The push by the opposition, All Progressives Congress, APC to dislodge the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP received a boost yesterday as former President Olusegun Obasanjo openly threw his weight behind the APC’s current initiatives.
The APC leadership, comprising some national leaders and governors visited him Obasanjo in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital on Saturday to solicit the former president’s support for the party in the forthcoming elections.
The party leaders, which started converging on Obasanjo’s Hilltop Mansion around 5:22pm, included former governor of Lagos State, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, the party’s Interim National Chairman, Bisi Akande; former Head of State, General Muhammadu Buhari; former speaker of the House of Representatives, Aminu Masari; former Borno State governor, Senator Ali Modu-Sheriff; Senator Osita Isunazor; Senator Bukola Saraki and Lai Mohammed.
Governor Murtala Nyako of Adamawa State came to the former president’s house in company with the former Chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commissioin, Mallam Nuhu Ribadu; the former minister of aviation, Femi Fani-Kayode and others in a convoy of three black jeeps.
Other APC governors at the meeting included Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Abdulfattah Ahmed (Kwara), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano) and Senator Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo).
The Chairman of the New PDP, Kawu Baraje led some of his members and the former Kaduna State Chairman, Yero Makama, to the meeting.
Presenting the party chieftains and the APC governors to Obasanjo during the opening of the meeting, Akande said the party was in support of the former president’s 18-page letter to President Goodluck Jonathan.
The APC National Leader, Tinubu who alluded to Obasanjo’s contribution to the building of the Nigerian nation, lamented that the country was divided more than ever.
Apparently referring to Obasanjo’s recent letter to Jonathan, he enjoined the former president not to shy away from speaking the truth.
Tinubu added that the APC had resolved to rescue Nigeria, appealing to Obasanjo to lead the mission.
“You’ve come out of tribulation and held the highest position in this country. We are here because of your courage. Nobody can say he has information more than you. You have surmounted a number of crises. Nigeria is divided more than before; to realise stable Nigeria, we want to encourage you to continue to speak the truth. We’re resolved and determined to rescue Nigeria. We want you as navigator,” he said.
Responding, Obasanjo, who said he remained a card-carrying member of the ruling PDP, described himself as an “incurable optimist” totally committed to Nigeria’s well-being and vowed that nothing would distract him from his commitment to the Nigerian nation.
Obasanjo also enjoined the opposition party to play a constructive politics “without bitterness.” “I am a card carrying member of the PDP but the politics I play traverses Nigeria, Africa and world in that order. I am a democrat and one of the essential ingredients of democracy is opposition. A democracy that has no opposition built into it is not democracy.
“As an opposition, you are enhancing democracy. You are at home, you are welcome. I will just appeal that the politics you play is politics without rancour, without bitterness, with decency, that has Nigeria at heart. I am an incurable optimist about Nigeria, I am totally committed to Nigeria and nothing will divert me from that commitment,”he said.
Tinubu, in a chat with newsmen after the meeting, denied that the APC had come to woo the former president, adding that it was meant to tap from his wealth of political experience.”