The lingering feud between President Goodluck Jonathan and his estranged godfather, former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have taken an irretrievable dive for the worst, Sunday Sun learnt over the weekend. The misunderstanding, which began soon after the election of Jonathan in 2011, and gradually built up has emphatically positioned Obasanjo as the rallying point of the opposition.
The rift has been largely attributed to alleged sidelining of Obasanjo in the affairs of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and the government. But
pro government sources insisted it was the inability of the former president to dictate the tone of Jonathanâ€™s government, control, and ultimately draft in another protÃ©gÃ© to take over from him in 2015 that nurtured and sustained it. To show his disenchantment with the scheme of things, Obasanjo resigned his chairmanship of the partyâ€™s Board of Trustees (BOT) in 2012, and has since then openly aligned with opponents of Jonathanâ€™s administration. His associates within the party especially in the three geo-political zones of the North have since teamed up with him leading to
Large scale defections from the party to the budding All Progressives Congress (APC).Although the former president is yet to join the APC, there are clear indications that he may likely do that as soon as some conditions before the party were met. The prime condition is to be given the capacity to influence the selection of the presidential candidate of the party, while the candidate in turn picks his running mate, unfettered. The leadership of the APC, at the moment is not settled on the demand especially as it would obfuscate the vision and streamlined objective of wresting power from the PDP.
The leadership hierarchy is also wary of the impact it would have on the collective leadership arrangement presently in place and ipso factor whittle down the influence of notable leaders who envisioned and founded the parties and the merger arrangements. Although Obasanjoâ€™s romance with the top-echelon of the party is deepening with each passing moment, the body language of the leaders is yet to indicate he would be given that latitude. Although the APC is desperate to clinch power next year, it is a bit careful not to go into crises before its convention, especially when so many political heavyweights are jockeying to fly the partyâ€™s banner.
A party source confided in Sunday Sun that, â€œThe matter has never been brought up formally at any meeting of any organ of the party.â€
The source, however, acknowledged the demand, but described it as â€œmere rumour.â€ As the battle to remove the obstacles in the APC before the former president rages, there are indications that Jonathanâ€™s planned declaration to run for president in April may prove to be the oyster. In a bid to stop Jonathan from what he considers an impossible mission, Obasanjo has accelerated moves to railroad influential political and ex-military heavyweights in the North into his project.
The swansong on his lips is that Jonathanâ€™s re-en-try into the race would heat up ethno religious passions and lead to the disintegration of the country. He insists the presidential slot should go to the North, and to demonstrate his sincerity, he says he would give a free hand to them to pick someone â€œwho is good for the job.â€Obasanjoâ€™s plot, however, wobbled when the Presidency quickly moved to counter it. The counter move led to the cessation of hostilities against Jonathan from a good number of the northern leaders including former military leaders, Gen Ibrahim Babangida (retd), Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd), and the Chairman of the Northern Governors
Forum, Babangida Aliyu. Indeed, the rapprochement necessitated the recent reshuffle in the Federal cabinet with each of them having nominees amongst the incoming ministers. Unfazed about the development, Obasanjo is trudging on with an iron cast determination to frustrate Jonathanâ€™s re-election bid. Part of his new plan is to accentuate criticisms of the government of Jonathan, throw up the warts and engender anti-Jonathan sentiment across the nation. Upon Jonathanâ€™s formal declaration, he will most likely dump the PDP and lead the presidential campaign of the APC, especially in the South-west and North where the party has its stronghold. An aide to the president told Sunday Sun that government has been aware of the plot.
He said; â€œIt is not new. It began when the Secretary to the Government of the Federation was to be appointed. He was in far-away China and he insisted the appointment must wait until he returned. There is nothing in his new offensive.â€ Sunday Sun learnt that the North, which Obasanjo is banking on to stop Jonathan, has been infiltrated by Jonathan elements, and may not likely vote enbloc. While some Northern leaders prefer to remain passive and watch the unfolding events, others are singing different tunes. This has greatly reduced apprehension in the camp of Jonathan as he prepares to recontest.