FORMER President Olusegun Obasanjo and Governor of Imo State, Chief Rochas Okorocha, literally exchanged words, as he described Okorocha as a failure.
Obasanjo was reacting to an earlier comment of Okorocha in his goodwill message at the grand finale of the civic reception held in his honour by the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), South-West, at the Ake palace ground, Abeokuta, on Saturday.
The governor had in his comment jokingly referred to Obasanjo as his “colleague” in the 2003 presidential primary of the PDP.
Okorocha, in his comment, had described the former Board of Trustees’ chairman of the PDP, as an “unmoveable” and “unshakeable” man, who was not afraid of fighting any battle.
“We are here to give honour to whom honour is due. OBJ is a man difficult to be described. He represents different things to different people. He is not afraid fighting any battle. He is a general soldier.
“Obasanjo is indeed PDP. But in the actual sense, he’s a national leader. He does not belong to the PDP alone but a national leader of Nigeria. If I have another opportunity to advise him, I will tell him to be the national leader of the country and not the national leader of the party,” Okorocha added.
The governor, who defected from the PDP to All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), was recalling his days as Special Adviser to the ex-president on Inter- Party Affairs, told the gathering that he advised Obasanjo while in office as ex-president, which led to the good things he achieved.
Okorocha exonorated himself from all the “bad things” Obasanjo did while in office, saying that he was out of the country when he (OBJ) erred.
He urged Nigerians not to allow political party practices to slow the pace of development, saying that it was time to stop politicking against good governance.
He said that “Political party is only a vehicle to attain governance. However, we must know when to stop politics and embrace governance. Let us produce more leaders than politicians.
“We must realize that what unites us is more than the party that divides us. While we play politics, let us not forget the masses that voted us into power. The party cannot put food on the table of the common man.”
But the ex-president, to the chagrin of Okorocha and dignitaries present at the ceremony, said that he (Okorocha) was a failure in his ambition to become the presidential candidate of the party.
Obasanjo said, “I met him not long ago by virtue of the fact that he was brought up in Jos which is one of the few cities that I found in the 50s and 70s as a genuine melting pot in Nigeria; he probably would not have been able to achieve what he has achieved. He is a true Nigerian. And when he wants to pull me down, he will say we are colleagues. How can I be a colleague of a failure? You are a failure in contesting for the presidency of Nigeria!”
The ex-BoT chairman advised Okorocha to have a re-think and return to PDP.
“Your speech gladdens my heart in a particular way, but we know why you have to take a detour. Now you have taken the detour, it is time to come back home and your speech is an indication that you are returning,” Obasanjo advised Okorocha.
At the ceremony which had in attendance President Goodluck Jonathan, represented by his vice, Alhaji Namadi Sambo, the Speaker, House of Representatives, Alhaji Aminu Tambuwal, represented by his deputy, Emeka Ihedioha, the national chairman, PDP, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, Governors Emmanuel Uduaghan, Godswill Akpabio and Rotimi Amaechi who was represented by his deputy, Tele Ikueru, ex-Ghanaian president, John Kuffour, the Owa Obokun of Ijesaland, Oba Adekunle Aromolaran, among others.
But Akpabio in the defence of Obasanjo based on Okorocha’s comment said he was sure that all the good things the ex-president did was not based on Okorocha’s advice.
Akpabio said, “I was not as lucky as Governor Okorocha to work with him (Obasanjo). So I did not give him the piece of advice. But one thing I do know judging from the way Baba behaved, I’m very sure that even the few things that he did were actually taken out of the bad pieces of advice of APGA that Rochas Okorocha represented.
“Baba, I say the good ones are from you, not from him. Baba is an astute politician, he’s one of the most intelligent Nigerians; he’s somebody who believes in democracy. When he was military head of state, he did not waste time in handing over power in 1979. This is the same man that Nigeria called out of prison and honoured with the Presidency of Nigeria. Baba is a cat with nine lives.
“Obasanjo cannot leave PDP. PDP is a winner. Your legacies will be emulated by the younger generation.”
Akpabio likened Obasanjo to the Biblical David who prayed that God should prepare his food in the presence of his enemies.
Sambo, in his remarks, at the ceremony described OBJ as a true elder statesman, saying his significant contributions to the socio-political and economic development of the country could not be over-emphasised.
He added that the current administration would continue to build on the foundations he laid.
Meanwhile, touts had a free day at the reception as they stole mobile phones and other valuables of some guests.
Among the victims were former governor of Ekiti State, Mr. Ayodele Fayose, the publicity secretary, Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Lagos State chapter, Mr. Taofeek Ganiyu, the publisher of News Direct Newspaper, Mr. Samuel Ibiyemi and the Ogun State correspondent, Nigerian Compass, Kunle Olayeni.
Despite the heavy presence of security officials, the miscreants had a field day, as no arrest was made to the best of the knowledge of Sunday Tribune.
Fayose felt dejected by the action of the miscreants while Ganiyu was unhappy with the development.
Meanwhile, the embattled national secretary of PDP, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, stole the show when he stormed the venue of the ceremony in company with former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Agagu. The shout of “Oyin ni o” rent the air, as he (Oyinlola) and Agagu danced to the music of Evangelist Ebenezer Obey with the admiration of the crowd.
Culled from Prime Gossips
Posted for VPRO-E_TV