2019: Obasanjo, Jonathan meeting rattles APC

The Nigerian political elite are increasingly realigning their forc­es in readiness for the 2019 general election – ruffling a few feathers in the process.
Indeed, the recent visit of former President Goodluck Jon­athan to ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo, who played a prom­inent role in dethroning the Bayelsa-born politician, has sent jitters down the spines of the ruling All Progressives Con­gress (APC) and the Presidency, The AUTHORITY can report.
Although the details of the two ex-Presidents’ meeting re­main sketchy, the APC is said to be uncomfortable that Oba­sanjo, who had recently criti­cised some polices of President Muhammadu Buhari, is sudden­ly felicitating with Jonathan.
Obasanjo had danced openly when Buhari defeated Jonathan at the presidential poll in 2015.
But less than two years af­ter Jonathan’s ouster, Obasanjo at the weekend hosted him in Ota, Ogun State, where they were re­portedly seen playing the tradi­tional “Ayo” game.
An APC leader, who reacted to the meeting and the purport­ed comeback bid of Jonathan, de­clared that he cannot deceive Ni­gerians, who are yet to recover from his monumental failure in office.
The party chief however ad­mitted that any time Obasanjo is mending fences with his foes, “he is up to something strange.”
There are speculations that Jonathan is under intense pressure by some political actors to play a more prominent role in the em­battled People’s Democratic Par­ty (PDP).
Jonathan, in a response, has of recent begun to pay more atten­tion to the party that brought him to limelight, fueling suspicions of his real intentions. This unstated project has been admitted by the opposition PDP.
The PDP is presently divided into two factions headed by two former governors Ahmed Ma­karfi and Ali Modu Sheriff. Ma­karfi and Sheriff are also former Senators.
The surprise visit to Ota, Oba­sanjo’s country home, came at a time the ruling party and the pres­idency are apprehensive of the real intentions of the Jonathan project.
A source told The AUTHOR­ITY that the state of the nation is causing more apprehension for the cabal in the present govern­ment, making them suspicious of every movement of the Bayelsa-born former president.
According to the source: “All the blame game on the past ad­ministration is no longer holding water. This is almost two years; continuing to blame the previous administration is causing more harm to the present administra­tion.
“What was dollar going for in the past? What of the cost of com­modities in the market? What of the price of fuel? Nigerians no longer agree with the blame game. People are suffering.
“Did we suffer like this dur­ing Jonathan’s reign? So, how will you tell them the previous regime caused the suffering? So, any fur­ther attempt to taint the image of Jonathan is rather attracting sym­pathy to him”.
He told The AUTHORITY that with the dwindling economy, cries of marginalisation in some parts of the country and the cri­sis in the ruling All Progressives Congress, the leading opposition PDP is working to get a candi­date that has a national posture, prompting some political watch­ers to suggest that PDP is look­ing in the direction of Jonathan.
The sources said that some parts of the North also see Jon­athan as a better alternative. The recent incident in Sokoto where some people carried placards urging Jonathan to come back is seen as testing the waters.
It added: “Also, don’t for­get what is happening in South­ern Kaduna, what happened in Benue and some parts of the country under Buhari. The way this regime is handling the kill­ings is sending a very bad mes­sage.”
“Look at the speed with which Buhari rushed to con­demn the suicide bombing in Maiduguri! Did he speak on time when people where being slaughtered in Southern Kadu­na and Benue?”
“What of the killings in Enugu by what some are calling herdsmen? Even with the men­ace of Boko Haram, some feel Jonathan handled most of these issues in the national interest.”
But a chieftain of the PDP from the North East, however, described the Jonathan project as a part of the reconciliation process in the party.
“No, he is not contesting; but the meeting in Ota is part of the reunion, to mend fences. There is no way Jonathan will contest. Already, the PDP has zoned the presidential ticket to the north. Jonathan is just bringing the party chieftains back for peace to reign”.
The secret Jonathan project is however being described as a plan in futility, with some saying the Jonathan era witnessed mas­sive corruption in various sectors.
Comrade Okpokwu Ogenyi, National Coordinator, Coalition for Good Governance and Change Initiative (CGGCI), said Jonathan should concentrate on his role as a statesman.
“It is not possible; Jonathan’s visit to OBJ is part of fence-mend­ing among leaders and should not be attributed to the politics of 2019.
“The kind of impunity and corruption witnessed in the era of Jonathan is terrible. Even Jonathan himself did not believe such money was moved out in his government.”
“I am sure Jonathan will not bring down himself in seeking for the presidency again. He is the youngest elder statesman in Nige­ria today and I believe he is enjoy­ing that status. Irrespective of party affiliation, Jonathan should sup­port President Buhari to continue to cleanse the country.”
A prominent figure in the rul­ing APC from the North described the scheming as inconceivable, but realizable.
“In our country, anything can happen. However, you don’t blame those planning it; look at what is happening in the country. It is an­ything goes.”
National Vice Chairman of the Sheriff faction of PDP, Chief Cairo Ojuogboh, however dis­pelled insinuations that his party plans to present Jonathan in 2019.
“There is nothing like that; we have not discussed the issue of presidential candidate in any way. What we are working on is the to­tal reconciliation of the party.”
“We are resolutely committed to reconciliation. Jonathan has not told anybody that he is going to contest the presidency and people should not cause problems. Mis­chief makers should not cause problems for us, so we can bring the party back.”
Source: authorityngr


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