+Those Who Played Key Roles
Many days after, political analysts are still in shock that Asiwaju Bola Ahmed Tinubu visited General Olusegun Obasanjo in his house, in Abeokuta. Equally shocking was the camaraderie that was seen between the 2 politicians, as photos of the visit showed OBJ and Tinubu laughing all through the visit.
This is because many political watchers had ruled out any rapprochement between the 2 leaders. They had concluded that Tinubu and OBJ had drawn the battle line, politically.
What made them feel so was that of all the presidential candidates, Tinubu remained the only one who had not paid an official visit to Obasanjo. The last to visit was Peter Obi.
When over the last few months, Tinubu visited Abeokuta to meet Ogun State APC delegates before the APC primaries and he did not stop by to say hello to OBJ, they concluded that the 2 have not resolved their differences.
What many didn’t know was that Tinubu deliberately delayed his visit to Obasanjo to this very time.
He had hinted at it before now but many didn’t take notice of it. In a special interview with The News Magazine months back, Tinubu was asked whether he will go to Abeokuta, in due course, to seek the blessing and advice of Obasanjo, and he answered matter of factly that he will go. “I will. Remember, I went to see him at the beginning of our merger. I still respect him as an elder,” explained Tinubu.
Insiders revealed that it was in fulfilment of his promise to visit Obasanjo that he went last week.
On what Tinubu discussed with OBJ, the Speaker of the House of Representatives, Honourable Femi Gbajabiamila, revealed that going by what transpired during the meeting between former President Olusegun Obasanjo and the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Tinubu, Tinubu’s victory is assured in 2023.
Gbajabiamila made the statement last Thursday while speaking at the Surulere Local Government Area (LGA) APC meeting in Surulere, Lagos. Gbajabiamila, who was present at the closed-door meeting between Obasanjo and Tinubu last Wednesday, in Abeokuta, said from what he heard there, Tinubu’s presidency is almost a reality.
He said Obasanjo made encouraging statements about Tinubu’s aspirations and even prayed for the APC presidential candidate.
Gbajabiamila said, “When we were going to Obasanjo’s house, we were 8, including Tinubu and myself. We didn’t want many people to know about the meeting. So, we were to meet Obasanjo and 5 others from his side.
“But when we eventually got there, we met something pleasantly shocking, a mammoth crowd of our supporters were already at the former president’s house waiting for us.
“So, Obasanjo told Tinubu to pick 3 people from his side and that he would pick 3 from his side to meet behind closed doors.
“So, I, Chief Osoba and Chief Akande and Tinubu went from our side. My people from what I heard there, what Obasanjo said, the victory of Asiwaju is assured.
“Obasanjo spoke at length and we were all happy. He embraced our candidate like a brother, gave him a pat on the back, and prayed for him copiously.”
Gbajabiamila said from what analysts and observers had said, the 2023 election was going to be a 3-horse race by three main candidates.
He, however, added that Tinubu was the candidate with the best record of performance and network. Gbajabiamila said he had no doubt Tinubu would win the presidential election.
He urged party faithful at the various wards making up Surulere Local Government Area to work assiduously for the victory of Tinubu and all APC candidates in Surulere in 2023.
He added, “Next year’s election is going to be an important one in our nation, and we all need to make the right decision.
“From all indications, there are 3 main candidates for the election. We know the records of everyone, we know what they did and what they did not do.
“Two were former governors and we know the one whose records are enduring and we know how the other people performed while in office.
“But one thing is a fact: there is none out of the 3 candidates that has the records of Tinubu.
“He is the best of them all and I don’t have any doubt in my mind that he will win come 2023.”
Contrary to all the conflicting reports making the rounds, City People gathered that Tinubu’s visit to OBJ, was a successful one, as all he did was to just formally tell OBJ he was running for Presidency, the way he told President Buhari, Gen Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida, Alhaji Abdulsalam Abubakar and other members of the group now called The Owners of NIGERIA.
Tinubu’s visit to Obasanjo put paid their age-long rift. For the past 23 years, both had related which each other with a lot of suspicions.
City People gathered that it is because OBJ does not like Tinubu and he has not hidden his feelings. According to a political analyst, although OBJ usually does not directly attack Tinubu in his public speeches, he always refers to him in veiled terms.
Tinubu also has learnt to always ignore OBJ, who he knows does not like him.
Why does OBJ dislike Tinubu? City People recently spoke to a close friend of Obasanjo who revealed that it is because he feels Tinubu is too stubborn to handle. And that Tinubu has shown him disrespect for years. Tinubu in turn has always responded by saying he took after OBJ in being stubborn.
Their rift dates back to 1999 when Tinubu became the Governor of Lagos and Obasanjo the President.
In the special interview with The News, Tinubu also explained that for years he had studied Obasanjo and he can correctly read his body language, as he did when OBJ wanted to go for a 2nd term and he got other governors in the South-West to support him, promising to also support them, but he hoodwinked them and they all lost except Tinubu.
What made him see what others did not see? Tinubu was asked.
Tinubu’s explanation was that as a matter of personal principles he always tries to make sure that people don’t deceive him. “That is why I call myself a Smart boy. I see through Deception easily and bring into play defensive mechanisms that will get me out of trouble. You don’t deceive me easily. If I just submit to your deception, I only submit. I am a very highly inquisitive person. If you offer me a bowl of garri, I will ask questions, particularly if I didn’t tell you I was hungry. So, why should Obasanjo trade his position for your own and you believed him and took him for granted? He was in opposition. He was seeking power.”
“Power is not served a-la-carte. Have you gone to any restaurant and looked at their menu and seen Power 2/6?”
Back to 1999, Tinubu had always been the leader of the progressive governors along with the likes of Chief Bisi Akande in Osun State. He has also been the one galvanising the South-West governors of that era. OBJ didn’t quite like the fact that he couldn’t win Tinubu to his side. No wonder, for the 8 years that both of them were in power, their relationship was at best frosty.
To punish Tinubu, OBJ made sure he starved Lagos State, over which Tinubu superintended, of funds. And it was the stoppage of Lagos Stae allocations that brought them into open confrontation and Tinubu’s Lagos State dragged the federal government to court. And he won.
OBJ did not like this confrontational posture. The military man in him repulsed this”, revealed an insider.
There was an incident that happened at the Lekki Free Trade Zone many years back, revealed a source. When OBJ was President. Tinubu invited Obasanjo, as President to attend the launch of the project. Tinubu’s late mum was in attendance. In her capacity as the Iyaloja-General, she was asked to make a speech, which she did. In her speech, she admonished OBJ to draw her son (Tinubu) near, and take him as his junior brother. He pleaded with OBJ to sheathe the sword and resolve all the animosities he has with Tinubu. OBJ smiled, and took the microphone immediately she concluded and responded by saying Alhaja Abibatu Mogaji should also tell her son to behave and respect him, as his elder brother. He said Tinubu is too stubborn. Of course, Asiwaju Tinubu, in his capacity as Governor also responded to OBJ and said that if OBJ accuses him of being stubborn, the same can be said of OBJ who is also very stubborn, rigid and unforgiving.
He said that he took that trait from OBJ. The audience could not help but burst into laughter.
City People gathered that when he was Governor of Lagos State, Tinubu was one of the serving governors who stood up to the dictatorial tendencies of OBJ.
Till today, he has not forgiven Tinubu for his confrontational stance. Over the years, they have had other clashes which have further escalated their differences.