2019: Obasanjo’s Rising Profile in the South-west Unnerves Presidency

By Uche Mbah

Former president Obasanjo has in recent times been making inroads into the south west geopolitical zone in his bid to unseat the incumbent president, Muhammadu Buhari, in 2019. His coalition has been working behind the scene in his bid to bring over thirty political parties together in a mega force. It is understood by many that various platforms are being utilized for the coalition to come to agreements over the political relevance of each group.

Surprisingly, the former president is prepared to bend over backwards, even to lick his vomit in his bid to actualize his ambition. This magazine gathered that, as a doctor of theology, he is bringing his influence to bear on many religious leaders to sensitize their congregations on the need to tackle the issue of Fulani herdsmen and their rampaging. Only recently, he was given an employment in the Nigerian Open University, NOUN, as a Facilitator, being the first PhD graduate of the school. He has been given an office in Abeokuta outreach of the school.

Obasanjo recently met with the Afenifere, who has been known to be serious antagonists of the federal government. The meeting was held at the residence of the Afenifere leader, Ayo Adebanjo.  Those who accompanied him to the meeting were Chief Abraham Akanle, Mr. Joju Fadairo, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo, Kenny Martins, Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, and his media aide, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi. Also present at the meeting were Mrs. Awolowo Dosumu, Pastor Tunde Bakare, Dr. Amos Akingba, Mr. Supo Shonibare, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Professor Akin Mabogunje, Professor Banji Akintoye, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, former governor of Ogun State governor and Director-General, Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, and former Ondo State Governor Olusegun Mimiko, among others.

The presence of Gbenga Daniel underlies one of the issues under discussion. It was gathered that during the closed door meeting, members of the socio cultural group impressed on Obasanjo the need to reconsider his antagonism with his former vice president, Atiku Abubakar. They were said to have pointed out to him that the primary goal is to unseat Buhari, and that Atiku should be given a chance to contest the primaries with others. They pointed out to him that he had his misunderstanding with Buhari yet he, Obasanjo, supported him. After the meeting, for the first time, he visited his erstwhile estranged godson, Bode George, to commiserate with him on the dead of his son a long time ago. After the meeting, George was said to have referred to Obasanjo as his boss, and that it was the devil that came between them. He now met with Atiku and had a closed door meeting with him, after which Atiku came out with a boosted confidence.

Al these activities are being keenly watched by the presidency and the ruling party, APC. It is believed that Obasanjo, whose non-forgiving nature is allegedly only can be equated to that of the Fulani, may still find a way to stop Atiku on the trumped up ground that he is corrupt. Pointers are that he is more inclined to favoring Rabiu Kwankwaso, an educated Northern Irredentist, for the presidency. Kwankwaso himself had recently been consulting with Atiku on the presidency.

The Multi party coalition, however, have their own ideas. They are looking towards the middle belt for salvation. They are scheduled to hold a meeting in Makurdi to finalize the modalities of the coalition and mergers. They also are wooing the nPDP, who, all things being equal will pull out from APC this week, if they can resolve to which platform to will end up. Not all want to return to PDP. The Chief of staff of the senate president, Bukola Saraki, has recently crossed over from APC to PDP, preparing the way for his principal.

If Obasanjo pulls the stunt he is contemplating, it will enormously weaken the south west support base of Buhari, and so weaken the chances of him being returned.

The appointment of Adams Oshiomhole as the party chairman was expected to boost their chances. He was expected to repeat what he did in winning Edo, by whatever means. But his harping on the imminent jail of Obasanjo may well be counterproductive.

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