- In a surprising move, APC presidential candidate, Bola Tinubu, on Wednesday, visited former President Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun state
- A source close to Obasanjo reportedly said the meeting bordered on Tinubu's presidential ambition
- Just about three years ago, 2019, Tinubu had in a letter described Obasanjo as an election rigger without peer
Abeokuta, Ogun state - On Wednesday, August 17, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu, visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun state.
A source close to Obasanjo reportedly said the meeting bordered on Tinubu's presidential ambition.
Obasanjo and Tinubu were political enemies, with their political fight dating back to their days as President and Lagos state governor, respectively.
However, in 2013, Tinubu kept the political rivalry aside when he sought Obasanjo's support for the APC in the 2015 presidential election.
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President Muhammadu Buhari won the election, defeating incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan.
However, by 2019, Obasanjo had withdrawn his support for the Buhari-led APC government. After advising Buhari against contesting for a second term, the former president went on to endorse his former VP, Atiku Abubakar, of the PDP.
As Obasanjo became the Buhari-led APC government's staunch critic, Tinubu resumed his enmity with the former president by attacking him over his 2019 state of the nation address.
This is why many Nigerians found the APC presidential candidate's move surprising, especially considering what he said about the former president.
‘You’re an election rigger without peer’: What Tinubu said about Obasanjo 2019
In his state of the nation address tagged ‘Points for Concern and Action’, Obasanjo expressed concern over the impartiality and competence of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC) to conduct a credible election.
He also accused President Buhari of returning the country to the Sani Abacha days.
Reacting to Obasanjo's criticisms, Tinubu accused the former president of being responsible for the flaws in Nigeria’s political economy since 1999.
He further described Obasanjo as an “election rigger without peer” in a letter titled ‘Chief Obasanjo – At war against his own deeds’.
The APC presidential flag bearer said the former president was shameless and has a wicked sense of humour.
Tinubu's letter read in part:
“Former President Obasanjo is many things to many people; but he is all things unto himself. His recent contribution to our political discourse wherein he alleges plots to steer the coming elections shows he benefits from an exceedingly faulty memory, is purely shameless or has a most wicked sense of humor.
"Perhaps all three are facets of his makeup and were equally on display in his latest prosaic display."
What Obasanjo said about Tinubu's presidential ambition during Abeokuta meeting, Gbajabiamila reveals
The letter continued:
“The crux of his long tirade was the allegation that INEC is poised to cook the election results. Chief Obasanjo should not get his dander up and waste good ink for nothing. This election will be a free and open exercise of the people’s right to choose their leaders.
"Obasanjo makes fiery allegations against this right but offers no corroborating evidence; he presents only reams of words. This is because Obasanjo is projecting onto the APC the misconduct he would wrought if still in power.
"Yet, the ways of Obasanjo are not those of the APC. And this difference has meant the better for Nigeria.
“Moreover, Chief Obasanjo should be the last to complain about election rigging. His administration was an unalloyed mi*scarriage of justice and of the best aspirations of the Nigerian people. We all know he was not elected in 1999.
"He was handed Nigeria on a silver platter; perhaps because Nigeria was so easily given that he went about treating the nation as if it was a less than precious thing; he thought it was a cheap give-away not a privilege to govern this nation.
“This man should have positioned himself to be the father of the nation. All the goodwill that could be granted a political figure was bestowed on him. The global economy was such that it fueled our growth.
"Everyone wanted Nigeria to succeed after emerging from years of noxious military rule. Despite the flawed exercise that rendered him president, we all bit our tongues in hope that he would say and do the right things that would move Nigeria forward.
“Instead of being a unifying figure as Commander-in-chief, he lowered himself to being a divisive, vindictive conniver. There was no table which he neared that he did not upset and overturn. There was no one who came into his company for any period of time with whom he did not fall out if he expresses a thought contrary to one of his.
“Given the vast margin between the good he could have achieved and the nebulous feats that comprise his true record, Chief Obasanjo is the person most responsible for the flaws in the Nigerian political economy since 1999. His ego is as expansive as the firmament but his good deeds would fit into a modest sachet with ample room to spare.
“The worst of Obasanjo’s record, I have yet to describe. When it comes to elections, he has been a rigger without peer. There is no election which occurred under Obasanjo’s watch or in which he participated that did not involve cheating on his part.
"Even the late President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua admitted he was the beneficiary of a flawed election engineered by none other than today’s vociferous complainant. For Obasanjo to lament over electoral malpractice is tantamount to the ocean complaining that a few raindrops are causing it to get wet.”
Obasanjo speaks ahead of the 2023 elections
Meanwhile, ahead of the 2023 elections, Obasanjo has expressed fears that Nigeria will be consumed in 2023 if the electorate makes a wrong choice on the country's next leader.
At the Wilson Badejo Foundation’s 15th annual lecture in Lagos on Wednesday, August 10, Obasanjo noted that there is hope for Nigeria to experience growth and progress if the right leader is elected in 2023.
“It is either we make the right choice in 2023 because if we make the right choice, we would get there," the former president said.