Five governors of Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, on Thursday held a closed-door meeting with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Governors Godswill Akpabio (Akwa Ibom), Liyel Imoke (Cross Rivers), Isa Yuguda (Bauchi), Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu (Niger) and Sule Lamido (Jigawa) arrived Mr. Obasanjo’s home at about 12:30p.m. and went straight into a meeting which lasted for about three hours.
However, sources hinted that, the visit may be to broker peace between the former leader and President Goodluck Jonathan.
The two men have maintained a strained relationship lately with Mr. Obasanjo openly questioning Mr. Jonathan’s stewardship, criticising his record on corruption and his handling of the Boko Haram crisis.
Speaking at the end of the meeting, Mr. Obasanjo told journalists that the governors were around to discuss with him how to salvage the nation from its current economic and security problems.
The former president said his recent comments on the state of Nigeria, was not aimed at running anybody down but rather to see to how the situations could be rectified.
“First of all thank my colleagues and my brothers who have decided to pay me a special visit.
They were concerned about what you may call the situation of the nation, security, economy. I have raised in my own public pronouncement in recent times not to castigate anybody, not to bad-mouth anybody, not to run anybody down but out of genuine concern for the situation of this country and that is the same thing that has brought them and I want to thank them,” he said.
“When we looked at these issues closely, very objectively and we came to the conclusion that yes we have a bad situation but not irretrievably bad. Something can still be done and what now is required is the will and the courage to do something when and how it needs to be done,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
“We agreed on that and we also agreed that I appreciate their coming to me because of the respect and honour they have for me. This task is not for one man and it is not even a task for one group, it is a task that requires all hands on deck and as they have said and assured me that this type of consultation, they would have with other leaders so that this country which is ours and for which we have no alternatives,” he stated.
“The other day, somebody told me he knows NADECO route, I do not want to follow NADECO- It is incumbent on us to do what is right, with men like them; Issa Yuguda, Godswill Akpabio, Mu’azu Babangida Aliyu the Chief Servant, Sule Lamido and a very good one Liyel Imoke. They are colleagues with whom I have worked together, they will like to call themselves my sons, when you have a son like Sule Lamido who is almost a foot taller than yourself, you must watch what you would say and do,” Mr. Obasanjo said.
On the economy, with the fall in oil price, Mr. Obasanjo said he was not scared that the nation’s economy might soon hit the rock as posited by experts.
“I am never scared by anything but I am concerned that firstly, when we had surplus, we did not remember the rainy day now that the rainy day is staring us in the face, we must be honest and courageous enough to do what is right, to let the nation know and then to take the steps that will put it right as quick as possible,” he said.
Governor Akpabio in his own comment said: “I thank our dear leader, our former president and a man that all Nigerians love and respect. If you notice, we are from the PDP extraction and we have decided that as the party in power and the party that the country has a lot of confidence in right from 1999, he played a key role in the emergence of the current democracy and he is still playing both nationally and internationally, so, we decided that it is important for us to come and consult with him as he said. Pay our respect, discuss the affairs of the nation and then to tap from his wealth of wisdom.
“The intention here is that all Nigerians are determined to reposition the country, we have no other country than Nigeria and so, no matter the challenges we may face today, we must work together as a team to redeem the situation, I want to thank our dear leader for receiving us and for what he said that the situation is redeemable and that we must also consult other leaders and work to ensure that the country is redeemed.”
Also speaking, Governor Aliyu said: “To what our father have said, if you notice, all of us are his children both administratively, politically and in reality, and we have come to consult with the oracle of leadership and politics of this country and we have benefited tremendously with our coming.
“You have heard him say we need also to consult with other people because all of us must come together.
“The issue of Nigeria is beyond partisanship that is the main thing that we are carrying and we must tell all Nigerians to rally together and let us put our nation in the right place.”