How Afenifere Persuaded Obasanjo to Back Atiku


 Image result for Obasanjo and Atiku



Though a lot of Nigerians were surprised by the sudden turnaround of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, who despite his earlier vows not to support the presidential ambition of his former Vice President, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, eventually opted to give his blessings to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential candidate.

Obasanjo, at different fora, had told Nigerians and Atiku never to count on him (Obasanjo) for support in his latest bid to actualise his life-long ambition of being elected the president of Nigeria in 2019, but facts have emerged that pan-Yoruba sociopolitical organisation, Afenifere, played the most significant role in making the former leader bend his rules.

Afenifere, in collaboration with leaders from the South-east, South-south and the Middle Belt regions under the Southern, Middle Belt Leaders Forum and the Northern Elders’ Forum had declared that they would only support a presidential candidate whose programme will guarantee restructuring, and that they have resolved that Atiku is the candidate that deserves their blessing in 2019 being that he had named restructuring as one of the major agenda of his government if elected.

Hinting THISDAY exclusively on how the group of leaders across the country was able to secure Obasanjo’s support for their preferred candidate on Sunday in a telephone conversation, Afenifere National Publicity Secretary, Mr. Yinka Odumakin, said the leaders convinced the former president that Atiku is the only candidate with a clear agenda on restructuring.

According to him, “In the course of our visit to Obasanjo last Tuesday, we explained to him the position we have taken with our colleagues across the country-the Middle Belt Elders Forum, the Northern Elders Forum, the South-east and South-south Elders Forum-that restructuring would form the basis of our support for any candidate in 2019.

“We also told him that since he is an important person in our community within the South-west that it will not be good to be on a different page with him.

“When responding to our decision to back Atiku, he said for him, national interest overrides personal feeling. He said some people have been reaching out to him that they wanted him (Atiku) to see me, but that since we came to him and spoke on his behalf, he would give the appointment.

“Chief Obasanjo also said anytime Atiku would be coming, he would want us to be there and that was why we were present at the meeting.”

Recalled that it has been reported exclusively that Obasanjo is under pressure from close friends and political allies to support Atiku’s presidential bid, those urging him believe the former president has genuine intentions for Nigeria, but they are desirous of seeing the end of what they consider President Muhammadu Buhari’s inane government in 2019.

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