Why I attended Atiku/Obasanjo reconciliation meeting – Sheik Gumi

Rev Matthew Kukah, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi during the meeting at Obasanjo's residence in Abeokuta
Rev Matthew Kukah, Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi during the meeting at Obasanjo's residence in Abeokuta

Prominent Kaduna-based Islamic scholar, Ahmad Gumi, has explained why he accompanied former vice president and Peoples Democratic Party presidential candidate to a reconciliation meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.

According to him, he was invited because he was an apolitical scholar.

Mr Gumi said part of the criteria the conveners of the meeting looked at was the fact that “he speaks his minds and criticises any political party in government when it does wrong to Nigerians.”

The scholar did not mention who invited him to the meeting.

He also said he accepted to attend the gathering because it has to do with reconciliation between two aggrieved persons “which Islam encourages”.

The scholar told PREMIUM TIMES in a telephone interview on Saturday that he was happy he took part in the reconciliation meeting.

‎”When a Muslim hears of anything that will lead to reconciliation between people, it is good for someone to attend if‎ invited.

“Whoever does that Allah will reward him. Most especially if leaders are said to reconcile, if we fail to attend, we have betrayed the religion,” he said.

“They invited us to the meeting because they said they needed scholars and clergymen who are apolitical, meaning they support no particular political party.

“The Peoples Democratic Party members knew that when they were in power and they made mistakes, I criticised them and same with the other party (APC), I criticise them when they err.

“So this was part of the reasons I was selected ‎because they said they need people that have no political interests and can tell them the truth.

“I’m neither an APC or PDP sympathiser which was why they wanted us to witness the reconciliation,” he said.

Mr Gumi and two Christian clerics were among those who facilitated the reconciliatory meeting.

The Christian clerics are Matthew Kukah of the Catholic Church and David Oyedepo of Covenant Christian Centre.

Asked what the clerics told the two leaders during the meeting, Mr Gumi said they advised them (Atiku and Obasanjo) “to forgive, forget so as to face the future.”

‎”What we told them there was to learn to forgive, forget and to face the future. This was just the message and what we told them. We also said that since we witnessed the reconciliation they need to forge ahead,” he said.

The Islamic scholar also frowned at how some politicians in Nort‎hern Nigeria could not agree to work together for the interest of their states and country.

“It’s shame what is happening here with our politicians, where you hear them fighting each other. Look at what is happening in Kano, Zamfara and other states for example.

“But these people (Atiku and Obasanjo) saw the window for peace and grabbed it and decided to reconcile their differences.

“This is what we need in this country. It is something that others should learn from. Reconciliation is good and the Prophet kicked against whoever is against peaceful reconciliation because such a person has no religion. Only genuine reconciliation between people can lead to development of this country‎.”

The pictures of the meeting showing Messr Gumi, Kukah, Obasanjo and Abubakar holding hands has been circulating on social media since Thursday.

PREMIUM TIMES reported on Thursday how the religious leaders and others accompanied Mr Abubakar to meet his former boss, who he earlier had political conflict with. Mr Obasanjo had in the heat of the crisis vowed never to support Mr Abubakar’s aspirations to be president.

After the meeting, Mr Obasanjo forgave Mr Abubakar and endorsed him for president.

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