The former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, will only be re-admitted into Nigeria’s ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, if he tenders an “unreserved apology” to the party, an official has said.
Walid Jibrin, Secretary of the Board of Trustees of the party, stated this at his country home in Marmara, Nasarawa State, on Saturday.
Mr. Obasanjo’s membership card was publicly torn by one of his supporters when the former president recently announced his exit from the ruling party.
“Obasanjo must offer unreserved apology before he is admitted and his card re-issued,” Mr. Jibrin stated at a ceremony to announce the defection of his son, Imrana Jibrin, from the All Progressives Congress, APC, to the PDP.
Mr. Obasanjo’s decision to dump the party on whose platform he led Nigeria for 8 years followed his disagreement with President Goodluck Jonathan and some of the party’s leaders, particularly fugitive politician, Buruji Kashamu.
The former president accused Mr. Jonathan of several things including reneging an agreement not to seek a second term in office, and handing over the party’s structure in Ogun State to Mr. Kashamu, who is wanted in the U.S. for drug-related offences. He has also been very critical of Mr. Jonathan’s performance as president.
Mr. Obasanjo is believed to be supporting the candidature of Muhammadu Buhari of the APC against Mr. Jonathan for the March 28 presidential election; and has not made any effort to return to the PDP despite appeals by some of the party’s leaders.
Speaking on Saturday, Mr. Jibrin said although the party would be glad to receive Obasanjo back to its fold, he would have to apologise. He said Mr. Obasanjo will be accorded his rightful place if he returns as he served the party meritoriously and the reasons for his exit were very unfortunate.
“Even Obasanjo who tore our card, if he decides to say I want a new card we will give him and he will apologise to Nigerians and our party, the PDP, then we will bring him back.
“Our party is a disciplined party and disciplines every member from the lowest to the highest,” the official said.
The former senator said that the future of Nigeria’s democracy lies in the PDP, which he said has the capacity to address the country’s challenges.