It is now crystal clear that Obasanjo is for APC Presidential Candidate Buhari. Events at Abeokuta early this week speak volume.
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, publicly identified with the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd.), a day after failing to publicly identify with President Goodluck Jonathan, the candidate of his own ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), who was in Abeokuta to campaign.
Obasanjo did not only warmly welcome and gleefully pose for photographs with Buhari and his entourage but also endorsed him as an unblemished man of integrity, a very significant development coming barely a month to the February 14 presidential ballot.
After making a cursory review of the records of the APC standard bearer even when he was Minister of Petroleum Affairs under him as military Head of State between 1976 and 1979 and as head of the Petroleum Trust Fund (PTF) in the 1990s, Obasanjo described Buhari as unblemished.
He said: “When you (Buhari) were going to become manager of PTF, we talked about it and when you finished and I took over, we looked into it.
“I haven’t said this publicly, I would say it publicly now. When we looked into it, there was really nothing amiss except that that organisation went from road building into mosquito net buying and all sorts of things. And what the investigation discovered is a bit of inconsistency in prices and all that. In one area, mosquito net might have been given for N50; in another, N45. And then, we remarked that this is fishy. We should look into it.
“And I called my brother and colleague (Buhari), I said this and he said ‘look, we are managing billions of naira and I tried to make sure I see everything. But I will not say that what they have said about this is correct or not correct. But I can assure you, I tried to see everything.’ I said okay. Muhammadu, between me, you and God, was there any personal benefit for you? And you said no. I said that is the end of the matter. Although there was that investigation, its report was not of any material importance.”
Indications emerged last night that the meeting on Monday between President Goodluck Jonathan and former President Olusegun Obasanjo ended in a fiasco.
Competent sources at the meeting disclosed that President Jonathan and other top leaders of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, (PDP) who requested for the meeting felt disappointed with its outcome and may not push the idea of mending fences with the former leader again.
One of the sources present at the meeting said Obasanjo merely accepted to allow Jonathan and other PDP chieftains to visit him as a mark of respect to the office of the President and not to make peace with him.
According to the source, Obasanjo deliberately requested two prominent clergymen to be present as witnesses at the meeting to prove the point that it is Jonathan who actually caused disaffection between them by reneging on previous decisions they jointly reached.
It was also learnt that but for the respect Obasanjo has for the office which he once held, he would not have accepted to host Jonathan because of his recent provocative utterances against prominent Nigerian statesmen, including him (Obasanjo).
The source said Obasanjo was irked by last Sunday’s statement in which Jonathan referred to some elder statesmen behaving as ‘motor park touts’, a classification Obasanjo reportedly took in bad faith.
The source added that at the meeting, Obasanjo opened up to those present and the two clergy men he had invited to ask Jonathan whether he had been honest with him and those he had assured he would run for a single term, if they supported him to win the last election.
According to the source, “It is true that Obasanjo invited the two clergymen to witness the meeting which he grudgingly accepted to host because of the respect he has for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. He did not want to turn the president and his entourage down since they requested to see him in his house as part of their rally in the state.
“But the truth of the matter is that Baba has not shifted grounds on any issue since he feels that Jonathan has not been fair to him by not adhering to any of the previous agreements reached with him. What really irked Baba is the reference by Jonathan to some Nigerian elder statesmen as behaving as ‘motor park touts’ a day before begging him to grant him audience in Abeokuta.
“The man really feels insulted by such unfortunate outburst from the President of a country.
There was no need to enter into any peace deal with Jonathan because similar deals done in the past only resulted in more attacks by him and his aides on Baba only for them to come begging for forgiveness once it is close to election.”