Obasanjo Moves To Stop Jonathan In 2015

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THE
battle for the nation’s Presidency in 2015 is getting intense, though the
gladiators are not willing to openly declare their interest yet.
A
key figure who is working, albeit surreptitiously, to determine who becomes the
occupant of Aso Rock in 2015 is former President Olusegun Obasanjo, The
Guardian has learnt. Contrary
to the notion that Obasanjo has quit active and local partisan politics for
international assignments and diplomacy, the former leader remains a force to
reckon with in the 2015 presidency.

The
Guardian’s investigation shows that Obasanjo may not support President Goodluck
Jonathan for re-election in 2015. It was learnt at the weekend that Obasanjo’s
fund-raiser for a mosque project at his presidential library provided the forum
for him to strategise for 2015.

Less
than 24 hours after the gathering in Abeokuta, which was attended by some
political heavyweights even from the core North, Obasanjo, 72, began a
strategic political tour of the East on the invitation of Chief Emmanuel
Iwuanyanwu, publisher of the Champion Newspapers. This tour has been without
fanfare. Iwuanyanwu, a People’s Democratic Party (PDP) stalwart from Imo State
was at the Abeokuta gathering last Friday, although he arrived late.
The
Guardian learnt that after the fund-raiser at the venue, Iwuanyanwu reiterated
his (Obasanjo’s) invitation to the East and the following day, the former
president who at a religious gathering in Warri reportedly criticised Nigeria’s
current President’s handling of the Boko Haram’s insurgency responded to the
invitation and began his strategic tour of the South East.
It
was learnt that the army general’s strategic foray into the East at this time “is
to solidify the political base of the PDP in the area and to re-align forces
for 2015 in the context of the ruling PDP” that he recently described as
undisciplined.
The
Guardian was told by some sources in Abeokuta that before the last Friday’s
political fund-raiser, there was a strategic rapprochement that the former
president organised in his palatial home.
He
consummated a reconciliation with one of his old allies in the South-West,
Chief Johnson Fasawe, who has also remained loyal to former Vice President
Atiku Abubakar. It was Fasawe’s loyalty to Atiku that caused his 
disconnection from Ota seven years ago in the heat of succession struggle
between the then president (Obasanjo) and the vice president (Atiku).
In
Obasanjo’s spacious sitting room before the big party train moved to the
fund-raiser, the Deji of Akure, Oba Adebiyi Adesida led Fasawe who prostrated
before  Obasanjo and remarked that he (Fasawe) was part of the building of
the Obasanjo home and he had come back home.
Obasanjo
was said to have noted that Fasawe, was not just instrumental in the building
of the Abeokuta Hilltop house, he was “a part owner, we both own the house your
room is upstairs.” He (Obasanjo) was said to have patted Fasawe on the back and
called Fasawe “Omowale” (a great son has returned home). These gestures were
made to the delight of the visiting governors from the North who cheered with a
light clap.
Shortly
after the ceremony, Obasanjo was said to have gone into a long meeting with
Fasawe in another room in the house. Details of what transpired in the inner
sanctuary were unknown at press time.
It
was Fasawe who later announced N5 million worth of donation to the mosque
project on behalf of Atiku.
More
than N400 million was raised at the Friday ceremony chaired by the Governor of
Sokoto State, Alhaji Aliyu Magatarkada Wamakko. The Governor of Kano State, Dr.
Musa Rabiu Kwakwanso, Governor of Kebbi, Alhaji Saidu Dakingari and the Deputy
Governor of Katsina State and Alhaji Abdullahi Garba Faskari also graced the
occasion.
The
wife of the late strong man of Ibadan politics, Alhaji Lamidi Adedibu, Mrs.
Bose Adedibu and wife of the late Ayodeji Omotade, a permanent secretary who
died in Bellview plane crash on October 22,  2005, were there.
Governor
Ibikunle Amosu of Ogun State was at the fund-raiser briefly before he left,
sources at the venue noted.
Political
pundits in the South West and Abuja who are sufficiently close to Obasanjo who
was recently honoured by the British Monarch, the Queen of England as country
representative for her Diamond Jubilee Trust is said to have said that the
Friday fund-raiser and the political tour of the East “is a way to tell the
incumbent Nigeria’s leader that he is a better organised politician and 2015
calculations within the ruling PDP are still within his power and he can sway
opinions in the East and South West and even the North … in 2015…”
There
has been a silent rift between Obasanjo and the sitting President and the
northern establishment still accuses Obasanjo of foisting on them in 2007 the
then Governor Umaru Yar’Adua as his (Obasanjo’s) successor. The core North
still believes that the Owu chief knew that the then Governor Yar’Adua was too
unhealthy to be president and a younger and healthier Goodluck Jonathan was
made to be the running mate to succeed him after his expected demise.
Obasanjo
has consistently denied this charge and one major denial was at a Daily Trust
yearly lecture in 2010/11 when he revealed that an emeritus professor of
medicine was made to examine the health records of the then governor of Katsina
State and he was certified “healed” following the observation that Yar’Adua was
then suffering from a terminal illness.
“But
as Shakespeare said, all the perfumes of Arabia, cannot wash Obasanjo’s hand
clean of the conspiracy to install Jonathan on the nation since 2007 when a
very sick Yar’Adua was imposed on the nation to pave the way for the emergence
of a Jonathan in 2010…,” was the way a political leader in the North still
accused the former president at the weekend in an interview with The Guardian.
But
in the same vein, the same core North too was accused of imposing Obasanjo on
the South West in 1999 when it was decided by the political class that the
South West that lost Bashorun Moshood Abiola to the  June 12, 1993
political struggle be served with the first shot. “Obasanjo only paid them in
their own coin in 2007 if their allegation was true that he imposed a sick
Yar’Adua. They also imposed a prickly and irascible Obasanjo on us in the South
West and indeed the South,” was the way another elder from the South West
responded to the issue at the weekend in an interview with The Guardian.
The
alleged Obasanjo-Jonathan tango came to the fore last week again when at a
presidential media chat, the President noted that the Obasanjo’s strategy in
Odi, Bayelsa State failed to solve the problem of militants’ insurgency in the area
in his (Obasanjo’s time). This was seen as a direct response to Obasanjo’s
remark at a ceremony in Warri, Delta State where the president’s strategy in
handling the Boko Haram security crisis was reportedly criticised.
Analysts
believe that Obasanjo’s current move to launch a ‘political’ mosque project and
his rapid response to Iwuanyanwu’s invitation is a strategic move to stir up
some dust around the project 2015 he (Obasanjo) has been accused of stepping
into through his protégé, and governor of Jigawa State, Alhaji Sule Lamido who
was absent in Abeokuta last Friday.
Meanwhile,
the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Sanusi Lamido Sanusi in his
traditional regalia was in Abeokuta too last Friday and he donated N5 million
to the mosque fund-raiser in his personal capacity. There are reports that the
CBN governor too is a ‘suitable suitor’ for Project 2015, in which President
Jonathan is the issue and indeed the man to beat.

Source: The Guardian

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