The meetings between the presidential candidates of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar; the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu; and Peter Obi of the Labour Party (LP); and the Governor of Rivers State, Nyesom Wike, in London last week have received heavy bashing from political stakeholders in Nigeria.
A former president, Olusegun Obasanjo, was part of at least one of the meetings.
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In the company of the Rivers State Governor were the Governors Samuel Ortom (Benue) and Okezie Ikpeazu (Abia).
Impeccable sources said the meetings followed the crisis in the PDP, as Wike’s camp was aggrieved over scheme of things against him in the party. But the governor said the agenda of the meetings were on how to make Nigeria better.
Reacting, the National Publicity Secretary of the New Nigeria Peoples Party (NNPP), Agbo Major, told Daily Trust that the parleys were the height of insensitivity by the participants.
He said it was wrong for them to move in droves to a foreign land to discuss issues that affected Nigeria.
Major said, “Do British politicians come to Nigeria to discuss political issues? Are there no suitable places to discuss local issues about our country in Nigeria?
“Our leaders have continued to give in to the claws and dictates of neo-colonialism and so can’t be trusted anymore. We urge the Nigerian electorates to punish all those involved in this ill-conceived mission to continue to mortgage our future by denying them votes in 2023.
“They have shown that they have no independent minds to govern us but would rather take instructions from foreign imperialist authorities.”
He further said the trips had “worsened the plight of Nigeria and Nigerians at a time there is heavy pressure on forex leading to monumental inflation never seen before; at a time the value of our currency has continued to plummet. Where is the wisdom in this ignominious outing? We must punish them in February 2023 with our votes accordingly.”
Similarly, the Peoples Redemption Party (PRP), through its National Publicity Secretary, Ibrahim Adamu Tudun-Doki, said the monies used for the trips would have gone a long way in assisting ordinary Nigerians.
He said, “Seriously, if we are serious about the situation in the country, we have IDPs all over the place, this monies for foreign trips can be put to good use.
“I expect these politicians to have a rethink about these trips. Also, that is why Nigerians should have a rethink about who they vote for in the next elections.”
A political analyst, Jide Ojo, said he did not know what difference meetings in London would make that meetings in Nigeria would not.
He said, “My main concern is the use of state resources for meetings that could be held in the country. But if you talk about the legality of them, I don’t think that a law has been broken.”
I have no preferred candidate – Obasanjo
Meanwhile, Obasanjo said he has no preferred presidential candidate ahead of the 2023 polls.
He stated this yesterday in Minna, the Niger State capital, after meeting with a former military Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar.
Briefing newsmen after the meeting, Obasanjo said, “I have come to see my brother who was a bit indisposed, and when he was abroad I had wanted to visit him, and the day I arrived in London to visit him was the day he left. So since I did not see him in London, I have come to see him in Nigeria.”
The former leader dismissed the insinuation that he was in Minna to discuss his choice of a presidential candidate for the 2023 polls.