Politics: Obasanjo’s New Political Realignment With Tinubu;FG, Moves To Acquire New Presidential Jets

By Late Adegbite

Not many are surprised at the kind of politics being played with former President Olusegun Obasanjo with the incumbent President Bola Tinubu, who incidentally was an ex-governor of Lagos state. Recall that for the eight years of the Obasanjo’s Administration he had a frosty relationship with the former Lagos state governor.

 Former Vice President Yemi Osinbajo, during former Muhammadu Buhari’s Administration and who was   the Commissioner of Justice and Attorney General of the state  during the Tinubu’s Administration, had  said that the Obasanjo’s  Government  had refused to release  the funds belonging  to the 20  Local Government Areas  in the stat which was said to provided opportunity   for it to think like a sovereign  state  able to overcome its financial challenges . This may have informed why the then governor of Lagos state and hi Lieutenants went back to the drawing board to shore up  their  Internally Generation Revenue  and stop complete  reliance  on Federal allocations for survival.

Former President Obasanjo

The former Lagos state governor who had maintained a frosty relationship with the then President Obasanjo, until he left office in  2007,  had  said that the seizure  of the revenue  of the state  by the former Nigerian President  had triggered his  intellectual capacity  and those of his lieutenants  to make Lagos state financially self-reliant without relying on the Federal allocations to run the state.

Although the former President Obasanjo had agreed to release the over N30 billion Lagos state Council funds but that was how far he could go. The then Lagos state governor may not away by have been carried away by Obasanjo’s    promise to release the state funds as he was said to have created and operated additional new Local government Development councils without Constitutional listing.  President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua,   now deceased, who was said to have sought the opinion of the relevant ministries on the seized Lagos state funds by the Federal government may have found it illegal to do so that he had ordered the immediate release of the balance N10,829,52,300.4 to the state.

 Note that Obasanjo had expected to pay Tinubu back in  his own coins by frustrating his 2023, Presidential ambition , for daring him while in office., Not minding the treatment meted out to his government  by the Ogun state born former Nigerian President,  Tinubu, who was said to have been accompanied by  Bisi Akande and Olusegun Osoba, both , ex -governor of the south western state  and  Femi Gbajabiamila, a former Speaker of House Representatives had visited the Abeokuta residence of the former Nigerian President  to seek his endorsement to contest the 2023, general elections.

   But the former Nigerian who had created the impression in the Media, that he will not throw his weight behind the former Lagos state governor to actualize his Presidential ambition on the platform of the All progressive Congres , APC, but will support  Peter Obi, a former governor of Anambra state , the Candidate of the Labour party , LP,  whom, he had said  has the intellectual capacity  to rule Nigeria and revive the economy.

 Indeed, for the one year that President Tinubu,had  been in office, ex-President Obasanjo had repeatedly criticized his Administration’s approach to removing the subsidy of Premium Motor Spirit, PMS, popular, petrol and floating of the naira, in the country’s foreign exchange market.  The former Nigerian President who had admitted that the policies were essential for the economy to grow, had said that their execution have led ‘’to the impoverisation of the economy and of Nigerians’’.

The former Nigerian President who has shown that there is no permanent enemy in politics but permanent interest has moved to renew his relationship with President Tinubu. Out of power for over he last 17 years, Obasanjo may have known that he needed to be closer to the corridors of power to remain relevant in Nigerian politics.

President Bola Ahmed Tinubu

Aa prelude to mending fences with Tinubu, his political rival in the south west geopolitical region, Obasanjo was spotted in a high profile event attended by dignitaries from various parts of the world wearing Tinubu’s branded cap to show his support for his Administration.  In appreaction reaction to Obasanjo’s wearing of branded cap of President Tinubu, may have forced Reno Omokri, an Aide of former President Goodluck Jonathan to speak out.  ‘’Ithought he was supporting  Obi,  Presidential Candidate of the LP, in the last February, 2023, general elections, describing it as ‘’an interesting realignment’’.

He may have gone a step further to pay a visit to the President’s family house in Lagos, during the Eid el- Kabir celebrations on Monday, June 17, 2024, in the guise of visiting Remi Tinubu, the first Lady.  There is no gain saying the fact  ever since  Tinubu  took over from  former President Buhari, on May 29, 2023, former President   Obasanjo  has been  notably  absent  at many functions  that had  past  Presidents  and Heads of state  in attendance organized by Tinubu.

 Former President Obasanjo, who had posed in a picture that had appeared in major Newspaper headlines and online publications, may not have had opportunity of meeting Tinubu, one on one, but his message to the President had reached him through the First Lady.

 The former Nigerian President may have gladdened the heart of the First Lady when he ‘’announced his support for President Tinubu’s government’’. Nigerian s are watching to see how the new found relationship between former President Obasanjo and Tinubu, will end.

Whether Former President Obasanjo and the incumbent President Tinubu, have resolved their differences or not, the situation of the country’s economy would remain worrisome. The Nigerian Bureau of Statistics, NBS,  under the close watch of  Semiu Adeyemi Adeniran, latest data  shows that the country’s inflation rate  in the month of May 2024, had increased  to 33.95%, compared to the inflation rate of 33.9% , in the month of April, 2024.

Many belive that  Obasanjo’s visit to the first Lady in the first family  residence in Lagos, will not stop the President  from spending the country’s scarce  foreign exchange resources  on the acquisition  of new Presidential jets. The House Committee on National Security and Intelligence, had asked the Federal Government to purchase new aircraft for the President Tinubu and Vice President Kashim Shettima.

The Committeee’s recommendation, according to informed sources, followed reports of faulty aircraft in the Presidential air fleet. This may have informed why the Nigerian President used chartered plane from the Neherlands to Saudi Arabia during his recent trips abroad.

Notwithstanding the House Committee recommendation  giving approval for the Presidency to acquire new aircrafts, to replace the faulty ones in the Presidential fleet,  Obi, the LP, Presidential Candidate , in the February 25, 2023, Presidential election   would want the Tinubu’s Administration  ‘’to focus  on alleviating  the suffering of the people  and not splurging;  scarce resources  on acquisition  new  Presidential jets’’.

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