- Category: Politics
- Published on Friday, 26 November 2010 10:12
- Written by Punch
- Hits: 831
Obasanjo’s disagreements with Abubakar led to the latter’s defection from the PDP to the Action Congress (now Action Congress of Nigeria). Abubakar later contested the 2007 presidential election on the AC’s platform but returned to the PDP a few months ago.
When journalists accosted him after a meeting of the National Council of State at the State House, Abuja and asked for comments on the NPLF’s decision, the former president initially refused to speak.
After some prodding, Obasanjo laughed, and said in Pidgin, “I dey laugh o!” He proceeded to laugh comically, to the surprise of the assembled journalists, who waited for more comments on the development.
But Obasanjo did not offer further comments on Abubakar’s suitability for the 2011 presidential election.
Journalists thereafter asked Obasanjo how he had been faring outside the State House, where he held sway for eight years as the country’s president.
He said, “God has always given me happiness; my prayer is that you will always have happiness in life.” The journalists responded to the unexpected prayer with a loud “Amen!”
Also speaking, Katsina State Governor, Alhaji Ibrahim Shema, said the North would decide whom to support in the presidential election. Shema, who spoke after the National Council of State meeting, also reacted to Abubakar’s emergence as the NPLF’s consensus aspirant.
A brief exchange between the governor and journalists went as follows:
What is your view on Atiku?
He is a presidential aspirant.
But he is standing in for the North.
You have to ask the North.
But you are a key member of the North.
Yes, I am but you have to ask the North because I am not the only person in the North.
What is your personal view (on the development).
My view - the North will talk.
Also on Thursday, a former head of state, Maj.-Gen. Mohammadu Buhari (retd.), said the call for the zoning of the office of president to the North was a ‘PDP affair.’
Buhari, who is a presidential aspirant on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change, told newsmen after the council’s meeting that it had nothing to do with his party. Answering journalists’ questions, Buhari said all Nigerians were free to run for any office in the country.
Asked if the CPC would adopt zoning in choosing its presidential candidate, Buhari said, “Zoning is a purely PDP affair, but the CPC’s constituency is the Federal Republic of Nigeria. Anybody, anywhere, can contest for any office he thinks he can achieve.”
Buhari also called on Nigerians to support the Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission, Prof. Attahiru Jega, in his efforts to conduct free and fair elections in 2011.
When contacted, Abubakar’s spokesman, Mallam Garba Shehu, said the former vice-president’s campaign group did not see Obasanjo’s action as a sign of rejection or mockery.
He said, “If Obasanjo laughed, that means he is happy with Atiku’s emergence. Laughter is a sign of happiness.”