- Category: Politics
- Published on Saturday, 28 August 2010 11:58
- Written by Saturday Punch
- Hits: 1733
Saturday Punch gathered from authoritative sources on Thursday that Obasanjo, a former President of the country who had hitherto supported Jonathan to run for the presidency next year, was considering a change of allegiance in favour of another presidential aspirant from the northern part of the country.
It was learnt that Obasanjo had started yielding to pressure from the camp of the presidential aspirant who before now had persistently mounted pressure on him for his support.
A reliable source, who spoke to our correspondent on condition of anonymity, said that Obasanjo had decided to shift his allegiance to the presidential candidate from the North, contrary to the impression he has been creating in the public lately. It was further learnt that the former President has held three secret meetings with the presidential aspirant who is also pursuing his ambition on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party.
The source said the relationship between Obasanjo and Jonathan came under threat after some appointments the President made recently.
The former president, who is widely believed to have some influence on Jonathan, was said to be uncomfortable with some of the appointments,including that of Lt. Gen. Theophilus Danjuma (retd) who was appointed as the Chairman of the Presidential Advisory Committee.
The relationship between the two retired generals had fallen apart when Obasanjo revoked one of the oil wells allocated to Danjuma by the regime of the late dictator, Gen. Sani Abacha.
It was further gathered that Obasanjo introduced some companies to Jonathan for some high profile jobs in the oil sector, which were not honoured.
Saturday Punch gathered that for some undisclosed reasons, the President did not accede to the demand of the PDP BOT Chairman who was said to be unhappy with the development.
It was learnt that an angered Obasanjo had commenced discreet discussions with the candidate.
Obasanjo was said to have told his close confidants that he was making a U-turn on Jonathan because the President was not listening to him. The source added that the new beneficiary of Obasanjo’s support had continually reminded him of the relationship between them and how his efforts had culminated in his emergence as the President in 1999.
It was gathered that Obasanjo was reconsidering the aspirant’s plea on the premise that he owed him a lot and would not lose anything if he threw his weight behind him.
However, this turn of event was said to have created a big rift among key players in the Obasanjo camp. It was learnt that while people like Dr. Doyin Okupe are seriously opposed to a deal with Obasanjo’s new favourite candidate, politicians like the Osun State Governor, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, are irrevocably committed to the aspirant’s agenda.
President Jonathan’s Special Adviser on National Assembly Matters and Co-ordinator of his presidential campaign, Senator Muhammed Aba-Aji, however, said he doubted the claim that Obasanjo could sway his support for Jonathan in favour of another presidential aspirant.
He said, “I doubt it very much. Obasanjo is supporting us 100 per cent. He is 100 per cent pro-Jonathan. He is committed to the Jonathan project. In fact, we are relying on him to deliver the five states in the South-West and other states to us. He is our leader; we also rely on his influence in some other states. He is more than committed. It is mischief makers who are at work. We should discountenance false rumour. It is baseless. In fact, our opponents are already jittery because of the level of acceptance that the President has garnered across the country and beyond.”
But speaking with one of our correspondents shortly after returning from Kenya on Friday night, Obasanjo said it would be inappropriate
for him as the Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP to support any of the presidential aspirants of the party before the party’s primaries. He said he would only be able to lend his open support for the party’s candidate after the party’s primaries.
The former president, who spoke through his Media Consultant, Mr. Adeoba Ojekunle, said, “The BOT chairman is the father of all party members and aspirants in the party. It is inappropriate for the BOT chairman to support any of the contestants in the party. The issue is not who he supports but who the party chooses. He can only begin to support the party’s candidate after the party’s primaries. By the way, the party has not elected its candidate and so, how can we begin to speculate who the BOT chairman is supporting? “In any case, the leaders of the South-West zone have not spoken on their stand on who to support for the PDP presidential candidate. The BOT Chairman is the father of everybody in the party.”