Obasanjo to PDP: Drug Baron Can’t Be My Leader, Says Jonathan Should Stop Begging Him
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo rejected yesterday the peace moves by his party’s leadership on Sunday and told President Goodluck Jonathan, Senate President, David Mark, and the leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party(PDP) to do the “needful” and stop inundating him with appeals for forgiveness.
The former Chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP said he cannot be in the same group with “a drug baron” wanted in the United States.
He urged President Goodluck Jonathan and Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) leaders to do the “needful” instead of begging him for forgiveness.
Said Obasanjo “Today, Nigeria needs all hands on deck to deal with our pressing problems of security, including the issue of Chibok girls, widening inequality, infrastructure, impunity, corruption, poverty and youth education, skill acquisition, empowerment and employment.
“These are issues of concern to most Nigerians. We all need to join hands to move Nigeria forward. I don’t need to be begged for that.
“Rather, I beg and appeal to those who are begging me to realise that we must put Nigeria’s interest above politics – party or personal – otherwise, we will all be judged at the bar of history if not the bar of current affairs.
“In addition, we must preserve, sustain and deepen democracy and democratic practices.”
The former leader insisted that he had never left the party and would remain a card-carrying member, having ruled the country for two terms on its ticket.
Obasanjo, who returned from a trip to South Africa at the weekend, made his position known in a statement in Abeokuta yesterday.
He was reacting to last week’s statement by PDP National Chairman Adamu Mua’zu and other leaders when they were welcoming back into the fold former Ogun State Governor Gbenga Daniel.
Mu’azu had said: “I want to join Governor Daniel to appeal to our Baba, President Olusegun Obasanjo, to forgive us. We are your children and we have been making mistakes; we have made mistakes and so we apologise.
“Please, Baba, we apologise; come and lead us. Even the President (Jonathan) is waiting for you to come and lead us; you are our leader, we appreciate you, we thank you for your leadership and your courage.”
The former Chairman, Board of Trustees of the PDP, who was in South Africa over South Sudan’s increasing insecurity and violence, said he almost cut short his stay there following “the avalanche of news, cacophony of appeals and pleadings from some quarters of PDP”, which he described as evidential manifestation of “misunderstanding and misrepresentation” of facts.
Obasanjo, who added that he had occasion to make his stand on vital matters affecting the party known to Jonathan, Senate President David Mark, who recently visited him on behalf of the party.
Obasanjo said issues of principle, morality, honour, integrity, commitment and character are to him paramount. He said he could not “accept that the zonal leader of my political party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America.”
He went on: “During last week when I was in South Africa as the Chairman of African Union (AU) Commission of Inquiry on South Sudan and while with my fellow Commissioners, we were deliberating on how to help that new country (South Sudan) out of its problem of security and violence, I received an avalanche of news and cacophony of appeals and pleadings from some quarters of PDP leadership.
“Talking of inviting me back to PDP is wrong and it is a great misrepresentation as I have never left the PDP and I will never leave the PDP.
“I have said it before and I will say it again, I rose to become the President of Nigeria on the platform of PDP and for that reason alone, I will remain a card-carrying and ward-active member of PDP for as long as I have to be a political party member.
“Secondly, nobody has personally offended me as a result of my membership of PDP. If, however, anybody or group feels offended by my continued membership, I will offer an unreserved apology but continue to remain in the Party.
“I have had occasions to say to the President, the Senate President and the Party Chairman separately that I have no quarrel with any individual or group in the Party. There are, for me, issues of principle, morality, honour, integrity, commitment and character, which are paramount.
“For instance, as a former President of Nigeria, the Chairman of West Africa Commission on Drug and a member of Global Commission on Drug, I cannot accept that the Zonal leader of my political Party and, worse still in my zone, will be an indicted drug baron wanted in America.
“How do I explain that to friends outside Nigeria? This is only one of the many issues that I have pointed and still pointing out.
“I have national and international standard to maintain and reputation to keep and sustain. For these reasons, I opted to remain active only at the ward level of the Party till the leadership does the needful.
“But under no condition will my commitment to Nigeria be diminished. And, for me, it is commitment to Nigeria first and any other commitment can only follow in second or third place. Where any other commitment is in tandem with what I see and understand as commitment to Nigeria, such other commitment will share a pride of place with Nigeria.
“I must hasten to thank the President, the Senate President and the Chairman of PDP with whom, at their instances, these issues have been discussed and laid to rest. My interest and commitment to Nigeria go beyond partisan politics.”
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