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Obasanjo is Like a Father to Me -Jonathan
. We Discussed important Issues -Nyako
Former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, turned the beautiful bride as President Goodluck Jonathan and four northern governors of the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) paid him separate visits at his Presidential Hill residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
The visits turned dramatic as the four governors arrived the residence just as Jonathan’s convoy made the last turn to descend from the hilltop road unto the IBB Boulevard.
The governors were Malam Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Dr Rabiu Musa Kwankwaso (Kano), Alhaji Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) and Aliyu Wamakko (Sokoto). The governors, who paid a solidarity visit to embattled Rivers State Governor, Mr Rotimi Amaechi, last week, are seen as some of the elements that constitute the internal opposition in the ruling PDP. They had aligned with the anti-Jonathan faction of the Nigerian Governors Forum (NGF) and had openly opposed the faction headed by Plateau State Governor Jonah Jang.
Newshounds were kept away from the palatial residence as both camps took turns to meet the former chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP.
Jonathan spent more time with Obasanjo. He arrived at about 11:30am and left 1:30pm.
The president’s visit came barely 48 hours after a meeting with the national leadership of the party and the Akwa Ibom State governor, Godswill Akpabio’s crucial visit to Obasanjo in Abuja. Though the details of the interactions between the PDP leaders and Obasanjo were not made public, they may not be far from the current battle in the party ahead of the 2015 elections.
Jonathan had been allegedly having running battle with the former president over party structures and control, but he insisted yesterday that Obasanjo remains his father and the visit was far from any crisis-mending between them.
Feelers hinted that the governors may have come to tell Baba to prepare for their departure from the PDP if Jonathan would not succumb to their wish to have his second term presidency ambition dropped.
Also, Jonathan’s visit might not be unconnected to the fall-out of Obasanjo’s meeting with Akpabio on Wednesday.
The president, who arrived the Asero Estate of his aide Dr Reuben Abati at exactly 1:37pm where he later responded to newsmen after commiserating with the family and signing the condolence register said, “You should know that I must branch at his (Obasanjo’s) house when I’m in Abeokuta.
“Obasanjo is my father and I’m his son. If I enter Abeokuta and fail to check on Baba at his residence, you people will think that there’s a fight between us. There’s nothing like it. Moreover, the distance between Baba’s house and that of Abati is less than 10 kilometres.”
The president who was accompanied by the Minister of Health, Professor Onyebuchi Chukwu, Senator Folashade Bent and other personalities did not stay long at Abati’s residence, as he departed the house at exactly 2:07pm.
Jonathan, who signed the condolence register on the death of the mother of Abati, Madam Taiwo Abati said, “Here I am in Abeokuta to commiserate with my brother, Abati.
“He is a family member because all of us are family at the State House.
“I was to be here yesterday but I was away in Togo. Most of the senior staff that are supposed to be there with him were with me.
“So I think it is normal for me to come and greet him today.”
Few kilometres away, Obasanjo was playing host to four northern governors.
The four governors were: Rabiu Kwankaso of Kano, Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Murtala Nyako of Adamawa and Babangida Aliyu of Niger.
The quartet is believed to be in strong opposition to Jonathan and are die-hard loyalists of Obasanjo.
When newsmen cornered the governors after laying siege to them at the gate, Adamawa State governor Nyako, who spoke on behalf of the rest asserted that their visit to Obasanjo “is to come and greet him as a father and leader in the party”.
Nyako who was not willing to speak to journalists maintained, “We’ve come to meet with the most accomplished Nigerian ever on a very important matter.” They left the hilltop residence at exactly 2:50pm.
A source close to the Obasanjo residence hinted that nobody was privy to the meeting of the two sides.
“It was on Baba and Jonathan. And I mean it. It was a private visit from both sides.
“But, we hope it will bear good fruits for our party,” a former national officer of the party told Sunday Trust.
The entire town was jam-packed as security details were at every major road junction.
Motorists and other road users had a hectic day moving.