Former President Olusegun Obasanjo supported Muhammadu Buhari in 2015 despite being aware that he “knows next to nothing,” Olagunsoye Oyinlola, the former governor of Osun State, has said.
Mr Oyinlola explained that Mr Obasanjo took the decision to support Mr Buhari because he was disappointed in the administration of Goodluck Jonathan.
Even when he (Obasanjo) was convinced that the candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC) would not deliver, he still threw his weight behind him, following pressure from some chieftains, the former governor said.
Mr Oyinlola, who was once the National Secretary of PDP, disclosed this in an interview with Punch Newspaper.
“The last person to accept Buhari’s candidature was Obasanjo and I say that one with every emphasis because I was involved. Yes, Baba (Obasanjo) had fallen out with Jonathan. His projection then was ‘any option but Jonathan’. That was his stand.
“Taking a look at those candidates from other parties, there was no other person we felt could handle the delicate governance of Nigeria better than Buhari, among the contenders that time. That was why the choice of Buhari became the order.
“That, coupled with the fact that he had been at the helm of affairs in the country before under the military, so he has that edge over all others. But Baba (Obasanjo) was the last to subscribe to the idea.
“I can tell you that it took a team of Saraki, Amosun, Bola Tinubu, Kashim, Imam and myself, that went and bombarded Baba (Obasanjo) at Ota, around 7 a.m., before he succumbed to our pressure.”
Mr Oyinlola said the former president later agreed to support Mr Buhari even when he knew that the former military ruler would not perform.
“That day, he said Buhari that he knew would try in the area of military matters, but outside that, Buhari knows next to nothing; not economy, not foreign affairs and he has been proven right,” Mr Oyinlola was quoted.
Mr Obasanjo’s spokesperson, Kehinde Akinyemi, could not be reached for reaction as of the time of filing this report and he is yet to respond to text message.
PREMIUM TIMES recalls that before 2015 presidential election, over 30 chieftains of the APC went to MrObasanjo to solicit his support for Mr Buhari.
Those present at the meeting then include Bola Tinubu, Ibikunle Amosun, Yemi Osinbajo, John Odigie-Oyegun, Bukola Saraki and Bisi Akande among others.
Obasanjo ruined Tinubu’s ambition
He also said that Mr Obasanjo ruined that ambition of former Lagos governor, Mr Tinubu to be a vice president, adding that the APC would have presented Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“The agreement was concealed from a good number of the party leaders until it surfaced after Buhari had got the ticket. Then the rumour came out and some us felt danger was looming with the idea of Muslim-Muslim ticket.
“To further add to our fears, General Buhari on one occasion said there was nothing wrong in the Muslim-Muslim presidential arrangement, saying after all he governed with Tunde Idiagbon.
“That statement made us to know it (the Muslim-Muslim idea) was a fact. On two occasions, Bola (Tinubu) mentioned it in my presence that they agreed. If you recall one trending video back then, where it was said that Buhari had jettisoned what they agreed on, that is the room he was sleeping when Buhari was looking for the post.”
“We then told Baba (Obasanjo). We told him that taking power from an incumbent government was a tough task and we must not give room for excuse and miss the target. We told him they (Buhari and Tinubu) were thinking of a Muslim-Muslim ticket. That was when Baba (Obasanjo) said people should not take the sensibilities of Nigerians for granted.”
“After that (Obasanjo’s intervention), they started saying it in my presence that Obasanjo frustrated the plan to get Tinubu on the ticket for 2015 but I always acted as if I didn’t hear them. We then had a stakeholders meeting where the issue of the running mate was discussed again.”
Mr Tinubu had long ago denied this during the 7th annual Bola Tinubu colloquium at Eko Hotel in Lagos on March 25, 2015, two days before the election, that he purposely pulled out of the race.
“They said I connived and conspired my way into the VP seat. They lied so easily that it was the price I extracted from General Buhari to support his bid. If not, I would destroy the party on the altar of my ambitions. They were wrong. I pulled myself out of contention. The very brilliant and capable Prof Yemi Osinbajo became our VP candidate. A man of integrity and impeccable character,” Mr Tinubu said at the time.
Mr Obasanjo on February 16, 2015, endorsed Mr Buhari for president and the later won the election.
But Mr Obasanjo has since been a critic of Mr Buhari’s administration, following security challenges and other irregularities that have marred this administration.
In addition, the current administration has, on several occasions, blamed previous governments, which include Mr Obasanjo’s administration, as the architects of Nigeria’s current predicament.
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