2023 Elections: Obasanjo’s Endorsement Of Obi, LP, Presidential Candidate Heat Up The Polity

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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.

Prof. Akinyemi: Wants Obasanjo To Go Home And Rest Like Other Former Political Leaders

 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.

Tinubu: APC, Presidential Candidate Visisted Abeokuta Home Of ObASANJO To seek His Endorsement

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’’.

Wike: Rivers State Governor, Mocks Atiku For Not Getting Obasanjo’s Endorsement

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.       

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