Jonathan, Four Northern Governors Play Hide and Seek During Visit to Obasanjo
President Goodluck Jonathan and four northern governors, yesterday, engaged in a dramatic hide and seek game of politics in Abeokuta, Ogun State capital, where they did not only hold separate secret meetings with former President Olusegun Obasanjo but also avoided one another.
The drama began when Jonathan paid an unscheduled visit to his estranged godfather in his mansion on Osoba Hilltop, Abeokuta, after the four northern governors had arrived Abeokuta but, reportedly, hid in an undisclosed location apparently to avoid the President.
There has been no love lost between Jonathan and some northern governors who have been clamouring that the presidency should revert to the North in 2015 to compensate for the death of former President Umaru Musa Yar ‘Adua mid-way to his tenure in 2010 .
The President, who was on his way from Togo, arrived Abeokuta at 11:52am and, reportedly, ordered some members of his advance party to proceed to the house of his Special Adviser on Media and Publicity, Dr Reuben Abati, while he drove into Obasanjo’s expanse compound where he immediately held a closed-door meeting with the former Chairman, Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, for about one and a half hours.
It was learnt that the quartet of the PDP northern governors – Murtala Nyako(Adamawa State), Alhaji. Sule Lamido(Jigawa State), Alhaji Aliu Wammako (Sokoto State) and Alhaji Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano State)- were to meet with Obasanjo at about the same time but decided to delay their arrival in the former President’s residence by stopping at an undisclosed location in Abeokuta ostensibly to avoid meeting Jonathan.
The governors arrived Obasanjo’s compound minutes after Jonathan left the place around 1:25pm.
Jonathan’s mission to Obasanjo’s home was unknown, but a source said it may not be unconnected with his purported 2015 re–election bid which the former President is reportedly opposing.
It is widely believed that Lamido is being subtly supported by the former President as the person to fly the PDP presidential ticket in the next general elections in a bid to return power to the North.
It was not also immediately known why the four northern governors visited Obasanjo and the content of the secret meeting , but when they emerged about an hour later, Nyako told reporters that they were in Abeokuta for “consultation” with the former President on “very important matters.”
Nyako said, “We have come to greet the most accomplished Nigerian ever and would remain so for a very long time and to consult with him on very important matters.”
Meanwhile, Jonathan arrived Abati’s house at 1: 43 pm, and went into a closed-door meeting with the family and later addressed newsmen on what took him to Abeokuta.
When asked about his mission to Obasanjo’s house, the President said: “Of course, you know that Reuben’s house and Obasanjo’s house are just about 10 minutes drive to each other. It would not be proper if I’m coming to Ogun State to see Reuben who is just at Obasanjo’s backyard and I would not stop over to greet him (Obasanjo).
“ Even if he hears that, they would think that I, as Obasanjo’s son, and my father (as he is)probably have some
differences. So, I said that before coming to greet the family, let us stop over and greet Obasanjo and we did that. We stopped over there.
“Even our helicopters are there in the Government House, we drove down here,” Jonathan said.
In his remarks on the death of Abati’s mother, the President said, “The death of Madam Maria Taiwo Abati touches all of us and we must collectively play our role. Since we were unable to be here for the church programme, we said
that this morning we have to be here”.
The President continued: “We must come and greet our brothers and sisters to express our condolence and to encourage the family. Those of us who are Christians, the Bible says that we are supposed to live three scores and 10. So any number of years above that three scores and 10 is a blessing.
“ So, for her to have lived to that ripe age, her departure should be celebrated and not mourned. So, our being here is to encourage them and to reassure the family that we are together and we’ll continue to be together”.
Addressing newsmen after Jonathan left his house, Abati disclosed that he did not expect the President to come in person following his financial assistance towards his mother’s funeral ceremony.
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