Nigeria’s ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Wednesday begged former President Olusegun Obasanjo to ‘forgive’ the party and return to its fold.
The National Chairman of the PDP, Adamu Mu’azu, made the appeal on Wednesday while receiving former Ogun State governor, Gbenga Daniel, who returned to the party after leaving in the build up the 2011 elections.
Mr. Daniel had while announcing his return to the PDP begged Mr. Obasanjo for forgiveness.
Disagreements between both men was one of the major reasons Mr. Daniel left the PDP. Mr. Obasanjo, who was then the chairman Board of Trustees of the party, is also from Ogun State.
Mr. Mu’azu, while receiving Mr. Daniel, also begged the former president to return to the PDP to ‘lead’ the party to victory in 2015 general elections.
“I want to join Governor Daniel to appeal to our Baba, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to forgive us,” he said. “We are your children and we have been making mistakes; we had made mistakes and so we apologise. Please Baba, we apologise, come and lead us.”
The party chairman said President Goodluck Jonathan was also expecting Mr. Obasanjo to come lead the party again.
“Even the president is waiting for you to come and lead us,” he said. “You are our leader, we appreciate you, we thank you for your leadership and your courage.”
Mr. Obasanjo had withdrawn from PDP activities after a letter to President Goodluck Jonathan where he accused the latter of, among other things, being a betrayer, and splitting the country along ethnic lines.
PREMIUM TIMES had published the letter whose content became a major public discourse due to Mr. Obasanjo’s influence in the polity. Mr. Jonathan later replied the former leader denying the various allegations against him.
Both the PDP and the major opposition, All Progressives Congress, have been making moves to secure Mr. Obasanjo’s support for the 2015 elections with both groups dispatching various party leaders to Ogun to discuss with the former president.
Since his emergence as PDP chairman earlier this year, Mr. Mu’azu has pledged to ensure the return of leaders who left the party.
At the party’s secretariat on Thursday, Mr. Daniel, who governed Ogun State on the PDP platform for 8 years, announced his return.
The former governor, who has since vacillated between the Peoples Party of Nigeria and the Labour Party, was received by Mr. Mu`azu and Senate President David Mark.
While declaring his new loyalty on Wednesday, Mr. Daniel said, “On this day, I return to my base, the PDP, where I rightly belong.”
He, however, said that the country was tilting towards a one-party state, adding that it was about time the smaller parties “began to think of either moving to the right or the left’’.
The former Ogun governor, said that the PDP must not give the opposition a chance it did not deserve, adding that the party had a formidable structure in Ogun State.
He said President Goodluck Jonathan was the best performing president the country had ever had and should therefore be supported for a second term.
In his reaction, the senate president expressed the hope that the return of Mr. Daniel and Governor Olusegun Mimiko of Ondo State to the PDP would ensure the defection of other South West political leaders to the party.
“I believe that with your home coming, the PDP is assured of victory in Ogun and the South West,” he said.
Mr. Mark, who is also the Chairman of the South West Integration Committee, said that it was only the PDP that could guarantee true democracy in the country.
He assured that the party`s leadership would continue to ensure a level playing ground for all members as promised by its national chairman.
He, however, advised members to persevere and remain in the party even if their political aspirations were not immediately met.
In his response, the PDP National Chairman commended the former Ogun governor for openly appealing to former President Obasanjo for forgiveness.
Mr. Mu`azu said that power and glory belonged to God who made all decisions.
He said that Ogun was a PDP state, adding that there was no reason the party would not reclaim the state in 2015.
Ogun is presently led by the APC.
The party chairman said the PDP, under his leadership, would ensure a level playing ground for all party members, adding that equity and justice would also be ensured in the party.
He added that President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP were committed to ensuring that the needed assistance was given for the victory of the party in 2015 general elections.
Mr. Daniel was accompanied by Mr. Mimiko, South West PDP stakeholders and political stalwarts.