Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has officially denounced his Christian name, Matthew, Leadership reports.Obasanjo said he should no more be called by it because he is not a tax collector like his biblical namesake.

Accordingly, he adopted only Olusegun Okikiola Aremu as his names, stressing that names have lots of connotations in African setting.The former president went on to say anybody who does not want to see his (Obasanjo’s) eyes red should stop calling him Matthew.

He stated this in Abuja on Friday, July 14 at an event organised by the Nigerian Society of Engineers (NSE) in commemoration of his 80th birthday. Obasanjo clocked 80 years in March.

His words: “When I was born in my part of Nigeria, the system was that after eight days, you must be given a name and for people to know that you were born into a Christian family, you will be given one Hebrew name.“My mother and father decided to name me Matthew but when I grew up, I started asking myself the meaning of Matthew.

“Not only does it not have meaning as long as I am concerned, the biblical Matthew is a stupid tax collector. Anybody who does not want to see my eyes red should stop calling me Matthew.”

Cyrus Temmy