by Oluwatosin Fatoyinbo
In a last minute attempt to secure the support of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Nigeria’s two major political parties, the People’ Democratic party and the All Progressives Congress have begun moves to woo the former president to their sides.
According to The Punch, last week’s separate meetings of Obasanjo with APC National leader Asiwaju Ahmed Tinubu and Senate President David Mark was the precursor of the moves to obtain Obasanjo’s blessings.
It was gathered the APC leaders specifically solicited the support of the former president for the party. Obasanjo was said to have advised the opposition party to choose a presidential candidate with a clean record.
“The two former governors said that the interest of the South-West should determine the candidate our people should support.
“You will agree that our people have not been fairly treated by the present government at the centre, but Baba in his characteristic frankness advised the APC to choose a candidate with an untainted record.” An APC source said.
It was also gathered that the PDP and Jonathan chose Mark to head the reconciliation team because of his closeness to Obasanjo.
The former president had on several occasions expressed his opposition to Jonathan’s second term ambition on the grounds that the President in 2011 promised not to re-contest.
but a source within the PDP said “The President has not lost hope. He still respects Obasanjo and believes the former president can still support him.”
Another source who spoke under anonymity said , “The Senate President is playing a crucial rule in the current integration efforts by the leadership of the PDP to bring back the aggrieved leaders of our party into the mainstream again and Obasanjo is very key to the success of the team’s assignment. So, that is why we went to him.
“The 2015 elections is around the corner and the leadership of the PDP is determined to ensure success in all the geo-political zones. This will be a little bit difficult if the aggrieved leaders and members are not integrated back to the system.”
“Apart from the Senate President being the chairman of the South-West PDP reconciliation committee, he enjoys a father son relationship with Chief Obasanjo. He went to the see former President Obasanjo as part of his assignment.”
It will be recalled that a day before meeting with former President Obasanjo, Mark had met with stakeholders of the party from the South-West.
“Since the issue is reconciling aggrieved party members, you cannot be talking about reconciling members of the PDP in the South-West without the former President,” he explained
However, Obasanjo’s stance on Jonathan is believed to remain same “Baba Obasanjo did not disclose what he discussed with David Mark and Tinubu at separate meetings he held with them.” An aide said
Alhaji Lai Mohammed, the APC National Publicity secretary attempted to explain Tinubu’s visit to Obasanjo thus “In politics, you cannot ignore anybody that can help you. The leader must have his reasons for visiting the former President; he is doing it for Nigeria.
“What is at hand in 2015 is about Nigeria, it is not about the APC alone. Whoever we can talk to and can assist us to change this clueless government we will meet.”