Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo on Sunday said that he will not be active in the activities of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) if it continued to hobnob with an alleged drug baron among other issues.
The former president said his interest in Nigerian politics was beyond partisan while reiterating his commitment to the unity and progress of the country.
Obasanjo made this known in a statement made available to journalist on Sunday.
The former president stated that while he was sill a card-carrying member of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), he would not be active in the party if certain issues that did not align with his principles were not solved.
“My interest and commitment to Nigeria go beyond partisan politics,” he said. “’Under no condition will my commitment to Nigeria be diminished.”
“For me, it is commitment to Nigeria first and any other commitment can only follow in second or third place. Where any other commitment is in tandem with what I see and understand as commitment to Nigeria, such other commitment will share a pride of place with Nigeria.”
“We must put Nigeria’s interest above politics – party or personal – otherwise, we will all be judged at the bar of history if not the bar of current affairs. In addition, we must preserve, sustain and deepen democracy and democratic practices.”
The statement came after some PDP members had gone to him to ask for his forgiveness and to ensure he works for the party’s success in the next general elections.
“During last week when I was in South Africa as the Chairman of AU Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan and while with my fellow Commissioners, we were deliberating on how to help that new country out of its problem of security and violence, I received avalanche of news and cacophony of appeals and pleadings from some quarters of PDP leadership,” he said.
In the statement, Obasanjo said he had no problem with the party or any individual, and that begging him to return to PDP was not an issue since he had never left. He also said he had made his position known to top members of the PDP on several occasions o while he had been passive.
“Talking of inviting me back to PDP is wrong and it is a great misrepresentation as I have never left PDP and I will never leave PDP,” he said. “I have said it before and I will say it again, I rose to become the President of Nigeria on the platform of PDP and for that reason alone, I will remain a card-carrying and ward-active member of PDP for as long as I have to be a political party member.”
He added that “nobody has personally offended me as a result of my membership of PDP. If, however, anybody or group feels offended by my continued membership, I will offer an unreserved apology but continue to remain in the party.
“I have had occasions to say to the President, the Senate President and the Party Chairman separately that I have no quarrel with any individual or group in the Party.”
However, in a tacit reference to his unending displeasure with PDP’s romance with Buruji Kashamu, who is from the same Ogun State as Obasanjo, the former PDP chairman Board of Trustees said he would not work for PDP if Kashamu who allegedly has been accused of drugs peddling was being give preferential treatments by the party.
“For instance, as a former President of Nigeria, the Chairman of West Africa Commission on Drug and a member of Global Commission on Drug, I cannot accept that the Zonal leader of my political Party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America. How do I explain that to friends outside Nigeria?”
“This is only one of the many issues that I have pointed and still pointing out,” he said.