By Suleiman Umaru
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, endorsement of the Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state ad Labour Party Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, appears to have heat up the polity and polarised the country.
Bolaji Akeyemi, a Professor and a former minister of External Affairs, during Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, rtd, a former Nigerian President‘s Administration , had faulted the ex-President’s endorsement of Obi. He had said that the ex-President recommendation of Obi ‘’to be the LP, Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections and urged Nigerian Youths to take the election seriously was uncalled for’’. He noted that the former President has no moral justification to do so because he was part of the foundation of the problems that the country is facing today’’.
He had expected him ‘’to go home and rest like the likes of Generals Yakubu Gowon, Babangida,Abdulsalami Abubakar, rtd and Former Pesident Goodluck Jonathan. An aggrieved Akineyemi, who believes that Obasanjo was one of the past Leaders that had created the problem of the country but now present himself as a problem solver is a difficult pill to swallow by him.
Akinyemi in his emotional outburst may not have gone down well with the politicians who were said to have advised him ‘’to ignore the messanger but focus of the message’’. He had said that those challenging him are those who do not want people ‘’to look back into the former President’s track records’’.
The Nigerian former External Affairs Commissioner, will have Prof Wole Soyinka, the Nobel Laurete who had said in 2018, that ‘’it is only in Nigeria will thieves be regrouping to loot again and Youths whose future will be stolen will celebrating it and who is not ready to endorse Tinubu of the ruling APC, Atiku or Obi, to contend with.
Politicians may have taken advantage of the rivalry between Obasanjo and Soyinka, to go to town with the news that the Literary ICON, had endorsed the APC Presidential Candidate, just as Obasanjo had endorsed Obi, for the 2023 , general elections. But the news may have filtered into his ears that he had described people peddling the rumour as ‘’illiterate interloppers’’. He was said to have repeatedly denied throwing his weight behind, Tinubu the former Lagos state governor and Presidential Candidate of the APC.
He was said to have told those who cares to listen that ‘’the thought of 2023 general elections had not even crossed his mind , let alone endorse any political party Presidential Candidate, nothing that those who hacked his email to announce his death , were capable of doing anything.
In apparent reaction to the Former President endorsement of Obi, the Presidency had said that Obasanjo did that because he could easily ‘’pick quarrel out of frustration with any President who comes after him and refuses to be his puppet , to do as he wishes on all matters and at all times’’.
Garba Shehu, a Senior Special Assistant to the Katsina state born Nigerian President on Media and Publicity , had said that the former Nigerian President who had endorsed the LP Presidential Candidate ruled between 1999 and 2007 represented ‘’the dark days of the country’s democracy due to a slew of assaults on the Constitution’’.
The Presidential Media Aide had said that he had removed elected public officials at with ease because the police, Department of State Security, DSS, and the National Intelligence Agency, NIA were under his control
There is no gain saying the fact that the former President ‘s action was said to have opened the doorway for politicians and the elites to turn Channels Television into their home in order to appear in the Television station Sunrise programme or Politics Today to air their views on the controversial issue.
Given the tension in the polity, Daniel Bwala and Niyi Akinsiju, spokes persons of the APC and the PDP, Presidential Campaign Council, PCC, at the promptings of their party Leadership and Flag bearers for the 2023, general elections, had appeared on Channels Television, Politics Today, at different times ‘’dismissing the gesture’’
The dual in their respective response to questions asked had said that the Ogun state born politician who is looking for a puppet Leader to control is in search of a ‘’third term by proxy’’. Bwala, the PDP, spokesperson, may have hit hard on the former President in what people had described as very disrespectful when he described him as a ‘’meddlesome interloper who sees no fault in his Administration but on others’’.
The reaction of the APC and PDP, spokespersons may have drawn out Kenneth Okonkwo a popular Movie Actor and LP PCC spokesperson to respond. He may have rubbished what the APC and PDP, PCC spokespersons had said when he ‘’lauded the elder statesman for following what he had described as ‘’the right path’’, noting that the country is in moral crisis and the likes of Obasanjo have to speak out.
Given the position that Obasanjo has taken to endorse the LP Presidential Candidate for the 2023, general elections, in the six –page open letter addressed to Nigerians, Yunusa Tanko, the Chief spokesperson of the LP PCC, who was said to have appeared on Channels Television Sunrise Programme recently, had said that those castigating Obasanjo for endorsing the former Anambra state governor are not being fair. He noted that by ’’virtue of his experience, the former Nigerian President is well equipped to know and assess virtually everybody he has had dealings with in the past, particular, the politicians’’.
Many believe that former President was being attacked left and right because he had refused to endorse Aswaju Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos state and Candidate of the ruling APC or Atiku who had served as his Vice President in his eight years Leadership of the country and now the PDP , Presidential Candidate, for the 2023, general elections. They noted that if the elder statesman had endorsed anyone of them as his preferred Candidate for the elections, he would have been praised to he high heavens for taking a right decision.
Recall that the two political gladiators had at different times visited Obasanjo in his Abeokuta home in Ogun state, to seek his support for the 2023 elections. The APC, Leadership may not have seen anything wrong wit their flag bearer visit to Obasanjo in August, 2022, as they had described it as ‘’simply Diplomatic, to show that that he is not out to fight anybody if he wins the election’’.
Nyenson Wike, arrow head of the G5 and governor of Rivers state who had lost the PDP Presidential primary last May, had mocked the former Nigerian Vice President, stressing that the refusal of the former President to endorse him for the 2023, general elections means that ‘’there is something fundamental wrong’’.
He stated that he is not bothered about the position of other people on their preferred Candidate for the February 25, Presidential and National Assembly elections, but was touched when the elder statesman who had worked with him for eight years in the Presidency could not recommend him to Nigerians for the 2023, general elections but endorsed Obi of the LP. ‘He knows why he took the decision which was spelt out in his six-page Letter to Nigerians. ‘’Everyone should carry his problem and go where the problems are’’, he had said.
The Rivers state emotional outburst clearly shows that hopes of the G5 supporting Atiku ,for the 2023 general elections is no longer feasible as Nigerians await for him to announce his preferred Candidate on Thursday, January 5, 2023.
Senator Dino Melaye, spokesperson of PDP PCC, may have sent a message to the aggrieved Wike ‘, to support whoever he wishes to support as the PDP Leadership will no longer tolerate his insolent tendencies’’, an indications that the G5 members will be expelled.