ICHEOKU says they did it, deservedly and rightly earned; the boys from Paris. ICHEOKU says congratulations.



ICHEOKU says he is coming with a clear-eyed view of what the United States of America constitution provides and will not legislate from the bench. ICHEOKU says definitely the right pick, so CONFIRM him now and right away and without any delay or much ado. Congratulation.


Lisa Page: “Trump is not ever going to become president, right? Right?!”

Peter Strzok: “No. No he’s not. We’ll stop it.”

ICHEOKU says if this is not corruption of the worst type, what else so qualifies? So sad the length these guys went to truncate the will of the American people; yet they will turn around and accuse other countries of corruption and you wonder is it only when money exchanges hands that there is corruption. Pitifully SAD.


“The only obstruction President Trump committed was in obstructing Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton from the White House.” - Jesse Watters, Watters World.


“The United States no longer makes empty threats. When I make promises, I keep them.” - President Donald John Trump.

ICHEOKU says exactly why he is now fondly nicknamed the Promise Keeper and he keeps his promises, one promise at a time.


America will not be held hostage to nuclear blackmail. We will not allow American cities to be threatened with destruction. And we will not allow a regime that chants “Death to America” to gain access to the most deadly weapons on Earth." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says what does the Deep State have on AG Jeff Sessions that has purchased his quiet and inaction over the excesses of the Russian Collusion witch hunt? Something definitely does not look right and apparently seems awry that the Attorney General appears so constricted to do anything to bring the never ending "investigation" to a conclusion. How much longer will the American people wait to have the matter concluded and what will it take. As a member of Team MAGA, from the basket of deplorables, who defended him when the president was threatening to fire him, ICHEOKU is not particularly satisfied with the "playing it safe" attitude which Jeff has adopted thus far and urge him to find any possible way to make the investigators finish their job immediately and without any further delay.


ICHEOKU says he has all it takes to turn Nigeria around and Make Nigeria Great Again. He is highly cerebral; he is well traveled and is highly exposed internationally; he is a doer with a can-do spirit and attitude which translates to impossible is nothing as it does not exists in his dictionary; he is fully accomplished person who turned around the nearly moribund behemoth UBA and created thousands of jobs both in Nigeria and overseas; and above all, he is youthful and has age on his side and you ask yourself, what else is anyone looking for in a leader for Nigeria that is on bended knees and begging for leadership other than a man with his proven record. If he can do this in the private sector, he can also mission accomplish such in the public sector and resuscitate a Nigeria that is in distress. CHEOKU is emphatic that Tony Elumelu is a highly qualified, fit and proper person to lead Nigeria out of its present woods of near comatose and under performing achievements. Lets go to work Nigerians and make his candidature both viable and achievable. We can do this fellas; so lets urge Tony to run, run Tony run and together lets Make Nigeria Great Again. If Trump can do it, so can Tony.


"If the Syria regime uses this poisonous gas again on its people, it will be bombed again. The United States of America is locked and loaded. When our president draws a redline, our president enforces the redline." - Nikki Haley, United States of America Ambassador to the United Nations.



ICHEOKU says Russia's Vladimir Putin has one good opportunity to finally move back into the comity of civilized nations and stop his despotic mentality which always sees him flocking amidst his fellow dictators. But if he choses to remain in the cold and remain in Kremlin where he has been holed in since 1999, too bad. His too long stay in power is only damaging Russia but not helping it; and gradually turning Russia into a third world country where only one man dictates what goes on in the country. Putin, change your ways; let true democracy reign in Russia. Salute



ICHEOKU says you cannot get a more American American and he is a hardcore America First nationalist as they come. President Donald John Trump's pick to succeeded fired National Security Adviser H.R. McMaster is the real deal. He is a hard-nosed American First protagonist, who does not shy away from projecting America's power through strength and who is not afraid to have America go it alone if need be. ICHEOKU says hopefully the president has found the very person who will help him achieve and implement his policy objectives in John Bolton. But as far as MAGA and AF agendas are concerned, Ambassador John Bolton is one heck of a good pick and a right fit for the job. He will help President Donald John Trump with doing his job for the American people. ICHEOKU says congratulations to the Mustachioed One. Let the governance of MAGA now really begin.



ICHEOKU says they pretend to be guardians of free speech but wants to tele-guide other peoples thinking by limiting what they can freely say; especially if you are a conservative and holds opinions which are favorable of President Donald John Trump and critical of Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton. Unfortunately, they will not succeed but can only force people to opt out of the live wasting exercise of gluing one's eyeballs to the platform. An exercise which does not add anything of value to users, nor pays them anything for helping them bring more eyeballs to the portal. Instead of being grateful that people are helping them bilk advertisers of billions of dollars with their riveted eyeballs, they now want to micromanage everyone's thought as if they are doing one a favor by letting them waste their time using Facebook. ICHEOKU says will not be cowered nor intimidated; they can block ICHEOKU all the heck they want but ICHEOKU will not bow to Facebook's attempt to control ICHEOKU's thoughts and would rather permanently part ways with the Mark Zuckerberg globalist weapon of mass control than kowtow to a group thinking. To hell with this attempt to exact undue control and turn everyone into a herd mind.


"There is no allegation in this indictment that any American was a knowing participant in this illegal activity. There is also no allegation in the indictment that the charged conduct altered the outcome of the 2016 election." - Rod Rosenstein, Deputy Attorney General of the United States of America.

ICHEOKU says this determination, for every intent and purpose, now lays to rest the "Collusion with the Russians" hogwash; as nobody can be guilty of an offense which requires awareness to ground when he or she is not aware of it. Collusion is a conspiracy and requires a proactive participation coupled with a guilty knowledge to bring about the purpose of the conspiracy. Therefore, when will the Special Counsel address the nation and tell Americans that there is no there, there, in the Russian Collusion investigation and save America further bleeding both in resources, time and unity. Enough of the sore loser antics of the Democratic Party which does not know how to take a loss and learn to work to fix what went wrong, instead of continuously pointing a finger at a mirage that is the Russian Collusion, in its bid to find something to blame for its ineptitude that led to the epochal loss of November 8th, 2016.


"POTUS WANTS TO KNOW EVERYTHING WE ARE DOING." - Lisa Page to boyfriend Peter Strzok, two FBI officials.

ICHEOKU says the POTUS then was President Barack Hussein Obama, who had previously denied and lied to the American people that he does not dabble into any FBI's investigative matter. Really?



"Americans fill the world with art and music. They push the bounds of science and discovery. And they forever remind us of what we should never ever forget: The people dreamed this country. The people built this country. And it's the people who are making America great again. As long as we are proud of who we are, and what we are fighting for, there is nothing we cannot achieve. As long as we have confidence in our values, faith in our citizens, and trust in our God, we will not fail. Our families will thrive. Our people will prosper. And our Nation will forever be safe and strong and proud and mighty and free." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says congratulations to President Donald John Trump for successfully steering America's ship of States for a full year. What the naysayers said will not happen is a reality which they are finding extremely difficult to live with. But their preferences notwithstanding, Make America Great Again is on course and nobody will torpedo it. Once again, congratulations to the leader of Team MAGA on the anniversary of his being sworn in as the 45th POTUS.


ICHEOKU says following an examination of so many nominated individuals, we have determined that this year 2017's man of the year is President Donald John Trump, the 45th President of the United States of America. He came into office shooting on both hips and as the year draws to an end, his both guns are still firing and smoking. For standing up to the world and starring down American detractors and being the cheerleader and champion in chief of America, the leader of Team Make America Great Again has earned ICHEOKU's man of the year award 2017. Congratulations to President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says a wisdom of Solomon come to judgment; it is about time the child is given to the rightful mother. Salute to the courage of President Donald John Trump.


"Together with our allies, America's warriors are prepared to defend our nation using the full range of our unmatched capabilities. No one — no dictator, no regime and no nation — should underestimate, ever, American resolve."



ICHEOKU says Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton was caught pants down colluding with the Russians and she has been trying so hard to pull the wool over the eyes of American people over whodunnit. What a lying, contriving, manipulative woman she is, who lies so easily that you wonder whether truth actually exists in her lexicon. Pitiful.



ICHEOKU says finally the circle is about being completed and American people and the world at large will come to know who in fact did the collusion. Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton and the Democratic National Congress paid Fusion GPS to produce the fake Russian dossier which former CIA chief James Clapper said was the basis for the Trump investigation. Yet, the investigation is still ongoing, despite the now established fact that the basis of it was a manufactured phony. But hey, we shall see.

ICHEOKU says still wondering WHAT HAPPENED and the reason 33,000 emails were deleted and bleach washed? Hopefully American people will soon confirm their suspicion that those shouting themselves hoax with Russian Collusion might indeed be the ones who actually colluded with the Russians. So much for the Russian Reset button. Queen Crooked Hillary Clinton, simply too crooked.



ICHEOKU says another lucky one that survived the abortionist's pincers from the over 360,000 unlucky ones that get flushed out each year. May God help us all have a better resolution about unwanted pregnancies.


ICHEOKU says from being disrespectful to the flag to being unappreciative of the services of the military to overall being anti America; NFL players must learn to check their political activism outside the stadiums. They must not kneel on our dime. ICHEOKU supports the president 1000% on this and hereby calls on every player to respect the sensibilities of the many differently opined fans who paid to watch a game and not to be made mad by their personal political agenda.


“The United States Government is strongly committed to Nigeria’s unity. Important political and economic issues affecting the Nigerian people, such as the allocation of resources, are worthwhile topics for respectful debate in a democracy. Within the context of unity, we encourage all Nigerians to support a de-escalation of tensions and peaceful resolution of grievances. The Indigenous People of Biafra is not a terrorist organization under US law.” - Russell Brooks, United States of America.



"When you lose to somebody who has a 40 percent popularity, you don’t blame other things — Comey, Russia — you blame yourself. So what did we do wrong? People didn’t know what we stood for, just that we were against Trump. And still believe that." - Senator Charles Schumer, Senior Senator from the State of New York and Democratic Minority Leader in the Senate. ICHEOKU says the statement spoke volume and it spoke for itself. Finally it seems the Democrats have finally turned the corner and are now ready to face up to their abysmal performance in the last presidential election by acknowledging that the American people indeed choose Trump over their Hillary Clinton. Thankfully, they will also now rest their "Russians Did It" cockamamie and find a message they can present to the people and for the good of the country.. Time to move the process forward is now as American people did not buy into the crap of a Russian collusion which they tried unsuccessfully to sell to them.


"North Korea best not make any more threats to the United States. They will be met with fire and fury like the world has never seen. As I said, they will be met with the fire and fury and, frankly, power." - President Donald John Trump. ICHEOKU says the Michelin Tire midget at Pyongyang is definitely courting trouble and messing with the wrong man. He probably thinks Barack Obama the redline president is still in office; but unbeknownst to him there is a new sheriff in town and his name is Donald John Trump and he does not mess around. Hopefully China can rein in the little man before he commits mass suicide with his North Korean people.



ICHEOKU says once again the diminutive midget of Pyongyang has been advised to heed the resolution of the United Nations firm stand against his continuing provocations; and that the total wiping out of his North Korea is now an option should he force the hands of the United States of American military. In a statement by the Defense Secretary Jim Maddog Mattis over its latest nuclear test, the secretary said “Our commitment among the allies are ironclad. Any threat to the United States or its territories, including Guam, or our allies will be met with a massive military response, a response both effective and overwhelming. We are not looking to the total annihilation of a country, namely North Korea, but as I said, we have many options to do so.” ICHEOKU says does not really know the joker that guy has, but whatever it is will likely very soon be forced out. The world including ICHEOKU is waiting and watching.


ICHEOKU says the time has come and the time is now for the Indigenous Peoples of Biafra to be allowed to choose their self governance and exit from Nigeria going forward.. A referendum on the future of Biafra is a legitimate demand of the people and it is their right to so do. The people of the Nation of Biafra want to go their own way because of the hostilities from other member nations of Nigeria. Let the United Nations order a referendum and let the people decide their own Biafraexit.


"There can be no coexistence with this violence. There can be no tolerating it, no accepting it, no excusing it, and no ignoring it. Every time a terrorist murders an innocent person and falsely invokes the name of God, it should be an insult to every person of faith. Terrorists do not worship God; they worship death. If we do not act against this organized terror, then we know what will happen and what will be the end result. Terrorism's devastation of life will continue to spread, peaceful societies will become engulfed by violence, and the futures of many generations will be sadly squandered. If we do not stand in uniform condemnation of this killing, then not only will we be judged by our people, not only will we be judged by history, but we will be judged by God." - President Donald John Trump.


ICHEOKU says it is worth fighting for, self determination and it is not a crime for a people to aspire for self governance. Indigenous Peoples of Biafra are marching forward and hopefully they will soon get to the promised land. Viva Biafra.

"When two raging fires meet together, they do consume the thing that feeds their fury. Though little fire grows great with little wind, yet extreme gusts do blow out fire." - William Shakespeare, The Taming of the Shrew


“I reached the pinnacle of success in the business world. In others’ eyes, my life is an epitome of success. However, aside from work, I have little joy. Non-stop pursuing of wealth will only turn a person into a twisted being, just like me. God gave us the senses to let us feel the love in everyone’s heart, not the illusions brought about by wealth. Memories precipitated by love is the only true riches which will follow you, accompany you, giving you strength and light to go on. The most expensive bed in the world is the sick bed. You can employ someone to drive the car for you, make money for you but you cannot have someone to bear sickness for you. Material things lost can be found. But there is one thing that can never be found when it is lost – Life. Treasure Love for your family, love for your spouse, love for your friends. Treat yourself well. Cherish others.” - SJ


"The threat of evil is ever present. We can contain it as long as we stay vigilant, but it can never truly be destroyed. - Lorraine Warren (Annabelle, the movie)


“I’m not that interested in material things. As long as I find a good bed that I can sleep in, that’s enough.” - Nicolas Berggruem, the homeless billionaire.

Thursday, January 22, 2009


One of the cardinal philosophies of Politics 101 is that there is no permanent enemy or permanent friend in politics, only permanent interest bonds politicians together; the reason some people have tagged politicians as whores and prostitutes. "Shame on you; Shame on you, Barack Obama, shame on you" was the notorious Hilary Clinton's campaign war-cry, but today she is the Secretary of State for President Barack Obama's presidency? Icheoku asks, with the preceding in mind, what then is the beef with Abubakar Atiku's recent visit with the Otta medicine man, Aremu Olusegun Obasanjo? They are both politicians and politicians are very unpredictable people, as foes today can become pals tomorrow and vice versa, so Atiku and Obasanjo met, so what?
Could Obasanjo have read Abubakar Atiku correctly as a man without conviction or whose only meaning is self preservation - the reason cited for not letting him become Nigeria's president? How could this man from Adamawa have betrayed the trust of so many Nigerians who have come to identify with him as a real democrat, by visiting his nemesis, Aremu Obasanjo? How could Atiku swallow back his spittle after all he was forced to endure under Olusegun Obasanjo's presidency, including the near-decimation of his business empire? Only a mind-reader can fathom the sudden somersault of Atiku and regrettably, Icheoku is not one. We can only try to analyse what happened with a view to placing some handle thereto.
Shamelessly, Atiku tried to explain away the visit as "his new year visit to his former boss", to which Icheoku retorts, did Atiku make such similar visit to his former boss, last January 2008 or was there something very special about this particular January 2009 to warrant his sudden about-turn? Also, if there was nothing "personal about their disagreement", according to Obasanjo, Icheoku says, there could be nothing more personal than a selfish ambition for a third term and a crazed-out presidential ambition. Atiku's pretension of opposition to Obasanjo's depraved third term ambition, was as personal as it can get and Obasanjo, being the unforgiving despot he is, will still find a way to take his pound of flesh from Atiku, someday, somehow!

The motive behind this sudden dance of death between Obasanjo and Atiku is irrelevant as both men are not credible and will not even tell each other the simple truth. Icheoku calls on Nigerians to just be on guard to make sure that none of these two munchkins ever find their way back in Aso Rock, no matter the subterfuge. Their sudden-found love can go on blissfully forever, so long as they stay out of power in Nigeria. Whether Atiku slaves it back to PDP or not should not even concern Nigerians since they already know this former customs' officer and a former vice president as a self-preservation charlatan. However after Atiku's once describing Obasanjo as corrupt and an enemy of democracy Icheoku will like to see how he is now forced to retract his very own words and applaud Olusegun Obasanjo's latest immaculate transformation into an "upright friend of democracy?"
Icheoku says that the Atiku camp was very preposterous in citing the example of Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison and went on to work as South African President with his former foes without bitterness and in a spirit of forgiveness with their Atiku's visit to Obasanjo. How long has Atiku been out in the cold? How long was Atiku behind bars? To make such a rancid comparison is to whittle down the Utopian heights which Nelson Mandel occupies in the world. Also, citing America's President Barack Obama and Senator John McCain's meeting is not analogous with Atiku's meeting with Obasanjo as neither men presently won any elections or contested any between themselves. Were it Umaru Yar'Adua that Atiku met, may be such comparison would have basis both in fact and reality. This Atiku camp must be populated by unthinking mallams who could not distinguish between two polar opposites. What a parallel comparisons?

The good news however, is that both camps are so soon after the ill-advised visit, throwing bricks of one denial after another; with an aide to Obasanjo saying that the meeting was preparatory to Atiku's eventual return back to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to re-launch his political career for 2011; while Atiku's camp is denying the allegation as unfounded saying that "the meeting a mere rapprochement between the two men who have now decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country?" To all these abracadabra, Icheoku says, tell that to the marines! Whether Atiku is a sell-out or not depends on who is talking as Icheoku would like to ask, to whom did he sell out and what did he sell? The real opposition deal whom Nigerians should be concerned about is that opposition that won five states in the last elections, Muhammad Buhari and not Atiku who could not even win his state, Adamawa. Were it not for Bola Tinubu, may be AC would have come out of the election worse than Pat Utomi's party. Now the evil man of Otta is even alleging that it was Atiku who "begged" for the meeting, what a dumb political move by Atiku?

One commentator said that "it was this type of meeting between Atiku and Obasanjo in the latter’s home in Ota in 1998 that eventually culminated in the worst presidency Nigeria ever had. Their presidency and vice presidency held Nigeria in thrall for eight years, during which no day passed without one political turmoil or the other brewing and erupting in one corner of the country or the other." One other commentator described the meeting of the two political gladiators of Nigerian politics as a big irony after what they had said and done to each other these past years. The meeting shows that the two men lack principle, that they are both selfish and are both evil men, While another commentator was quoted as saying "I am truly spooked by this reconciliatory move because experience has shown that when Obasanjo and Atiku are friends, next to nothing good comes of it for Nigeria."
In conclusion, Icheoku says, the victor here is Olusegun Obasanjo who ate his cake with Atiku and had it back. Obasanjo successfully out-foxed Atiku by luring him to Otta and later exposing an otherwise "private visit" to an ambush of a battery of photographers, just to ridicule Atiku? Obasanjo ignored and sidelined Atiku during the greater half of his presidency, stopped him cold when he tried to run for the party's presidential candidacy and eventually drove him entirely out of the PDP. Now Atiku has been forced to crawl on his all fours back to Otta to beg for forgiveness of sins from Olusegun Obasanjo. Admitted, it is only 'interest' that binds politicians together, but Icheoku will like to ask, what interest now binds these forsworn duo? Icheoku says, Nigerians should be wary of this romance of two fathom menaces; and now that they have been placed on a red alert, the fault will be theirs should these two evil salamanders ever weasel their way back to Aso Rock, either directly or indirectly? Guard your loins Nigerians, for the fight ahead will be rough and tough!


Anonymous said...

Atiku’s visit to Obasanjo, a misadventure – AC
By Chiawo Nwankwo, Olusola Fabiyi, Ihuoma Chidozie and Mudiaga Affe
Published: Friday, 23 Jan 2009
The national leadership of the Action Congress on Thursday criticised its presidential candidate in the 2007 election, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar for visiting former President Olusegun Obasanjo, describing his action as misadventure.

Skip to next paragraph

Photo file
Former Vice President and Pres

The party’s National Executive Committee met in Abuja where the visit topped its agenda.

It was gathered that the national chairman of the party and former governor of Osun State, Chief Bisi Akande, tabled the matter before the NEC and asked for members’ comments on the matter.

All the members that spoke condemned the visit, but added that the former vice-president did not breach any of the party’s rules.

However, they lamented that he did not take the party into confidence before undertaking the visit.

Akande was quoted to have said that Atiku only briefed him after he had attended the meeting.

Addressing journalists after the meeting, the National Publicity Secretary of AC Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said the visit offended the “sensibility of its members and the generality of Nigerians.”

He said although members were disappointment when the matter was discussed, but added that nobody accused him of having any “ulterior motive.”

He said, “It is true that our party, the Action Congress has met and concluded the meeting of its National Executive Committee. Of course, we did discuss mostly matters concerning the party and issues also of national importance.

“But am sure the one that would interest you most is what we discussed what is the party’s position about the visit of our presidential candidate to the former President Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Monday.

“Yes we discussed it. The Chairman explained the circumstances that led to the visit and he assured members that he has the assurance of the Vice President and he believed him that his visit to General Obasanjo in Abeokuta was mostly as a result of pressure from many of his friends, his former political associates, including some traditional rulers.

”The Chairman said Atiku sincerely felt that this pressure was getting too much and that is why he made the visit. He said he succinctly told the former Vice President that it was a misjudgment on his part. Because as we said yesterday, our party does not restrict the movement of its members neither do we choose who our members associate with.

“But at the same time, we also made it clear that every member must look at the sensibility of party members in the choice of people they associate with.

“In particular, in the face of the visit of the former President Obasanjo, it is on record that Obasanjo did everything to ensure that AC did not emerge victorious in the last election. It is also on record that he pursued and persecuted many of our members largely because of the former President wanted to take vintage position.

”So, to that extent and the fact that even though the Vice President had lofty reasons for him to meet the former President, we believe that it was rather a misadventure because he did not take into consideration how members would feel about it.

“The matter was thrown open and members expressed their displeasure. But one thing is clear nobody accused him of any ulterior motive.”

On speculations that the former vice-president might defect to the Peoples Democratic Party, Mohammed said that the NEC never contemplated nor discussed the matter.

On possible sanctions to be meted on Atiku for the visit, the AC image maker said, “Let me make it clear, the vice-president did not break any law of the Action Congress. So the issue of discipline did not arise.

He said, “Like we said it is a misjudgment and the only reason why the issue became too tactical is because it offended the sensibility of members of the party and also many Nigerians who believe that he ought not to have anything to do with Obasanjo. But if anybody is expecting the party to discipline him, I mean I think it would not be right because what would we say he has done?

Earlier the National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande while welcoming the members to the meeting said: “As regards coming together with the opposition, the office too has been working on it.

Meanwhile, the Osun State governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, on Thursday explained reasons for facilitating the meeting between Obasanjo Abubakar.

Oyinola, who spoke in Abuja, said it had nothing to do with Abubakar’s return to the PDP, or ambition to run for president in 2011, as being speculated.

He, however, admitted that there was need for reconciliation since Abubakar was a founding member of the Peoples Democratic Party.

Asked why he facilitated the meeting, Oyinola said, “You know there is a saying in my place that when the husband has been able to meet with the wife, the middle man will disappear. “So I have disappeared”.

Again asked if the meeting was part of moves to bring Abubakar back to the PDP, he said, “There is nothing of such but I believe it is tune with the ethics of my own religion that one should always mediate when there are feuding parties and that is exactly what happened”.

He also said the reconciliation had nothing to do with the 2011 election.

Anonymous said...

Why I Reconciled Obasanjo, Atiku - Oyinlola
By Joe Omokaro (Lagos) Chesa Chesa and Alex Emeje (Abuja)

Osun State governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola, who brokered the reconciliation between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his former Deputy, Atiku Abubakar, was at the Villa in Abuja on Thursday where he denied that the move is to return Atiku to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and put him in pole position for the 2011 ballot.

Oyinlola told reporters - after attending a meeting of the Expanded Federation Account Allocation Committee - that the reconciliation is "in tune with the ethics of my own religion that one should always mediate when there are feuding parties; and that is exactly what happened.

"There is no way you can write the history of the PDP without Atiku's name featuring prominently because he is a founding member. Nobody has ever forgotten that. At no point have we forgotten that he is one of the builders of this great party and these differences have caused a separation and there is room for us to reconcile.

"Even those who have no stake in the PDP are working with President Umaru Yar'Adua for the progress of this country, how much more somebody who is a founding member of the PDP."

However, the meeting between Obasanjo and Atiku is said to be causing ripples in Action Congress (AC) on whose platform Atiku contested the Presidential election in 2007.

AC National Executive Committee planned a meeting for Thursday in Abuja with Atiku expected to attend.

A statement issued by his Media Office on Wednesday explained that "the two leaders decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country."

"The meeting was not about the 2011 Presidential election, not about the two of them but about the future of our beloved country. At a critical moment such as this in the life of a nation, great men and women must put aside political differences and work for the progress of the country."

AC National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, again weighed in on Thursday by dispelling the rumour of Atiku's return to the PDP.

He said AC has received firm assurances from Atiku that his visit to Obasanjo on Monday has nothing to do with any plan to return to the PDP.

He explained that the visit was as a result of pressure from friends, traditional rulers and others who said it is unfair for him to keep malice against Obasanjo.

Anonymous said...

Atiku shuns AC meeting
Written by Muideen Olaniyi
Friday, 23 January 2009

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar yesterday failed to turn up at a meeting of the Action Congress’ [AC] National Executive Committee [NEC] to explain his surprise visit to former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s Abeokuta house on Monday. Atiku’s spokesman however denied that Atiku was ever invited to the meeting, while AC’s leaders shied away from a direct confrontation with their presidential candidate in last year’s election, saying he broke no law in visiting Obasanjo.

AC’s National Publicity Secretary Alhaji Lai Mohammed, who spoke to newsmen soon after the party’s National Executive Council (NEC) meeting in Abuja, said Atiku’s visit to Obasanjo was legal. He said though Alhaji Atiku’s visit to Obasanjo’s house “offended the sensibility of many Nigerians as well as members of the party who believe that he ought not to have anything to do with Obasanjo,” Lai described it as a “misjudgement”, rather than a crime.

AC also ruled out the possibility of sanctioning the party’s presidential candidate in April 2007 general elections, saying nobody accused him of any ulterior motive. Lai said, “Let me make it clear, the vice president did not break any law of the Action Congress. So the issue of discipline does not arise. Like we said, it was a misjudgement and the only reason why the issue became so topical is because it offended the sensibility of members of the party and also many Nigerians who believe that he ought not to have anything to do with Obasanjo. But if anybody is expecting the party to discipline him, I mean, I think it would not be right because what would we say he has done?”

Asked to explain why Atiku did not attend the meeting despite the invitation extended to him, the party spokesman said, “You see, the former vice president is an ex-officio member of the exco and of course, he may have other issues that he has to attend to. But we do have his apology for not being able to come to this meeting.”

However, Atiku’s spokesman Malam Garba Shehu contradicted Lai Mohamed last night, telling Daily Trust that Atiku received no invitation to attend the meeting. He said, “The former Vice President is not a member of the AC NEC. It is made up of the national executive officers as well as the state chairmen and secretaries. No one invited him to attend this meeting. If anyone said he invited him, let him bring the letter of invitation, and who collected the letter.”

Mohammed however said at the press conference that the former vice president has no intention of leaving AC based on what he explained to the party’s National Chairman, Chief Bisi Akande.

He said even if the ex-vice president had lofty reasons for him to meet the former president, the party believed that “it was rather a misadventure because he did not consider the feelings of AC members.”

He recalled that Chief Obasanjo stoutly worked against AC’s victory during the last election and persecuted some members of the party.

The spokesman said, “It is true that our party the Action Congress has met and concluded the meeting of its National Executive Committee. Of course we did discuss mostly matters concerning the party and issues also of national importance. But I’m sure the one that would interest you most in what we discussed is the party’s position about the visit of our presidential candidate to the former President Obasanjo in Abeokuta on Monday.

“Yes we discussed it, the chairman led the discussion and he explained the circumstances that led to the visit and he assured members that he has the assurance of the vice president and he believed him that his visit to General Obasanjo was mostly as a result of pressure from many of his friends, his former political associates, including some traditional rulers and he sincerely felt that this pressure was getting too much and that is why he actually went to Abeokuta.

“Of course the party chairman succinctly let him know that it was a misjudgement on his part. Because as we said yesterday (Wednesday), our party does not restrict the movement of its members, neither do we choose who our members associate with. But at the same time we also made it clear that every member must look at the sensibility of party members in the choice of people they associate with.

“In particular, in the face of the visit to the former President Obasanjo, it is on record that General Obasanjo did everything to ensure that AC did not emerge victorious in the last elections. It is also on record that he pursued and persecuted many of our members largely because of the former president to take vintage position.

“So to that extent and the fact that even though the vice president had lofty reasons for him to meet the former president, we believe that it was rather a misadventure because he did not take into consideration how members would feel about it. The matter was thrown open and members expressed their displeasure. But one thing is clear, nobody accused him of any ulterior motive.

“As to the political undertone of the meeting, there was absolutely none. The issue of the former vice president going back to PDP was never discussed, it is not an issue and I can tell you that even right now….We believe that based on what the vice president told us that he has no intention whatsoever of going back to PDP.”

On reports that Atiku would soon join the PDP, he said: “This rumour of the Vice President going back to the PDP has been on for so long. About three months ago, there were posters everywhere in this country especially in the northern part of Nigeria. We have no reason to doubt the assurance the vice president has given us that he is not going to the PDP. However the VP could decide in his own wisdom to go to the PDP. The party when it gets to that bridge will know how to cross it.”

On the speculated moves to form a mega party, Lai said, “The issue of mega party was also discussed and the chairman tabled the issue and it was a unanimous decision of the house that we reach out to like minds in other political parties towards not just forming a mega party but probably to getting the federal government to make sure that we have a level playing ground in the next election. Because what is even probably more important in having the mega party is having a transparent electoral system that would guarantee a level playing ground for everybody.”

Earlier in his opening remarks, AC National Chairman Chief Bisi Akande said the party would consider credible political parties to work with during future elections, saying some parties are only existing to receive government subvention.

Akande said the party would be committed to ensuring that the country’s electoral system is healthy by submitting its inputs to the National Assembly for consideration.

“As regards coming together with the opposition, the office too has been working on it. The office realised that out of over 50 registered political parties in Nigeria, not more than ten can be boastful of any following in any of the over 700 local governments. We have identified them and we have tried to study the difference between these political parties.

“We are not bothered about the remaining political parties who are , may be, created with a view to making from Independent National Electoral Commission or indeed by Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leadership so that there will be no democracy in Nigeria. For whatever might be the motive, we may not want to associate with political parties that are having no following and no focus.

“But the office is identifying some of these political parties that are having focus and are having membership and followership. And very shortly, we want to start talking with them and we will need your inputs in the process and your support and approval,” Akande said.

On Atiku’s visit to Obasanjo, he stated: “It is true that our presidential candidate, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar had a meeting with Chief Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday. And it is true that the pressure for this meeting began immediately after the 2007 election.

It is true that the visit did not go well with many Nigerians and particularly with many members of our party....We will use part of today’s meeting to look at what shall be our relationship with individuals in this country and we will respect your opinion on the matter.”

Anonymous said...

...Atiku’s political camp in disarray over former VP’s visit to Obasanjo
•He is on his own – Osoba
By Taiwo Amodu
Thursday, January 22, 2009

• Atiku
Photo: Sun News Publishing

More Stories on This Section
Quote me: Atiku is on his own. None of us knows anything about this his new-found romance with Obasanjo. He did not tell me. He did not tell the party leadership at the national level. He did not tell the South-West leadership of the party. Even I who is from Ogun State, I was not taken into confidence”.

Those were the harsh words of Aremo Segun Osoba, former governor of Ogun State and a national leader of the Action Congress (AC), as he underscored the shock of the party’s hierarchy at Monday’s visit, to Obasanjo, of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar.

If national opinion is divided over Atiku’s controversial visit to the Abeokuta home of his estranged former boss, General Olusegun Obasanjo, the feeling within Atiku’s political family, in the AC, has been that of betrayal, even though many party faithful still appear to be threading cautiously on the issue.

More pained by this seeming betrayal are the likes of Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, former senate president, former minister, and head of Atiku’s presidential campaign. Ayu a staunch loyalist of Atiku, DAILY SUN gathered, was actually billed to travel out of the country with the ex-VP, but the trip was suddenly cancelled from the Atiku end. Ayu was said to have been informed of the cancellation but was not given the reason for it. Unknown to him, the trip may have been put off to enable the ex-VP attend the Abeokuta parley with Obasanjo.

Also left in the dark about the visit was Sen. Ben Obi, Atiku’s running mate in the 2007 presidential election. Other key AC chieftains and Atiku associates who only heard of the visit from media reports were Chief Tom Ikimi, Osoba, Alhaji Lawal Keita, AC chairman Chief Bisi Akande and even Chief Audu Ogbeh.

Painfully too, few days before this controversial visit, many of these party chieftains were said to have been with the VP in his Ikoyi, Lagos, residence where they reviewed events in the polity and even castigated Obasanjo for leaving the country in such a big mess. Atiku did not even broach the issue of a planned meeting with Obasanjo. He did not take them into confidence.

It was, therefore, a rude shock to most of them that their host did not only make a u-turn few days later, but also went ahead to actually visit the former president.

Why visit?
Just as Atiku associates are shocked and angry at the visit, they have also been left second-guessing as to the reason for the visit. Osoba said that he could not be bothered, as the visit was basically an Atiku agenda. If it were in the interest of the country or the party, he insisted, Turaki would have thought it necessary to raise it with other people. Osoba said that none of the leaders of the party or those of them in the south west was carried along. “Even me who is from Ogun state was not in the know”, the AC chieftain restated, adding that it would be unwise to begin to conjecture what might have happened behind closed doors.

However, DAILY SUN gathered that the visit might have been in furtherance of Obasanjo’s desperation to forge new alliances against an increasingly ‘recalcitrant’ President Yar’Adua.
Contrary to the façade being put up before the public, Obasanjo is said not to be too happy with his successor whom he said has not been acting according to the script that informed his choice as president.

For instance, the former president is said to believe that his protégé has not covered his (Obasanjo’s) tracks enough, as the president has failed to rein in agents of his administration in their seeming determination to deal with Obasanjo, Obasanjo boys and other associates.
Similarly, the Ota farmer is said to be also piqued that Yar’Adua has failed to continue the policy of dealing with Obasanjo opponents like former governors Orji Uzor Kalu and James Ibori, but has instead, continued to court and fraternize with them.

OBJ who was said to be longing to retire into the role of a democratic monarch: quitting office, but never really leaving power (like the Vladimir Putin model in Russia), has increasingly become disillusioned with the way President Umaru Ya’Adua has stubbornly refused to play ball.

A close associate of the former president had once confessed to Daily Sun that if Obasanjo knew Yar’Adua would turn out as unmalleable as he now is, he would not have ensured the emergence of the former Katsina governor as president. He said “Obasanjo always knew that Yar’Adua was a good listener, but what he did not know was the man always played his card close to his chest, and you would not know what is in his mind until he has taken the action”.

So, according to the source, OBJ has been shopping for new friends and more formidable allies – both within and outside of the PDP, as a counterforce against the increasingly stubborn Yar’Adua. That was where Atiku became a possible tool for the foxy General.

Incidentally, aides of the ex-VP had given the reverse of this argument as the real reason for the visit. One of them who had confessed that he first heard of the visit when DAILY SUN sought his reaction on Monday later called back to explain that the visit, facilitated by Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, was part of the process of resolving several of the political problems in the country. He said OBJ had tried to reach Atiku through different avenues without success.

He said the pressure had become so persistent that the former VP had to, as a patriotic duty, honour the invitation ‘so that he would not be seen as standing in the way of any genuine effort to bring about peace and tranquility in the polity.

But the curious aspect is that he never hinted at the development to any of his associates.

Return to PDP
There has always been talk of Atiku returning to the PDP, from where he had left to found the Action Congress in the run-up to the general elections of 2007. “The whole purpose of the visit is that Atiku is going back to the PDP”, the source insisted.

The recent visit may have further underscored that possibility.
However, there is also the fear of what would happen to the nation, its politics and the future of the opposition if he eventually dumps AC – especially, against the backdrop of the same PDP also trying to lure former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu.

A track record of u-turns
But many of those who have followed the politics of Atiku over the years say they are not in any way surprised at the recent turn of events. A former associates who left the PDP to the AC, but soon returned to the ruling party recalled how, in 2003, Atiku had left many of his followers marooned midstream when he retreated from the push to halt Obasanjo’s re-election effort.

Hear him: “In 2003, everyone wanted OBJ out. Atiku backed us, albeit discreetly. The PDP governors, most of who were also Atiku people, stuck out their necks. Even IBB, a known political adversary of Atiku’s, endorsed the move. But just when we were preparing to give it a final push, Atiku suddenly reached a compromise with Obasanjo and backed out, leaving everyone in the cold”.

According to the PDP chieftain, “it was this action of his (Atiku’s) that basically opened up the flanks of those governors and marked the beginning of their problems with Obasanjo. For after the imperial president found his feet again, he began to go after the governors. People like Kalu, James Ibori and (Diepreye) Alamieyeseigha paid very heavy price for it. And Atiku could not raise a finger to help them. He literally set them up at the warfront and then withdrew from behind them”.

According to the PDP chieftain, what Atiku did in 2003 is about to repeat itself. He has led his associates in AC and other places to stick out their necks in battling Obasanjo, and now, he has left them on their own while he goes to negotiate his own individual future.
“If the move was really for patriotic reason, why could he not take some of them into confidence? Why could he not take one of them along with him?

But the PDP chieftain who only returned to the party after Obasanjo had left office said the Turaki may have misfired on this latest move. “Unfortunately for him, he was dealing with a smarter fox”. He continued: “While Atiku probably thought it was going to be a clandestine meeting, his hosts had a full team waiting. For effect, they had also leaked the meeting and venue to the press. So, when Atiku emerged from the Hilltop Mansion, he walked into a battery of media cameras – which also explained why he seemed to stutter on his mission to the place.

Now, it is whatever the Obasanjo camp says transpired at the meeting that the world would believe. It would be Atiku’s word against that of 10 or 12 others.

Future of opposition
If, according to the suspicions, Atiku eventually returns to the PDP, it would then mean that the only credible opposition left to check PDP’s drive for a one-party state would be Peoples Progressive Alliance (PPA), built around Kalu, and whatever is left of the Buhari faction of the ANPP (which is considering to float a totally different party).

Incidentally, it was believed to be this trait of leading out people on political warfare and abandoning them mid-stream that led to the emergence of the PPA.

When AC was being formed, the promoters of the then new party were said to have approached Kalu and his associates to join but the latter had expressed reservations, fearing that they just might be, once again, abandoned midstream when it mattered most. That convinced Kalu to go it alone since he was consistent, and more committed to the task of providing a credible alternative to the PDP .

Anonymous said...

US Bribery Scandal: Why OBJ, Atiku Met-PM News
Thursday, 22 January 2009 11:53 Sahara Reporter

Contrary to the speculation that the meeting between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy, Atiku Abubakar, on Monday, in Abeokuta, was to mend fences and pave the way for Atiku’s return to the PDP, P.M.News can reveal that there was more to the hurried meeting than what the public believes.

Our investigation has revealed that the meeting was convened by the former leaders to find a common response to the investigation allegedly being carried out on them by America’s Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), regarding the bribery scandal involving global telecommunications giant, Siemens.

The company is being investigated in America for suspicious payments of $12.7 million for four projects with about $4.5 million paid as bribes to government officials during the Obasanjo administration, for the award of contract by the Nigeria Telecommunications Limited.

The United State’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) put the value of the four contracts at about $130 million. Report by the SEC revealed that the bribes were paid into the US bank account of a former vice president’s wife, in Potomac, Maryland.

According to the SEC complaint; “The vice president’s wife, a dual U.S.-Nigerian citizen living in the United States, served as the representative of a business consultant that entered into fictitious business consultant agreements to perform ‘supply, installation, and commissioning’ services, but did no actual work for Siemens. The purpose of these payments was to bribe government officials.

“Other corrupt payments included the purchase of approximately $172,000 (N17.3m) worth of watches for Nigerian officials, designated in internal Siemens records as ‘P’ and ‘V.P’, likely referring to the President and Vice President of Nigeria.”

Sources said, in the wake of this ongoing investigation, Atiku and Obasanjo could not travel to America to witness the inauguration of president Barack Obama, on Tuesday, because they were not sure of the fate that awaited them in America.

We also gathered that the investigation has forced the former vice president and his US-based wife to relocate from their home in highbrow Potomac, Maryland, USA, to Dubai, in the United Arab Emirate.

Meanwhile, Atiku has explained why he visited Obasanjo on Monday, this week, saying that his love for Nigeria and its progress necessitated the visit. According to a statement by Atiku’s media office yesterday, the fear that unresolved “political feuds and petty elite bickering will continue to undermine the country’s political and economic progress led both men to resolve to work with other patriots and statesmen to address critical national challenges.

“The meeting was not about the 2011 presidential election as some people have misinterpreted it. The two leaders decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country.

“It was not about the two of them. It is about the future of our beloved country. At a critical moment such as this, in the life of a nation, great men and women must put aside political differences and work for the progress of the country. This is the context in which the Abeokuta meeting should be seen by all well-meaning Nigerians.

“Republican presidential candidate, John McCain, sat down one-on-one, in November, in Chicago, for a meeting with the man who defeated him in the U.S. election, president-elect Obama. They talked about how they could work together to solve America’s economic and social problems. They realised that the country is bigger than both of them.

“Nigeria is bigger than all of us, and true national leaders must be prepared to make personal sacrifices in the interest of the nation.”

There has been speculation that Atiku, who was the AC presidential candidate in the 2007 election, was gearing up to return to PDP ahead of the 2011 polls and the visit to Obasanjo was seen by many as a move to reconcile with his former boss and pave the way for the 2011 political contest.

Consequently, the visit has ruffled many feathers even within his political camp in AC and has remained a subject of debate in both the AC and the PDP.

Anonymous said...

Photos From The Witches' Dance By Sonala Olumhense
Sunday, 25 January 2009 00:16 By Sonala Olumhense
EVERYONE is talking about one photograph. It shows our former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, alongside the man who was on the People's Democratic Party ticket with him in 1999 and 2003, Atiku Abubakar.

But the gasp of horror that went round the world when the photograph was published last week was not about the image itself. It is about the date: January 19, 2009. In theory, the picture comes only one and a half years after both men left office. Actually, the picture taken last week of Atiku and Obasanjo at the latter's Abeokuta home comes five or six years after they abandoned any pretence to governance and began the mud-wrestling that showed Nigeria the depths of our decay.

Obasanjo wanted a third term in office; Atiku did his best to make sure that did not happen. Atiku wanted to succeed Obasanjo in office; Obasanjo made sure that did not happen. As their second term wore on, Obasanjo had his VP investigated, first by an administrative panel led by Bayo Ojo, and then by the pro-Obasanjo Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) superintended by Nuhu Ribadu. Both bodies found Atiku guilty on every count that would make the boss happy.

As Obasanjo and his VP called each other a thief and a liar, Atiku was steadily isolated from the government, and his key staff fired. Looking further afield, Obasanjo made sure the electoral commission disqualified Atiku from running for the presidency, although the court eventually permitted him to run.

In the skirmish, it turned out that between both men, vast funds under the control of the Petroleum Development Trust Fund had largely been used in the manner of a cookie jar without a cover. Obasanjo found Atiku guilty of diverting its funds into local banks and to promote private interests such as Netlink Digital Television and Globacom.

The VP, we remember, fought back aggressively. He accused Obasanjo, among others, of the forgery of a N61 million cheque being used against him. He also published photocopies of cancelled cheques to prove how "Obasanjo, his family, businesses, and native community...benefitted tremendously from money deposited in the accounts he is now dissociating himself from." In one account alone, said Atiku, funds were taken out for Obasanjo's Africa Leadership Forum and the Obasanjo Campaign Organization; over N100 million was paid to a construction company owned by Obasanjo; buses were bought for Obasanjo's Bells Comprehensive High School, and cars were given to women of the President's choosing.

That was in three years ago. One of them was shunted aside from power, while the other left in bitterness in 2007, unable to realize his fantasies of a third term. The only thing they have shared since then is avoidance. And then, suddenly this week, they fall back into each other's arms, saying it is in the interest of Nigeria?

If Yar'Adua were well enough to tell the time of day, he would have had both men arrested. While they are free to meet, as citizens of the federal republic, what they admit to: dissatisfaction with the state of the nation, is an insult even to a government as helpless as we have, and to the nation. It is an Area Boys' equivalent of a coup d'etat.

Perhaps both men know just how "bad" the government of Yar'Adua is-the one from Dubai and the other from the Congo. Perhaps both men truly know just how bad Yar'Adua's health is. But they are a key part of how we got here in the first place. And this is usually how the political salvation game starts: "patriotic" soldiers who know how "bad" things are, who then conspire to "save" the country. I would rather roast in hell than another heaven of Obasanjo's design.

Strangely, if there was anything Obasanjo succeeded at in his eight years, it was in reorganizing the military so as to make sure there were no more coups. But he would then take steps to accomplish the dubious objectives not only to set the country back, but to ensure it could neither rise nor come after him. It is easy to prove that he left our nation worse than he found it. He then left the estate in the hands of a sick, complicated man with no idea what is going on. Now, why does Obasanjo want to "save" Nigeria from his very accomplishments?

If Obasanjo's motivation is curious, that of Atiku is tragic. He cuts the image of a pathetic man who is grasping at every scent in the wind to lead him into the precincts of power. That he would leave his home and head for Obasanjo's, given even a sliver of the things that have happened between them, makes writing his political epitaph an easy assignment.

But while they may make gorillas of each other, neither should fool Nigerians. As a PM News story made clear on Thursday, the real reason for their meeting was not Nigeria, but mutual survival. As America's Federal Bureau of Investigations of the Siemens bribery scandal wears on relentlessly, the agency is reported to be close to pin-pointing the officials of the Obasanjo administration who received $4.5 million in bribes. As has been previously reported, some of the bribes were paid into the account of a wife of a former Vice-President. In addition, some officials-designated as 'P' and 'V.P.' in Siemens' records-also received watches worth about $172,000.

This is what has driven both men together. There is no Nigerian that Obasanjo loves so much he would forgive him the things Atiku disclosed in 2006. None. There is no country or child or woman that he loves that much. None. Yet, while both men are practically untouchable in Nigeria, they have found themselves to be together in the same foreign minefield. And this is happening at a time Obasanjo is trying to rehabilitate his image internationally, as a statesman.

On Monday, without meaning to be profound, the 'facilitator' of the meeting, Osun State's Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola, captured the Abeokuta event in a Yoruba adage. "When two witches dance," he told reporters, "a man does not go there to watch."

What does he do? Stay tuned, I think.


Your patient returns to you this week, wherever you are. Before he does, it is time to tell you your diagnosis is wrong. You are making no progress because you are looking at the wrong side of the man.

Here is help: When he shows up this time, set him on his stomach and check his back thoroughly, from the base of his neck down. I predict you will find firewood where his spine is supposed to be. That would explain, for instance, why he would so casually throw the doors of Aso Rock open to a combined visit of almost all the indicted governors: Abdulkadir Kure; Ayo Fayose, Abdul Attah, Bola Tinubu, and their leader, Lucky Igbinedion.

Yes, I saw that picture too. Before you return the man to us, may God spare his life, kindly replace the firewood with fiberglass. And don't forget the anti-hypocrisy medication.

Anonymous said...

Obasanjo, Atiku showcase newfound friendship at Yar‘Adua daughter’s wedding
By Ihuoma Chiedozie
Published: Sunday, 25 Jan 2009
Previously sworn enemies, former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy, former Vice-President Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, publicly displayed their newfound romance on Saturday at the wedding of President Umaru Yar‘Adua‘s daughter in Katsina.

Skip to next paragraph

L - R: Obasanjo, Atiku

Obasanjo and Abubakar drove in the same vehicle to the ceremony which attracted several leading members of the Nigerian political and business society.

Former military President Gen. Ibrahim Babangida, who was present at the occasion, was equally in the same vehicle which also conveyed Yar‘Adua and Vice-President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan to the venue around 3:30 pm.

Senate President, Sen. David Mark, and his counterpart in the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole, were also in attendance.

Also in attendance were some former chieftains of the Peoples Democratic Party, including former Minister of Works and Chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, Chief Tony Anenih, former Senate President, Adolphus Wabara, former governor of Rivers, Peter Odili, erstwhile Senator and former governorship aspirant in Imo State , Senator Ifeanyi Araraume and former Transport Minister, Dr. Abiye Sekibo.

However, not all the 36 state governors attended the lavish ceremony.

State governors present at the occasion include those of Sokoto, Niger, Kano, Osun, Kogi, Kwara, Adamawa and Borno states.

The deputy governors of Yobe and Kebbi represented their governors.

Some former governors and members of the Federal Executive Council were also present.

These include the former Governor of Jigawa State, Senator Saminu Turaki, and Secretary to the Government of the Federation, Alhaji Ahmed Yayale and the Chief Economic Adviser to the president, Tanimu Kurfi.

Others include the Minister of Defence Ibrahim Shetima; Minister of Agriculture and Water resources, Abba Ruma; Minister of State for Petroleum, Odein Ajumogobia; Minister of State for Information and Communications, Ikira Aliyu; National Security Adviser Gen. Abdullahi Seriki Mukhtar.

Also present was the former Governor of Kano State Alhaji Abubakar Rimi, Nigeria Ambassador to South Africa, Gen. Buba Marwa (rtd) ; former Chief Justice of the Federation, Justice Mohammed Uwais; the immediate past Group Managing Director of the NNPC, Abubakar Yar’Adua, and PDP chieftain, Chief Olabode George.

Former Inspector-General of Police, Ibrahim Coomasie, Owelle Rochas Okorocha, and Chief Kenny Martins of the Police Equipment Fund fame were also in attendance.

Members of the Nigerian business community including Alhaji Aliko Dangote, were also in attendance.

Yar‘Adua gave out his daughter, Nafisa, in marriage to Bauchi State Governor, Mallam Isa Yuguda at a ceremony in the Yar‘Adua family house along Nagogo road within the Yar‘Adua quarters of Katsina City.

The wedding was conducted by the Chief Imam of Katsina, Alhaji Lawal

Anonymous said...

2011 Intrigues: Atiku Seeks PDP Ticket

• His Political Career Is Over - Isyaku Ibrahim • It’s Not True - Garba Shehu • Ben Obi, Atiku’s Running Mate, Shocked
By James Ume, Abuja
January 25th, 2009

Although the 2011 presidential election is still two years away, intrigues are building up and have begun to heat up the polity. The same characters that have dominated the political field since 1998 have not given up. Early last week, Atiku Abubakar visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his Abeokuta home. There have been several denials and speculations on the motive behind the visit. But a source close to Atiku told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that the former vice president is warming up to run for president in 2011 under the ruling party's ticket. It is a prospect that is currently rocking the PDP and giving the incumbent leader, President Umaru Musa Yar'Adua, sleepless nights. The source said that Yar'Adua, due to his health challenges, may not run in 2011 and that last week’s meeting between Atiku and Obasanjo was to prepare the stage for Atiku's eventual emergence as the nation's next president.

But Garba Shehu, Atiku’s media man, has denied the insinuation, noting that although Atiku will contest the 2011 presidential poll, there is no talk yet about the party under which he will run. He said Atiku himself did not indicate whether he would run on the AC ticket. According to Shehu, the AC itself is undergoing changes and may change its name in future to accomodate other parties. He said Atiku is still in AC.

In a reaction yesterday, a founding father of the PDP, Isyaku Ibrahim, noted that Atiku’s calculations are "simplistic and unrealistic," stressing that the former VP's political career has been ruined by the visit.

Ibrahim said: "Atiku exhibited naiveté to think that PDP would give him the ticket in 2011. No serious politician would consider such a person worthy of the party's ticket. Atiku's best bet was to build the AC. But if he thinks some funny governors who said they are controlling the party would get him the ticket, he is joking and naïve. He is just an opportunist; if he tries it I will work against him. Not just me but those he betrayed. Atiku had close political confidants and followership that he didn't even inform about his meeting with Obasanjo. That shows he lacks principles. Remember, many people left the PDP for his sake, and only for him to do this? He didn't even have the common decency to tell his running mate in the last election, neither did he consult his associates."

On the explanation given by both Atiku and Obasanjo over the meeting, Isyaku said: " That is preposterous. If Obasanjo said they met to help this country, was he not the one who destroyed Nigeria in the first place? They were there together; what did they do? He brought Nigeria to its knees. In some countries like China, Obasanjo would have been publicly executed. But I don't blame them. Atiku and Obasanjo are not politicians. I consider their meeting as that of a retired soldier and a customs officer. Not men schooled in hard politics. Real politics is too serious for this kind of mockery."

Last Thursday, Atiku shunned his party, the Action Congress, which held its NEC meeting in Abuja. For many observers, this was a clear sign that Atiku was prepared to dump the AC, the party that failed to win for him the presidential election held in April 2007. Atiku's spokesperson explained that his principal was not a member of the NEC. But a source confided in LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that Atiku’s running mate in the last election, Ben Obi, was shocked at the reported meeting between Obasanjo and Atiku, saying that he was not contacted.

Yar'Adua's precarious position

Perharps owing to Yar’Adua’s health profile and other considerations, pundits wonder if he would be fielded by his party come 2011. Conspiracy theories abound, but the foremost is that Obasanjo himself is not disposed to supporting a second term for the incumbent. A source noted that from the meeting of Atiku and Obasanjo, it is clear that " Yar'Adua's goose is cooked".

The source noted that even Yar'Adua himself knows that he is not going to run for a second term, stressing that shortly after he returned to the country from the U.S. Atiku hinted that he would run for the 2011 presidential race, a fact which Yar'Adua himself acknowledged. This was when the Supreme Court was yet to deliver judgement on the appeal he filed challenging the election of President Yar'Adua.

The declaration of interest to run for the 2011 presidential election, according to another Atiku confidant, meant that Atiku had already conceded defeat, "having known the outcome of the judgement of the apex court before it was delivered. By implication, it meant he must have had some sort of agreement with both the president and his men".

Continuing, he said: "Those people you see that are not disposed to Atiku's coming back to the PDP are people that were not privy to the series of meetings held on this issue. They are the ones that are also benefiting from the current administration, and that is why they want to force Yar'Adua to stay behind and have a second term against his wish. If they understood the politics that has been going on for some time now, they would not be against his return to the party. I believe a section of the leadership of the party is aware of this agreement and they can never oppose it."

A divided PDP

Following the confusion engendered by the meeting of two foes, former President Obasanjo and his former deputy Atiku Abubakar, the leadership of the PDP is completely divided over the anticipated return of Atiku to the party.

Atiku, a founding member of the PDP, dumped the party for the AC, under which platform he hoisted his presidential ambition in 2007. He left the PDP during the heat of his face-off with his former boss, Obasanjo.

Surprisingly, Atiku paid a courtesy visit to Obasanjo at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State, Monday, and he was led by a PDP governor, Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State.

A statement issued on Wednesday by the Atiku media office in Abuja explained that "the meeting was not about the 2011 presidential election as some people have misinterpreted it. The two leaders decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies, and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country". But leaders of the PDP who confided in LEADERSHIP SUNDAY revealed that "this is purely part of the preparation of grounds for him (Atiku) to come back to the PDP".

A member of the current National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, who pleaded anonymity because the party has not taken a position on the visit, told LEADERSHIP SUNDAY that "the meeting is basically part of the re-alignments for the 2011 presidential election. Nigerians should not be deceived by any section or person that it was to look into the state of the nation that the two leaders met. No. It is purely part of the programmes that will usher Akitu back to the party, before or after the convention which will hold any moment from now".

"Already, this move has started generating bad blood in the rank and file of our party. Many of our members see it as a stab on the back of Yar'Adua by Obasanjo. Some of the leaders are thinking this might be part of the plot to stop Yar'Adua from getting a second-term ticket. This group to which I belong will fight to frustrate the ambition of the former number two citizen," the source said.

Going by the provisions of the constitution of the PDP, Atiku needs a membership period of at least two years to be eligible to contest for the presidency on its platform.

Another source who spoke to our correspondent noted that Atiku's trip to Ota was self-serving and aimed towards achieving his life-long ambition to be the president of Nigeria.

Noting that there was noting wrong in his coming back to the party he helped to form, a ranking officer of the Senate, who preferred anonymity, stated: "This is the time we have been waiting for. It is now that the business of politicking will start in earnest. The present administration, which has seemed rather lukewarm in the discharge of her duties, will now know that if it does not perform, another agile person is waiting next door to kick her out. The 2011 election will be based purely on performance. There's no way Yar'Adua will have an automatic return ticket. He must convince the people that he deserves it through his performances.

"Yes, he might feel betrayed by Obasanjo, but what he is doing is a complete embarrassment not only to Obasanjo, who helped a great deal to bring him to power, but also to our great party and its leadership. The president seems to have lost focus on all areas and he is taking the country over 20 years behind where Obasanjo left it, and people expect him (Obasanjo) to keep mute.

"What Atiku did was the most appropriate thing to do and that is what we advised him to do. The party leadership is already aware of the development and they are making the necessary preparations to receive him when he finally returns."

Anonymous said...

Atiku Abubakar: Return of PDP’s bride
Sunday, January 25, 2009

• Atiku and his former boss
Photo: Sun News Publishing

More Stories on This Section
Cherubic-faced former Vice-President and presidential candidate of the Action Congress, Atiku Abubakar, is a study in complexity. The former customs officer never stops hitting the headlines. While in power as Nigeria’s number two man, he was always in the news - for both positive and negative reasons. After a moment of lay-off, he stormed back to the front burner last Sunday, as he paid a surprised visit to the Abeokuta Hilltop home of his estranged boss, Olusegun Obasanjo.

The visit, coming after several speculations that he might return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), which he abandoned for the precocious Action Congress (AC), was a shocker.

But after the two-hour meeting with Obasanjo, ‘Turakin Adamawa’ came out prevaricating on the possibility of his return to PDP. He was quoted as saying, "that (returning to PDP) is for a later time." He then attempted to rewrite history by claiming that he had no quarrel with Obasanjo. To him, "there is (was) no personal animosity between me and the ex-president. We had a political disagreement. It could even happen between father and son. So we are back as political associates."
His media team also explained that the visit was an attempt by the politician to bury long-standing animosity and nothing political.

The sudden rapprochement between Obasanjo and his estranged deputy would however not catch keen watchers of happenings in the AC by surprise. Those in the know will readily volunteer that the possibility of Atiku returning to the PDP has always been a source of apprehension to the hierarchy of the AC. They will secretly say that he was about to be sent out by the growing influence of former Lagos Governor, Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu.

Atiku’s rise to prominence
Atiku’s rise to national prominence was not sudden. He was an ardent follower of the late Gen Shehu Yar’Adua. He faithfully understudied the former Chief of Staff to Obasanjo and was anointed his successor of the powerful Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM) after the unfortunate demise of the Yar’Adua in the hands of Abacha goons.

At the Jos primary of the Defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) in 1992, Atiku, buoyed by the PDM, had contested the SDP’s presidential ticket against late Bashorun MKO Abiola. The battle was titanic as a lot of political horse-trading and arm-twisting was deployed before Abiola emerged. Part of the deal was that Atiku would be vice president, but the late Concord Press publisher’s camp later reneged and picked Ambassador Babagana Kingibe instead.

In 1998, Atiku bided to be the governor of his home state - Adamawa. He won, but as fate would have it, the PDM, which was a major component of the all-conquering PDP, beckoned on him to be Obasanjo’s vice. He concurred and contested the election on the same ticket with Obasanjo. The election was won with Atiku crisis-crossing the North and convincing skeptics that an Obasanjo presidency won’t be against Northern interest.

The break up
The relationship between the two was smooth until some hawks close to Obasanjo started whispering untoward things about Atiku into his ears. Up until then, Atiku was like the executive vice-president, being the real politician at the villa. He was well consulted about very appointment and he had the president’s ears on almost every issue. But after Obasanjo’s mind was poisoned against his vice, the former president systematically felled the trees that represented Abubakar’s political strength. Those that refused to be felled were literally set ablaze.

Many of Atiku’s loyalists in government were fanned out. Audu Ogbeh, the erstwhile National Chairman of the PDP who was very close to Atiku, had to resign at gun-point. Minister and Special Advisers perceived to be close to the vice-president were relieved of their jobs.

Many of Atiku’s political allies who worked for the success of the Obasanjo/Atiku ticket in 1999 were shoved aside. State governors believed to be loyal to Atiku were automatically marked enemies.
It was at the height of this in-house intrigues that the 2002 PDP primaries arrived. Some loyalists of Atiku, allegedly wanted Obasanjo to adopt the Mandela option. The option was for Obasanjo not to seek a second term after spending four years but should back his vice. Nelson Mandela, despite popular South-African opinion, did that by backing his Vice, Thabo Mbeki, as his successor.
Obasanjo did not consider that option funny and vowed to get even with the proponents of the idea. Atiku’s group, sensing that Obasanjo was toying with the idea of dropping the Adamawa politician, encouraged him to contest the presidential ticket of the party against Obasanjo.

Buoyed by the support, Atiku picked nomination form, indicating his desire to run against Obasanjo. He later changed his mind and allowed Obasanjo another bite of the presidential cherry. Obasanjo’s ego was hurt, but he kept his cool and bided his time.

Close political watchers likened Atiku’s last minute capitulation to the error of an inexperienced boxer who refused to deliver the knock-out punch even when his opponent was groggy and his back on the rope. It was an unforgiving Obasanjo that won the 2003 presidential election.

Obasanjo/Atiku fight
The unity between Obasanjo and Atiku gave way to cut-throat animosity soon after Obasanjo won his second term. Obasanjo first abolished the bureaucratic office of the Vice President and subsumed it under his office, controlling budget and expenditure of the Vee-Pee. Obasanjo also sacked several of Atiku’s aides suspected to be responsible for the larger-than-life image of the Vice President. He sacked Dr. Deolu Akande, Atiku’s Special Assistance (Research and Communication Strategy), Mallam Shehu Garba, Mr. Chris Mamah and Shima Ayati. Major General Jaffar Isa and Professor Sam Oyovbaire were equally sacked from serving the Vice President.

Dr Onukaba Adinoyi-Ojo also was also axed as a consequence of his defence of Atiku over allegations that he (Atiku) benefited from the controversial sales of government houses in Ikoyi, Lagos.
While the cold war lasted, Obasanjo once accused his deputy of disloyalty and also made the Adamawa-born politician to go through hell before he revalidated his membership of the PDP.
Atiku, too, was not ready to be rubbished without raising a finger. He pilloried the implementation of the regime’s economic policies, asking that it be allowed to have a human face. Atiku was also at the vanguard of those who scuttled plans by the Presidency to elongate his tenure through the amendment of the 1999 constitution. The Vice President teamed up with politicians of like minds to frustrate the amendment of the document by aborting the entire exercise at the first reading.

Obasanjo was however unrelenting in his resolve to destroy Atiku’s political ambition. He let loose Nuhu Ribadu’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC) on his vice and that commission concocted some filth about Atiku.

The anti-graft agency authored a damning report on Atiku over the alleged poor oversight function he performed at the Petroleum Technology Development Fund (PTDF).

The EFCC specifically alleged that Atiku used his influence at the PTDF to enrich some of his friends by lodging government funds in two commercial banks. Ribadu’s EFCC accused the former Vice President of deliberately depositing $20 million at the then Trans International Bank (TIB) to speed up the advancement of a N1.5 billion facility to Johnson Fasawe, and also deposited another $115 million at Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB) so that Mike Adenuga, the owner of the bank, could pay for the Second National Carrier (SNC). Both Fasawe and Adenuga were said to be friends to the Vice-President.

Atiku was dazed by the allegations and reacted angrily, alleging that the report was a cocktail of lies and distortions designed to discredit him ahead of the 2007 polls and avenge his opposition to the President’s attempt to elongate his tenure beyond 2007.
But Obasanjo was not done. He released a set of salvo, claiming that Atiku was not addressing the issues raised in the EFCC reports but that he was just raking up sentiments. To further buttress his argument, Obsanjo released five photocopies of Cheque leaves allegedly paid to Atiku from the Marine Float account operated by Fasawe.

Expectedly, Atiku fought back, releasing documents to show that Obasanjo was lying over his claims that he (Obasanjo) knew nothing about the said account, saying that the account was one of the three held in trust for the Presidency for the prosecution of the 2003 election. He alleged that Obasanjo withdrew N3billion from the account, alleging that one of his aides, Bodunde Adeyanju, handled the transaction.

Romance with AC
Sensing that the PDP, under Ahmadu Ali as the chairman, would not offer him a level playing ground, Atiku signaled to his allies in PDP to ship out to other parties. They floated pseudo-parties like the Movement for the Restoration and Defence of Democracy (MRDD) and ACD and later coalesced into the AC.

Atiku dumped the PDP and declared his intention to run against his former party on the AC platform. His decision immediately enraged Obasanjo, who attempted to use the provisions of the 1999 constitution to strip Atiku his immunity preparatory for his trial over the PTDF saga. It was the Supreme Court that saved the Adamawa politician the hassle.

Dangerous under-currents in AC
Those close to the hierarchy of the AC would readily attest that the latest rapprochement by Atiku was not completely unexpected. Though party leaders would not openly admit it, there exits a crack between them and their presidential candidate.

Atiku is seen by some party leaders and chieftains as keeping too much to the crop of politicians that crossed over with him from the PDP. One of the leaders confided in Sunday Sun that, "The man (Atiku) does not mix with anyone at all. It is the same set of people that he came with that he is always seeing and that is not good for integration and cohesion. He says is the Presidential candidate of the party and he did not even bother to call or send text messages to the many gubernatorial and senatorial candidates of the party still pursuing their cases in the various states. If those people win their cases, how will he relate with them as governors or senators? As the presidential candidate, you have to carry everyone along, but he is not doing that."

Sunday Sun learnt that this particular issue had been raised by some of the candidates and even party chieftains, which explains why he (Atiku) was at the birthday ceremonies of the national chairman of the party, Bisi Akande and that of former Oyo State governor, Lam Adesina.

The source also disclosed that the Adamawa politician is not at ease with the larger-than-life image of former Lagos governor, Bola Ahmed Tinubu, in the party. According to the source, the initial point of departure between the two was over the insistence by Atiku to pursue to a logical conclusion, his petition against President Umaru Yar’Adua, a decision Tinubu was reported to be against.

To him, "Asiwaju did not like the idea of pursuing it (election petition) to a logical conclusion. He believes that God gives power to whoever He desires and he has given it to Yar’Adua, so Atiku should accept it as an act of God; but Atiku won’t have that at all, and Tinubu allowed him to continue. Initially it was Tinubu that was coordinating the lawyers handling the cases, but at some point he withdrew and allowed Atiku to carry his can. Atiku was not happy that Tinubu did not give him total support while the case lasted. He is yet to get over it."

The source added that Atiku is also not happy that the former Lagos governor is fast emerging the de facto leader of the party with his influence and strategic movements. "He can’t be happy that everything good coming to the AC is coming through Tinubu. AC just won Edo State and we know it was Tinubu that powered it. Soon, he will add Ondo to it and don’t forget Asiwaju delivered Lagos while Atiku couldn’t deliver his Adamawa. He knows that soon the question of contribution to the party would be asked and he will lose out," he noted.

AC reaction to the visit
If the leadership of the AC was shocked by the visit, they did not display it. They put up a bold face. The party in a statement by its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, noted that the visit does not necessary translate to an imminent exit of Atiku from the AC.

The party said as a democratic organisation, it does not restrict the movement or determine the choice of friends of its members, adding that Obasanjo merely used the visit by his former deputy to shore up his sagging national image.

The party said: "We have since been assured by Atiku that he has no intention whatsoever of going back to the PDP or realigning politically with Obasanjo, despite the ill-fated visit, and we have no cause to doubt the assurance." It then sent some word of assurance to its members that the leadership of the party is intact, along with its Presidential candidate.
Governor Adams Oshiomhole of Edo State also dismissed the visit as "a non-issue because it is a visit between two old friends."

Former governor of Anambra State, Dr. Chris Ngige, also insisted that it was just "personal visit that has nothing to do with decamping. He is free to visit anyone and we as AC members are not ruffled at all."

Former Ogun State governor, Segun Osoba, apparently shocked by the development, said he was not aware of the visit.

AC reaction
The AC after its National Executive Council (NEC) meeting expressed worries over the renewed friendship between Atiku and Obasanjo explaining that the visit inflicted injury on the ego of its members nationwide.

Its National Publicity Secretary, Lai Mohammed, added that though the party believed that Atiku is not on his way to the PDP, he nevertheless noted that "Members of the National Executive Committee expressed displeasure over the meeting…Even though Atiku could have lofty reasons for the visit, at the same time, the NEC members believed that every member of the party should look at the sensibility in their relationship with anybody."

He added that although the party was not ready regulate the choice of friends of its members, it is of the view that "the wounds and humiliation inflicted on the AC by the Obasanjo administration were largely due to the 'war' between him (Obasanjo) and Alhaji Atiku, its (AC) members should be wary and should realise that it is not in the collective interest of the party to hobnob with Obasanjo."

Implication for AC
The possible exit of Atiku from the AC portends grave implication for the party. Analysts believe that should the Turaki Adamawa accede to growing overtures from the PDP to return into the fold, his exit might have rippling effect on his followers who might also be tempted to leave the AC in droves. That possibility will leave the AC high and dry.
Already, several northern politicians like former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Ghali Umar Na’Abba, former Communications Minister, Abubakar Rimi, and some northern politicians had earlier left the party. According to the Lagos State Chairman of the Democratic Peoples Alliance (DPA), Supo Sonibare, "I don’t care what happens, but all I know is that the chicken is coming home to roost for them again. The exit of Atiku could bring the AC back to the regional status that was the bane of the former AD."

Afenifere Chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo, was however non-committal. He insisted that the exit of the Adamawa politician can only make our brothers to realize their folly. Perhaps, it will make them come back to their senses. How do they come about associating with Atiku who assisted in rigging them out in 2003 in the first place? Are they saying they don’t know the role Atiku played in their defeat, or is it that they had forgotten so soon? It is their headache."
Atiku’s likely exit will also clear the path for the estranged Presidential Candidate of the All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP), Muhammadu Buhari, and members of The Buhari Organisation (TBO) and his supporters nationwide to join the party.

The refusal of the TBO to join the AC at inception was chiefly because of the suspicion that the AC was few platform for Atiku to actualize his 2007 presidential ambition.

Anonymous said...

OBJ, Atiku Peace Talks
We’ve just started — Oyinlola
•Says move not for 2011 poll
Sunday, January 25, 2009

• Atiku and his former boss
Photo: Sun News Publishing

More Stories on This Section
The reconciliation initiation of Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola to end the feud between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his Vice, Alhaji Abubakar Atiki last week generated ripples among the political class, the opposition parties... But the man at the centre of the peace process sees nothing wrong with his effort to ensure the two political actors mend fences and has debunked the insinuation that the exercise was targetted towards 2011 election.

Governor Oyinlola in an interview with our Osun State Correspondent cleared the air on the mixed reactions that has trailed his peace process. He spoke on other issues such as his presence at Chief Bisi Akande’s birthday, six years of his administration, on-going reconciliation in PDP, contentious issue of PDP BOT chairman, relationship with Tinubu, who will succeed him in 2011, believe of some people that the OBJ is a difficult person, PDP to rule Osun State in the next 20 years, working relationship with AC lawmakers and the issue of permanent interest in Nigerian politics.

Your body language in recent time has somehow been strange, for instance you were seen at Chief Bisi Akande’s 70th birthday ceremony at Ila-Orangun?
I don’t see anything strange in my going to attend the celebration of the birthday of a notable personality of the Yoruba race who is from Osun State. This is in keeping with our culture of communalism. In Yorubaland, we honour our elders and anyone who prays to live to old age must respect and honour the elders. Besides, he, Chief Bisi Akande was my predecessor in office and he has governed this state and as a necessity he occupies a prominent position on the protocol list of the state. So I don’t see any problem in felicitating with him on his 70th birthday at Ila-Orangun recently.

You have spoken culturally and administratively, so politically what is the significance of your going there?
Politically, he is the national Chairman of the Action Congress (AC), an opposition party, but that he is in opposition does not make us enemies, if you listen to his interview on that particular day, he said the same thing and in politics there is no permanent friend and no permanent enemy. It is only permanent interest. Yes! Yesterday we were trading political tackles with some other people from other political parties, today they are with me in the PDP in Osun State. So who knows what happens tomorrow and that is why as a politician you don’t make enemies.

Yes it is left for you to persuade me that the course which your party is taking is the best for our society. You need to convince me so that I can follow you, like it is said in the Bible, you don’t light your candle and put it under the bed. You have to put it on a candle stand so that it can give light to the rest of the world. That is what it should be in politics. Convince me that the ideologies and the programmes of your own party are what the people will embrace and when I reason, I will follow you.

What is that permanent interest in going to drag the former Vice President, sir to the residence of the former President. When you talk about permanent interest, what is it?
I want to correct one impression. It was beyond me to drag any of those people. Politically I am an amateur where they are concerned. So it is impossible for me to drag anybody least of all people of their stature. I saw an opening for a possible reconciliation and I explored it and the Lord granted us our heart’s desire and it resulted in their meeting. That is all.

With due respect Sir, you talked about permanent interest in politics and you talked about an opening again?
Yes! An opening. What is wrong in reconciling feuding parties? I don’t think there’s any wrong in that. In fact, the Holy Book told us to be peace makers so that we will remain blessed and that is the path I’m following. I want to remain blessed by the Almighty and that is why. There is a lot of misinformation going on and there’s need for clarification. There is still a lot of reconciliation to be done. What we witnessed on Monday, January 19,2009 is just the beginning, but suffice it to say that God and four human beings were primarily involved in efforts that culminated in the making of the Monday meeting. The fourth person, I won’t mention his name now.

We were watching a television programme this morning (wednesday) where somebody was spiting out fire and it will be better to clear the air on what really informed the meeting.
(Cuts in) No, no, no! Let them go ahead with their misinformation. If we have not kept this thing within the circle of four, I know some people never wanted any reconciliation at all but would throw spanner into the works and we wouldn’t have been able to reach where we have reached. I would only say this much because we still have a lot of work to do and I don’t want anybody to jeopardize the efforts, but believe me, when the time comes you will get to know the process.

You were also quoted proverbially saying that where two witches are dancing a sick man does not go there to watch. What does that mean?
You don’t understand proverbs? What is meant by that is that when two political juggernauts are involved in a matter, neophytes should not attempt to meddle into it. What I am saying is that in difficult situations, the issue may be beyond the capabilities of small boys like me, that is the essence of my proverb.

In that process you are not a small man as far as the reconciliation process is concerned
It is a proverb. You want to know what was my input in the entire thing which is why I gave that proverb, that if you think that I am in a position to drag these two juggernauts together… no, no…because I am too junior to them politically and otherwise. And that was why former President Obasanjo came in, and said, “let me answer it for you. He is the facilitator,” that’s all.
Now, even in your state, it is seen that even those who were elected on the platform of the AC are beginning to see some form of wisdom in your governance and the PDP administration and things are beginning to turn around with them moving towards PDP. Now, the ideological crisis the former President and his deputy had is being resolved. What does that say of the politics that we play in this country because many people lost their lives as a result of these crises?

Now, talking about the good working relationship I have with elected officers of the AC, that is what it is supposed to be. Politicking ended with the election... People have been elected by their people to serve their interest in government, what should concern an elected officer is how to facilitate and get his people to savour the dividends of democracy. Party politicking is over the moment elections are ended. What remains is governance which should have nothing to do with political colourations or political bickering. You are elected by your people to go and serve them and serve you must. So if we understand governance we become one in the interest of the people of the state irrespective of which platform you came to be elected. We have the interest of the state at heart and that is why we are working together. So we must continue to make our people understand the fact that yes, when you have become a key player from which ever platform, you work for the progress of the state.

That is an answer to the second leg of the question?
The third leg is still about the former president and his deputy. Ideologically, they just fell apart.
I don’t know what you mean by ideologically they fell apart. Atiku was more in PDP than the time he has spent in any other party. He was a founding member of the PDP and that is the truth. So what is the ideological difference you are talking about? There were political differences between him and his boss which culminated into what was happening, but we thought that it could not remain so if we are talking about the unity and progress of this country. And when we saw the opportunity to reconcile, we tried and I must tell you that some people had been at it, trying to bring them together for years but they have not succeeded. But by the Grace of God, it was made possible last Monday.

A newspaper speculated today (Wednesday) that the Presidency was a bit concerned as a result of the peace move because the two leaders represent a very formidable force that can be reckoned with even beyond the shores of this land and people are now saying well, maybe it is a prelude to what we expect to see in 2011 regarding the general elections.

The report as you yourself have noted was a mere fabrication. I am not a spokesperson to the President but as the leader of our party, I don’t think he was in the dark about the meeting.

Sir, the opposition CNPP has attacked the peace process…
Well, I wouldn’t know which reaction to make, if somebody is reconciling feuding parties and you are attacking that person then it shows that you are not a man of peace. Simple as A.B.C. This is because the holy book teaches that we must live in peace with our brother and this is the book we all believe and read everyday. So why should they say they don’t want peace, because the Christ I know says that we could get angry but we should not sin and that is why he said that one’s anger should not witness the setting of the sun. That means you should not carry the anger of the day to the next day. The Bible also directs us that if we are going to the altar with an offering and you know that you have offended your brother, then you must drop your offering to go and reconcile with the brother before coming back to give your offering so that it will be acceptable to God. So, what is wrong in reconciling people? You have to ask these people whether it is wrong to reconcile political opponents, brothers. I don’t see why they should say that reconciling opponents will be inimical to the political progress of the country.
(Cuts in) They are saying so because some of the former governors are envisaging a loss in a way.

One of them said while the crisis lasted, Obasanjo had some people with him while the former Lagos State Governor, Tinubu pitched tent with Atiku. And today these same two people are going to reconcile and they will be left in the lurch.
No No No No! That is why I said from the beginning of this interview that the process of reconciliation has just begun. They should not be afraid. Everybody will be reconciled. Because as a matter of fact, yes people pitched tents and formed camps, but when the leaders have met, everyone will fall in line because everybody will be reconciled in the interest of the polity in Nigeria...

But Sir, some say that this reconciliation is going under one umbrella and that is the PDP umbrella.
I have not said that we are recruiting people for the PDP and when the press asked that question, the former President said, No. It had nothing to do with that... It is only people that are conjuring and formulating ideas that are saying that.

Was it the gospel of reconciliation that brought you and former Lagos State Governor, Senator Bola Tinubu together? For quite sometime, you have not been too close but quite a sudden we saw both of you hugging at Ila-Orangun?
That is to buttress the point I made earlier. In politics, there is no permanent enemy and there is no permanent friend. What is permanent is interest. We met at Baba Akande’s birthday party and he shouted Oyin and I embraced him and said “Asiwaju, how are you?” Is anything wrong in that? Then we sat down and ate together and I am very pleased with that.

And you have buried the past?
I don’t have any past to bury. I deal with human beings the way they present themselves to me. I see you as a friend no matter which political party you belong. There are so many friends of mine who have access to this government house that are in the opposition party and that is the gospel truth. I go to their houses and feel free to eat and they also come to my house and yet they are in the opposition party. Politics shouldn’t be being on each others throat! If you are convinced that what you have to offer is better, then the other one, tell the person to come over.

I can cite examples. There is hardly any notable AC person in Osun State, may be with the exception of Engr. Rauf (Aregbesola) that I don’t have one on one communication with and that is why those who left me before the election, the likes of Chiefs Shuaib Oyedokun, Abiola Morakinyo, Haroun Bidmus, Remi Olowu came back. All those are juggernauts that went to the AC and I convinced them on the need for them to work with me and they came back.

By May this year, sir, you will be on the last quarter of your eight years in office. So if you look back, what are those things you think you have done in the last six years that you hope to set right in the next two years before you leave office?
Honestly speaking, I can’t put my finger on anything that I have done which I would have wished to do differently given another chance. This is because we evolved a process of administration …and I thank God that I had my initial baptism in administration in Lagos and that did inform my style in Osun State. I have learnt from the experience in Lagos that if you want to deliver on your promises to the people, one thing you must get right is your focus.

Because if you don’t, there are so many unplanned things that will come your way and at the end of the day what you had set out to achieve ab-initio, will not be accomplished. At the end of the year, we can always say that we always accomplish not less than 90 per cent of our budget - especially in the execution of projects.

Last week, the papers reported that the Federal Government says revenue on excess crude oil would no longer be shared among the states.

Yeah! The general economic meltdown does not leave out Nigeria and does not leave out Osun State. We are putting our heads together to see how we can engineer and prioritize our programmes. But one thing I know, whatever is going to be the outcome of our engineering, what we read to the people of Osun State as the budget for 2009, will be accomplished by the grace of God. And what I have said is that if the meltdown has drastically affected performance of the budget, then I will carry it over to 2010. But all that I read to the people of the state will be accomplished. On the minister’s statement, we have the Economic Council meeting on Monday (tomorrow) and I believe it is one of the issues to be discussed. For now, I don’t have the details.

Anonymous said...

Why I made up with Obasanjo —Atiku
Written by Emmanuel Aziken
Thursday, 22 January 2009
Abuja—Former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar, yesterday, insisted he neither sold out nor mortgaged his principles on account of his 2011 presidential aspiration through his reconciliation with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

Olusegun ObasanjoBut former Minister of Education, Senator Jubril Aminu, dismissed Atiku’s peace moves with Obasanjo, saying his people in Adamawa will not forget the eight years of wastage they suffered under the former Vice-President.

Responding to public reactions to his reconciliation with Obasanjo, Alhaji Abubakar in a statement yesterday said that the interests of the country were greater to him than his singular interest and hence his decision to bury the hatchet with his former boss.

“The meeting was not about the 2011 presidential election as some people have misinterpreted it. The two leaders decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country,” the former Vice-President said through a statement issued through his campaign office.

“It was not about the two of them. It is about the future of our beloved country. At a critical moment, such as this, in the life of a nation, great men and women must put aside political differences and work for the progress of the country. This is the context in which the Abeokuta meeting should be seen by all well-meaning Nigerians,” the statement added.

Citing the example of former President Nelson Mandela of South Africa who spent 27 years behind bars and subsequently went on to work with his former foes and the example of United States President Barack Obama, Abubakar said:

“Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain sat down one-and-one in November in Chicago for a meeting with the man who defeated him in the U.S election, then President-elect Obama. They talked about how they could work together to solve America ’s economic and social problems. They realized that the country is bigger than both of them.”

The statement continued that “that the two leaders have decided to forgive and forget. This should be encouraged. More so, Nigerians should heave a sigh of relief that a long-running political feud had finally been laid to rest.”

“Politicians should learn from such rare show of the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness. Carrying animosity to the grave will never help the country.

“Nigeria is bigger than all of us and true national leaders must be prepared to make personal sacrifices in the interest of the nation.” He added.

He is not welcome in PDP, says Aminu

However, Senator Aminu dismissed the reconciliation of former Vice-President with former President Obasanjo as a political ruse.

In his reaction to the Monday peace talks between Atiku and Obasanjo, Senator Aminu said the people of Adamawa have long memories of Atiku’s period in government and were not eager to welcome him back into their fold.

Senator Aminu who acted as the political leader of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in Adamawa following the exit of Atiku from the mainstream of the party during the Obasanjo regime said he had not laid his eyes on the former number two man since 2005 when he acted as the PDP linkman to Adamawa State.

“Well, I do not know if he ever said he is coming back, but it is very clear that that is what he is trying to do.

“By inference, he has found that his political future is zero without the PDP, and I suppose without the support of former president Obasanjo that was why he went and there was pretence that this was a happy New Year visit. It is not,’’ Senator Aminu told Vanguard in his office yesterday.

“My information is that he has tried three times to see the former president before he was granted audience. Whatever it is, it looked very political. He is obviously hoping to use this to sort of make another effort in 2011 to become the president of Nigeria. This is definitely what he is doing,’’ Aminu said.

Affirming that Atiku has not made any formal contact with him, he said:

“He has not contacted me. In Adamawa, the people have very good memories about those eight years of wastage, when we lost not only eight years but because during the time the price of oil was high now it is low, we probably lost about 20 years, and he is the political agent for all that.

“So the people of Adamawa would not forget and I am sure they will not be in a hurry to take him back to PDP. He is entitled to do his media activities and do whatever he likes, but when he really comes back to it, he will go back to Adamawa, he will find that the people are resentful, they will always be since they discovered the kind of leader he is.”

I am in schock — Harriman

Also, former member of the House of Representatives and Action Congress candidate in the Delta South Senatorial contest in the 2007 elections, Ms Temi Harriman, expressed outrage and disappointment over the reported reconciliation between former President Obasanjo and his former deputy, Alhaji Abubakar.

Ms Harriman in a telephone interview on the development expressed regret that Atiku who stood as a symbol for the battle against third term may have betrayed the hope and trust of the opposition. Harriman in her reaction expressed disappointment that Atiku’s reconciliation with Obasanjo may redefine his crusade against the third term aspiration of President Obasanjo as a personal battle for his own advancement and not for Nigeria.

Harriman was the only member of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) from the south in the immediate past House of Representatives who canvassed against the third term aspiration of President Obasanjo. She eventually decamped to the Action Congress (AC) on which platform she contested for a seat in the Senate.

“I am in a shock, though we saw it coming. There were issues that were causing concern by one person or the other but were reassured by several concerned persons but yesterday I was totally shocked and disappointed,’’ she said.

“Nothing has changed in Nigeria as concerning electoral reform and the issues that got us to where we are now. Many of us, because of third term, took a conscious decision to sacrifice for our motherland. It was not because of Atiku, it was because of Nigeria,’’ she said.

Anonymous said...

Yar’Adua Dismisses Obasanjo-Atiku Reunion

Golu Timothy, Abuja
January 27th, 2009

The Presidency moved yesterday to douse the anxiety generated by the recent meeting between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his deputy Atiku Abubakar.

Yar’Adua spoke through his special adviser on media and communication, Mr. Segun Adeniyi saying that President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua is not in anyway rattled by the reunion of the two former leaders.

Adeniyi argued that the president is unperturbed with the Obasanjo-Atiku reconciliation.

"Why should the president be uncomfortable with the former president and former vice president? In fact I rode on the same bus with them on Saturday in Katsina; the president, the vice president, the former president, former vice president and Gen. Babangida. It was fun. There is no big deal. I mean these were people who worked together for eight years; the abnormal thing will be that they are not together. So, that they are friends again, the president is very much comfortable with it, he has no problem with that."

Aso Rock also disclosed through its spokesman that Yar'Adua's two weeks official vacation which began yesterday, was not meant to attend to any health problem, but an opportunity for him to rest and be with his family.

"As you are already aware, the President is taking two weeks vacation from today and will be spending it in Nigeria . He will spend a few days at the Presidential Resort Obudu Cattle Ranch, another few days in Dodan Barracks, Lagos and the last couple of days in Katsina."

The vacation, he added, 'has nothing to do with his health. I think every president needs time away to relax, rejuvenate and possibly reflect and unwind. I think that is the essence of it. And why now, why not now? I think while we wait for the budget, maybe in the next two weeks, the budget will be ready and then if he relaxes now it is even better so that when he comes back he will be fully charged to deliver on his promises to Nigerians. I don't think there is any big deal about it but I think it is even better now as we await the budget."

On why the President handed over to his VP, Adeyini said, "it is not a handover per se. I mean the SGF was just stating the obvious; when the President is away whatever issues that arise the VP will deal with them. I think the background to it was what happened in Council on Wednesday. There was a debate at the Federal Executive Council of some of the principal ministers who when they travel out nothing happens in their ministry because the ministers of state cannot act. And the President said it there, that as far as he is concerned, if there are issues he should deal with and if he is not available, the rule there is that the VP will deal with such situations. So if he is on vacation, it goes without saying that the VP will take charge. That is just a normal thing, not hand over per se, the President is still the president and is still in charge, there is no big deal about it. The SGF felt he should state that which I think helps me because there would have been questions like when the president is on leave who is in charge and all what not."

Regarding the 2009 budget yet to be passed, he said, "we will cross that bridge when we get there. If the budget is passed the president will assent to it."

Adeniyi said, due to the vacation, the president may not attend the African Union, (AU) summit, but will be represented by his vice, Dr Goodluck Jonathan.

He explained further by saying that, "there is a presidential resort at Obudu Cattle Ranch which was built as a presidential getaway. Its good for the president to even take a vacation. I mean every president needs time to reflect and I think the resort is actually good for him. It was actually built for such things like you have Camp David in the US and I mean what do you get abroad that you don't have in Nigeria . Travelling abroad or staying at home I think its actually better to stay at home and that is the choice of the president. He will rather stay at home than travel abroad. Is it not proper for the president to take a time out to reflect? I mean this morning I was just going through presidents who go on vacation, I mean we try to borrow a leaf from the US and I discovered that the president who took the least vacation was President Jimmy Carter 79 days, Ronald Regan took 365 days and the longest so far is President George Bush who took 600 days. I mean the meltdown started from the US. When the President is on leave he will actually have time to reflect on the situation in the country and even this global financial crisis. How do we tackle some of these challenges? A time of vacation is a time to get away in which you detach yourself from some of these things and have time to reflect on some of these challenges. I believe it is a positive development that the president is taking a vacation at this period", he said.

Anonymous said...

Don’t Misconstrue My Visit To OBJ – Atiku

Iyobosa Uwugiaren, Abuja
January 29th, 2009

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar has broken his silence over his visit and reunion with former President Olusegun Obasanjo, urging Nigerians not to misconstrue his motive for the visit.

Painting a clearer picture about why he went to Ota farm, Atiku said the visit should not be viewed within the context of his political aspiration.

``It should be viewed as a sincere effort to entrench the virtue of forgiveness and peace among leaders and their followers,'' Atiku said in a statement he personally signed in Abuja.

In the statement entitled "The Virtue of Forgiveness and Reconciliation,'' Atiku explained that his peace mission to Abeokuta was not a self-serving political move, as some critics had ``harshly put it''.

According to him, "The visit was largely a reflection of my desire to strengthen social, family and political fabrics of the nation through forgiveness.''

Atiku noted that ever since the visit, there had been an ``incredible floodgate of reactions from my friends, political associates, newspaper columnists and other concerned Nigerians''.

His word: ``The visit shouldn't be misconceived. As leaders, we must discard vindictive tendencies so as to leave a good example for our children and for posterity.

"At 62, I have more years behind me than the years ahead of me. I do not want to spend the rest of my life brooding over old wounds and harbouring ill feelings toward anyone.

"Life is not static. I have resolved in this New Year to extend a hand of friendship to as many people as possible, including former political foes.''

The former vice president said he had resolved to rid his mind of negative emotions and to radiate positive aura toward all.

``I want to spend the rest of my life spreading joy, love and peace among people. I have yet to find any effective argument to convince me against the virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation.

"Parents sometimes fall out with their children; so do husbands and wives experience bitter disagreements, but, eventually they must reconcile for the good of society.

Therefore, there is nothing unusual in former enemies coming together in the pursuit of higher national interest,'' Atiku said.

He added: ``In fact, nations occasionally go to war, but eventually reconcile and even become partners in progress.

"While not denying the fact that I was a victim of persecution, I must as a leader demonstrate the virtue of forgiveness and encourage my supporters to imbibe the same principle.

"It is sometimes difficult for some people to forget the past. We can't perpetually live in the past. With all humility, I have never lost sight of all these considerations. There have been hurts on both sides.

"I do not deny that sacrifices have been made and our dear country has paid dearly as a result of the crisis between the former President and myself.''

Atiku further said in spite of everything that had happened, he sincerely believed that the time had come for him to move on, rather than remain perpetually a hostage of the past.

``Nigeria is bigger than Obasanjo and I. We have all learnt some lessons from what happened. We have resolved to work with the current government to make Nigeria a great nation.

"This is what some of my critics have refused to understand. When emotions overtake our hearts, reason usually finds it hard to be heard,'' he declared.

Anonymous said...

Atiku's Clash With Obasanjo Never Ideological -Buhari
By Rafiu Ajakaye, Snr Reporter, Lagos

Atiku Abubakar's efforts to dampen outrage at his visit to Ota suffered a setback this week, with Nigeria's leading opposition figure insisting that Atiku's quarrel with former President Olusegun Obasanjo "was never ideological."

Muhammadu Buhari, All Nigeria Peoples Party (ANPP)'s presidential candidate in the 2007 general election, said Atiku's visit "did not come to us as a surprise, and we don't regard it as such," adding to the rising public anger at the former Vice President and doubts over his commitment to multiparty democracy, which he once accused Obasanjo of stifling.

Buhari spoke through Sule Hamman, the spokesman of The Buhari Organisation (TBO), on a day Atiku himself pressed ahead his struggle to clad his visit in the toga of reconciliation, altruism, and patriotism.

Atiku once described Obasanjo as corrupt and an enemy of the young democracy in the heat of the crisis of confidence that tore the two leaders apart, which almost derailed the 2007 transition.

His visit is understood by many political observers to signal his resolve to return to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and gelled with speculations he is to be offered the presidential ticket of the party that once witch-hunted and thwarted his ambition in the run-up to the last general election.

The Atiku camp has consistently denied the speculations and argued instead that the visit was simply to jettison the painful past, reconcile with political foes, and join hands with all stakeholders to build the country in the face of mounting socio-economic and political challenges.

Buhari would have none of that.

"Quite frankly, Atiku's reconciliation with Obasanjo did not come to us as a surprise, and we don't regard it as such. We regard it as a straightforward case of two political partners reconciling their personal differences," Buhari said.

"Our understanding of their quarrel is that it was a quarrel over the issue of personal succession, but not a quarrel on ideological basis. We therefore believe that once disagreement is not ideologically-based it is only possible to reconcile. So it is in their case, therefore."

The visit came in the wake of talks that top opposition figures across ethnic divides, including Atiku and Buhari, plan a grand alliance to oust the PDP in the 2011 general election.

Buhari said there is no going back on such alliance, especially one that would work towards good governance.

His words: "We still hold the view that all patriotic Nigerians that are in the national opposition should come together to form a national political party that should confront the PDP and provide Nigeria with a credible political and moral alternative. Atiku's move will not affect this patriotic move."

Garba Shehu, spokesman for the former Vice President, said "there is nothing to suggest that (Atiku) has changed his own politics. So you can't build something on nothing. (Atiku) has never said he is going back to the PDP."

Asked to comment on the rumour that Atiku has decided to go back to the PDP and that his reconciliation with Obasanjo was informed by a pledge to hand him the party's presidential ticket in 2011, Shehu said: "That is a very dangerous rumour, we don't know anything about that. People should keep us out of that. We don't want to be part of such stories."

On Thursday, however, Atiku said in an opinion article published in the media that his visit to Obasanjo was out of a resolve to engage everybody, friend or foe, in the search for a better country.

He appealed to associates and critics alike to see his action in the light of a patriot wanting to put the past behind him and placing national interest above selfish and political considerations.

One of the articles read in part: "At 62, I have more years behind me than the years ahead. I do not want to spend the rest of my life brooding over old wounds and harbouring ill feelings towards anyone. I want to spend the rest of my life spreading joy, love and peace among people.

"Therefore, my recent visit to (Obasanjo) shouldn't be misconceived. As leaders, we must discard vindictive tendencies so as to leave a good example for our children and for posterity. In fact, nations occasionally go to war but eventually reconcile and even become partners in progress.

"My visit to Abeokuta shouldn't be perceived within the context of my political aspiration but should be viewed as a sincere effort to entrench the virtue of forgiveness and peace among leaders and their followers. I am yet to find any superior argument to convince me against the virtues of forgiveness and reconciliation.

"Parents sometimes fall out with their children, so do husbands and wives experience bitter disagreements. But eventually they must reconcile for the good of society.

"We cannot discard a virtue, which God Himself exhorts us to practice. Can we build a better and prosperous nation when leaders don't forgive one another? Can a nation prosper on the basis of permanent hostility and animosity among its leaders and people? Should we abandon the teachings of our religions in terms of forgiveness and peaceful co-existence for the sake of selfish pursuit of vengeance? There is a famous saying that 'an eye for an eye' will make us all blind.

"My peace mission to Abeokuta was not a self-serving political move as some critics have harshly put it. It was largely a reflection of my desire to strengthen social, family and political fabrics of the nation through forgiveness. Power comes from God; He gives it to whom He desires at the time of His choosing. It is God and the good people of Nigeria who will decide if they want me to serve this country in a higher capacity in future."

Anonymous said...

What OBJ, Atiku discussed
...At Abeokuta mansion
•Yar’Adua govt tops agenda
By Olusola Balogun
Sunday, February 8, 2009

Obasanjo & Atiku
Photo: Sun News Publishing
More Stories on This Section

Self-preservation rather than partisan politics dominated last month’s shock meeting between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and his erstwhile deputy, Atiku Abubakar.

The initial belief after news about the meeting filtered out was that Atiku, who dumped the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) for the Action Congress (AC) to contest the 2007 presidential poll, was that the Turakin Adamawa was on his way back to the PDP where he hopes to re-contest for the presidency in 2011.

Top shots in the AC are still seething over the meeting and are said to be bracing up in the event of the former Vice President returning to the PDP.

Atiku, on his part, has left even his close allies and the AC leadership confused and guessing by keeping sealed lips on what transpired at the meeting. This, we learnt, has sent a wrong signal that the meeting was to pave way for his re-entry to the PDP.
But a source close the meeting dismissed the insinuation that the meeting was about how to get Atiku back to his former party, insisting that “partisan politics was not mentioned” for the over two hours it lasted.

The source, who himself was reluctant to give details of the Obasanjo Abeokuta Hilltop mansion meeting, revealed that “they discussed the hostile posture of the (incumbent President Umaru Yar’Adua) government to their policies, how to ensure that their legacy was not rubbished and how to respond to the hostilities coming their way.

“So many of the lofty policies of the regime have been reversed and the (former) government is looking as if it did nothing for eight years. I think they came together to see how they can jointly react to the attacks against their joint administration.”

Yar’Adua had since assuming office reversed Obasanjo’s monetization policy, sale of Nigeria’s refineries, sale of the Apo legislative quarters in Abuja while some policies of the government like the National Integrated Power Project (NIPP) and the privatization policy have come under severe knocks.
Key actors during the Obasanjo years like the former chairman of the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC), Mallam Nuhu Ribadu, former Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Mallam Nasir el-Rufai, are also currently under the government’s hammer while two of Obasanjo’s aviation ministers, Babalola Borisade and Femi Fani-Kayode, have been arraigned for fraudulent dealings while serving the former president.

Obasanjo’s daughter, Iyabo, is also in court over her alleged involvement in the N300m unspent health ministry budget.
The source further disclosed that the duo met to see how they could salvage what remained of their government’s integrity.
“Well, whichever way you see it, they ruled together and any harm to the government is harm to the two of them,” he said.

He added that the former president opened the meeting by reminding Atiku of how they began in 1999 as very close pals and the great respect he had for the late Major General Shehu Musa, who founded the Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), a formidable political group, which is still headed by Atiku.
Obasanjo picked Atiku in 1998 based on the latter’s influence in the PDM. The Adamawa politician was picked ahead of politicians like former Kano State governor, Abubakar Rimi, and others.
However, Atiku was said to have expressed displeasure at the manner he was treated by his former boss and accused some people close to Obasanjo then as responsible for the face-off.

“He however asked to be forgiven for whatever he might have done wrong while the face-off lasted. They then talked about the things that bound them together and their vision for the country; how the incumbent government was undoing several of the lofty policies they left and the various probes meant to rubbish their government, including those initiated by foreign governments to drag their names in the mud,” the source further said.

According to our source, “it is the media people that kept speculating and writing all the things you like. They are just looking at you with amusement. They know what they discussed and since you missed it, there is no need to say anything about what actually transpired. Anyway, it is a meeting between two former friends.”

The source noted that the meeting was more of a reunion between two former friends, adding that they even shared kolanuts and agreed to work together to ensure that Nigeria becomes great.