Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has disclosed why he opposed the re-election of immediate past president, Goodluck Jonathan in the 2015 presidential election.
Obasanjo made the disclosure in a book, Against the Run of Play, written by Mr. Segun Adeniyi, Chairman of the Editorial Board of ThisDay Newspapers.
The book, an account of what happened in the 2015 presidential election, is due for public presentation in Lagos on Friday.
The relationship between the former presidents, noted the author, had soured long before the election.
Jonathan, whose political rise is widely credited to Obasanjo’s influence, had sought to make up with his presumed benefactor and keep him on his side for re-election. He arranged for a meeting with Obasanjo in his Abeokuta home.
READ: ” I’ve Been Diabetic For 30 Years Yet I’m Stronger Than Some Youths…If You Doubt Me, See Me At Night” – Obasanjo
Before leaving for the Ogun State leg of his campaign in January 2015 wrote the author, Jonathan had concluded plans to visit Obasanjo, who had agreed to meet him.
Obasanjo, however, gave a condition: Jonathan must come along with someone of sufficient credibility to act as a witness at the meeting. Jonathan agreed to bring one along.
He approached the hugely influential General Overseer (GO) of the Redeemed Christian Church of God, Pastor E.A Adeboye, who accepted to play the role of a witness.
But on the evening of 12 January 2015, the agreed date of the meeting scheduled for Obasanjo’s Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Pastor Adeboye arrived in the company of Bishop David Oyedepo of Winners Chapel.
“It was only Pastor Adeboye that Jonathan told me was coming with him, but Bishop Oyedepo is a man I also know very well, so I had no problem with his presence at the meeting,” Obasanjo was quoted as saying.
The meeting, stated the author, was an unpleasant one for Jonathan, a man Obasanjo had assisted to become Vice President and then President.
SEE ALSO: From Winning Gold For Nigeria To Facing A Firing Squad: The Intriguing Story of Emmanuel Ifeajuna
Obasanjo frontally told him that he was not going to support his re-election bid, saying he considered his performance as president sub-par and that he had acted less than honorably for reneging on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) zoning arrangement, which prescribed that it was the turn of the North to produce the president.
“I told him in the presence of his witness that I was not going to support him for a second-term and I gave my reasons.
“Aside the issue of zoning on which he was reneging, his stewardship up to that point had also shown very clearly that he was not up to the job,” Obasanjo reportedly said to the author in December 2016.
Obasanjo, according to the author, claimed to have nothing personal against Mr. Jonathan, explaining that his disagreement with him was based on certain principles on which he was not prepared to compromise.
“My decision was based on what would be for the good of Nigeria and since I didn’t consider Jonathan god enough, I told him to his face. What would I be afraid of?” asked Obasanjo.
The outcome of the meeting was a huge blow to Jonathan, who was initially billed to be on the ballot in February 2015 before the eventual postponement of the election. Jonathan, expectedly, left Abeokuta dejected.
The outcome of the meeting was the culmination of years of disdain, initially muted, with which Obasanjo held the Jonathan presidency. Signs of his irritation first manifested on 3 April 2012, when he resigned his position as chairman of PDP Board of Trustees.
Two months later, he delivered a wounding assessment of the Jonathan’s administration’s capacity to confront corruption.
On 15 June 2012, at a debate organized by the club De Madrid (an independent, non-profit organization comprising 80 former democratic presidents and prime ministers from fifty-six countries) in Geneva, Switzerland, Obasanjo laid into the Jonathan administration with full force.
“I haven’t seen that will of persistency and consistency in Nigeria because the people that are involved in corruption, they are strongly entrenched and unless you are ready to confront them at the point of even giving your life for it, then you will give in, that is the end of it,” he told BBC
Ritula Shah, moderator of the debate. Clever sniping by an accomplished verbal sniper. From then on, Mr. Jonathan was a sitting duck.