directions.”
For Obasanjo-Blackshire, the power of prayer and pleasing God in nation-building are indispensable. Quoting Psalm 127: 1, she says, “unless the Lord builds the house, those who build it labour in vain.”
To her, God and faith have great relevance in nation-building. “Our capacity for national thought and oral choice distinguishes human from other animals,” she notes.
Describing prayer as conversation with the Almighty, which also includes speaking and listening, she notes that communication with God must be consistent you’re your desire.
She says within your sphere of influence, however, big or small, aspire to be an agent of change and a force for good. All that is required is diligence.
She observes prayer changes people and connects them “ to the most powerful force in the universe. When our God-given desires, emotions and feelings collide with that awesome power, something incredible happens: an inward transformation, a change of perspective, which alters our attitude, even without a perceptible change in the situation.”
Quoting her father, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, she recalls, “my father recalled his prison experience where he met a notorious robber named Baba Ali. After multiple interactions, my father led Baba Ali to a change of mind and faith, promising to send him to the seminary once they were both free from the prison.”
Prior to writing this book, Kofo had earned a PhD in Biochemistry and Molecular Biology from King’s College London in 2004 and obtained a graduate diploma in International Relations from the London School of Economics and Political Science in 2020. She has spent nearly two decades in a range of senior management roles at an international company.
Born and bred in Lagos, Nigeria, Kofo lives in the United Kingdom with her husband and their two sons.