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NIGERIA: Why Obasanjo is Unhappy with Jonathan

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have assumed and President Goodluck Jonathan More facts have emerged on why former President Olusegun Obasanjo may have assumed an anti-President Goodluck Jonathan stance, even as the 2015 intrigues continue to gather steam.

A source privy to a recent meeting where Obasanjo had expressed his displeasure to some close allies on how President Jonathan has been relating with him, said it all started when Obasanjo indicated his intention to resign as the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) in April last year, a situation President Jonathan  allegedly handled poorly.

According to the source, the former president had expected the president to engage him in order to seek clarification on why he was leaving the office beyond the excuses he had advanced.

Commenting on the Obasanjo/Jonathan grudge, the source said the former president was shocked when about a week after serving the notice of his intention to resign, he received a letter from Jonathan, accepting his resignation without either an attempt to persuade him against it or give personal attention to the plan. Obasanjo was said to have described President Jonathan's action as both insensitive and a display of poor understanding of the nuances of power.

"Baba had expected that given his place in the party and especially the role he played in his emergence, the President would have prevailed on him not to go but stay back and help moderate things at the highest level in the party," the source said.

Another source, however, said such a stance by Jonathan should not have been taken seriously because he probably didn't understand that an Obasanjo quitting as BoT chair would come with any implication and so, "he just acted naively."

But the THISDAY source, who gave a rundown of Jonathan's alleged many infractions against Obasanjo confirmed that a presidential emissary had been constantly dispatched to him (Jonathan) and added that the former president was also not happy with the way the Jonathan groups were going about his re-election bid.

According to him, he (Obasanjo) had put a lot at stake by brokering a one-term deal that is now being vehemently denied, adding that even if there was plan to seek re-election, the brazen approach is certainly counter-productive in the light of the prevailing political developments in the country.

Obasanjo was also said to have frowned at the electioneering deal Jonathan allegedly struck  with the opposition party in the 2011 election in the South-west,  a move he believes  could undermine the chances of the remaining PDP governors in the South-west states.

Also, by moving against him at the party level, both at the state and national levels, was considered a clear move by President Jonathan to tell Obasanjo that he was no longer needed at whatever capacity, either in the government or party.

The source recalled that apart from easing out former governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola of Osun State as national secretary, Bode Mustapha, as auditor-general and former Ekiti State governor, Segun Oni, as vice-chairman of the party in the South-west zone, the PDP in his Ogun State had also been taken away from him and handed over to someone regarded as "unrepentantly anti-Obasanjo", Mr. Buruji Kashamu.

Worthy of note, the source mentioned, was that Obasanjo didn't take kindly, the way Jonathan took his position on the issue of insecurity, especially when the President was reported as saying he would not handle the issue of terrorism the military way, alluding to Obasanjo's invasion of Odi and Zaki Biam.

Another instance deemed condescending, according to the source, was that Obasanjo sometime ago visited one of his farms in Cross River State and observed that the road to the farm was in deplorable state and immediately moved to address it.

"So, Baba expressed his disappointment to the Cross River State governor on the state of the road but the man replied and said it was the President that had not approved of it being a federal road.

"Right there, Baba called the president and narrated his encounter with the governor and told the president that he had appealed to the governor to go ahead with the road and that he'll be reimbursed by the president, to which Jonathan was said to have replied in the affirmative.

"But Baba was later shocked to hear that the president had sent for the governor and dressed him down for what he considered 'reporting him to Baba'. So, these are some of the things that people do not know that are annoying Baba.

"It is important to note that Baba had thought that as a former president, he would have been given the honour of nominating a successor as BoT chairman even if he was not going to reverse his position. But he was technically edged out.  But for  these infractions, the source said, “Baba was not and never would have been against the president because of the role he played in his emergence.

"It is therefore depressing for Baba that those who opposed his choice as vice-president to the late President Yar'Adua but craved for Dr. Peter Odili and even frustrated his coming onboard as acting president are now the ones he relies on.

“At what point can you say Baba has gone wrong?",  he asked, adding: "The degree of Baba's bitterness is so high now and he has decided to keep quiet and watch."

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