The Imo State Governor eulogized the former President.
The Imo State Governor, Rochas Okorocha, brought some humour to Saturday’s gathering while eulogising former President Olusegun Obasanjo, when he described him as his “colleague.”
Mr. Okorocha spoke at the civic reception organised by South-West Zone of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in honour of Mr. Obasanjo; held at the Alake palace ground in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The Imo Governor jokingly referred to the former president as his “colleague” in the 2003 presidential primary of the PDP.
Mr. Okorocha had vied for the presidency of Nigeria as a PDP aspirant in 2003 but lost the ticket of the party to Mr. Obasanjo.
He described the former Board of Trustees Chairman of the PDP as an “unmovable” and “unshakeable” man, who was not afraid of fighting any battle.
“We are here to give honour to whom honour is due. OBJ is a man difficult to describe. He represents different things to different people. He is not afraid fighting any battle,” the Imo Governor said.
“Obasanjo is indeed PDP. But in the actual sense, he’s a national leader. He does not belong to the PDP alone but a national leader of Nigeria. If I have another opportunity to advise him, I will tell him to be the national leader of the country and not the national leader of the party,” Mr. Okorocha added.
Mr. Okorocha, who was elected on the platform of the All Progressive Grand Alliance after he decamped from the PDP, recalled his days as Special Adviser to the former president on Inter- Party Affairs. He told the gathering that he gave advice to Obasanjo while in office as ex-president, which led to the good things he achieved.
The governor, however, exonerated himself from all the “bad things” Obasanjo did while in office, explaining that he was out of the country when the former president erred.
He urged Nigerians not to allow political party practices to slow the pace of development, saying that it was time to stop politicking against good governance.
“Political party is only a vehicle to attain governance. However, we must know when to stop politics and embrace governance. Let us produce more leaders than politicians,” he said.
“We must realise than what unites us is more than the party that divides us. While we play politics, let us not forget the masses that voted us into power. The party cannot put food on the table of the common man,” he added.
The Akwa Ibom Governor, Godswill Akpabio, in his speech, said he regretted not having the opportunity to serve under Mr. Obasanjo.
However, mounting the podium, Mr. Obasanjo shocked the gathering when he jokingly described Mr. Okorocha as a failure in his ambition to become the presidential candidate of the PDP.
He thanked everyone who came for the program.
Other dignitaries at the ceremony include former Ghanaian President, John Kuffour; Vice President Namadi Sambo; Deputy Speaker of the House of Representatives, Emeka Ihedioha; Delta State Governor, Emmanuel Uduaghan; embattled National Secretary of the PDP, Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Governor of Ondo State, Olusegun Agagu; and the Owa Obokun of Ijeshaland, Adekunle Aromolaran.
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