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Obasanjo’s latest ‘romance’ with Tinubu raises eyebrows

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit last Monday to the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has continued to generate heated debate among Nigerians. Obasanjo’s visit a…

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s visit last Monday to the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu, has continued to generate heated debate among Nigerians.

Obasanjo’s visit a day after this year’s Eid el-Kabir (Sallah) came barely 48 hours after the former president was seen donning a cap with President Bola Ahmed Tinubu’s customised emblem.

A video of Obasanjo wearing a cap branded with Tinubu’s insignia was taken at an event attended by some African dignitaries.

This has led to insinuations that the visit was not unconnected to the 2027 elections, especially among political actors in the country.

The fascination over the meeting arose from the historic squabble between incumbent President Tinubu and Obasanjo since the advent of the Fourth Republic.

Whatever the import of the meeting, the development has imploded political permutations across the country and will not fizzle away in months or even years to come.

The news of the meeting was first relayed on social media by the First Lady’s media aide, Busola Kukoyi, who said that the former president came calling to felicitate with her principal on the occasion of the Sallah celebrations.

While Kukoyi, in her statement, did not state the venue of the meeting, some said that the meeting was in the Presidential Villa, Abuja; others claimed it was in Lagos.

It was later clarified that the visit was indeed in Lagos.

However, the controversy over the meeting has deepened with the new claim that President Obasanjo and the First Lady met when the two found themselves at different functions at the Eko Hotel in Lagos. Mrs. Tinubu was said to have immediately reached out and paid a courtesy call to Obasanjo.

Obasanjo was known to have openly backed the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the 2023 presidential election. Even more, he is not known to have congratulated President Tinubu after he emerged as president.

He also did not attend the inauguration and is not known to have met with Tinubu since the inauguration.

In what was largely seen as tit-for-tat, President Tinubu, while repeatedly congratulating some Nigerians, did not formally congratulate Obasanjo on his birthday last March.

Also, President Tinubu’s decision to revert to the 1960 National Anthem, in the opinion of some, was fuelled by the fact that Obasanjo instigated the replacement of ‘Nigeria, We Hail Thee’ with ‘Arise, o compatriots’ as military head of state.

Daniel Bwala, the former spokesman for the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, who has since returned to Tinubu’s camp, and his compatriot, Reno Omokri, who led the charge, used the perceived new moves from Obasanjo to mock Peter Obi.

However, media and public commentator, Emmanuel Aziken dismissed the insinuation that Obasanjo may have had a change of heart to now back Tinubu, a Yoruba kinsman, for the 2027 presidency.

“Such characterisation of President Obasanjo demeans one of the greatest and perhaps the most patriotic presidents of the Fourth Republic.

“Unlike almost all his successors to date, Obasanjo as president prioritised competence and a national flair in his appointments, even within his inner circle.

“The gist that an Ibo man, Andy Uba, was the first to see President Obasanjo at dawn and the last to see him to bed after dusk is one of the engrained assertions of his presidency. Reducing him to an ethnic champion is the greatest insult to the dignified status President Obasanjo has earned for himself over the years.

“It is also disgusting that some Obidients, feeling so disappointed with the interaction between Obasanjo and Mrs. Tinubu, became insolvent. It is not just an insult to Obasanjo but also to Mrs. Tinubu, who is known for her courteousness to her seniors,” Aziken said.

How Obasanjo met Mrs. Tinubu

According to reports, former President Obasanjo did not meet Mrs. Tinubu, at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, or at home.

He only met her by coincidence at the Eko Hotel in the company of Mrs. Abba Folawiyo.

A source claimed that Obasanjo had an event at the Eko Hotel on Sallah Day ditto the First Lady.

Mrs. Folawiyo, a longtime friend of Obasanjo, then told the former president that the First Lady was around.

He then honoured the First Lady by seeing her at the venue in the company of Mrs. Abba Folawiyo.

They both talked about the situation in the country and sent a message to President Bola Tinubu through the First Lady, Mrs. Remi Tinubu.

But the video of the former president donning a cap with Tinubu’s insignia for about 48 hours did not help in quelling the insinuation that this was a blooming romance between the former president and the incumbent.

Peter Obi having a nightmare over Obasanjo and Remi Tinubu’s meeting – Bwala

Speaking on the development, Daniel Bwala said the presidential candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, is having a nightmare over Obasanjo’s meeting with Mrs. Tinubu.

Bwala, in a post on his X handle on Thursday, said the photograph of Tinubu’s wife with Obasanjo would give Obi a sleepless night.

Bwala said some Pentecostal bishops have also backed away from Obi.

“This picture would give a sleepless night to Mr. P, alias “Greengory.’ @PeterObi.

“I personally know of three prominent Pentecostal bishops that have also abandoned him and his ‘take back your country hate speech.’

“My big uncle Pat Utomi would soon abandon him too. Mark my words,” he said.

Development is insignificant -YPP, LP

Speaking on the matter, the National Publicity Secretary of the Young Progressives Party (YPP), Comrade Egbeola Wale Martins, said that the visit by former President Olusegun Obasanjo to the First Lady, Mrs. Oluremi Tinubu, can be viewed as politically insignificant since it has neither ameliorated the suffering of Nigerians nor added any value to their lives.

“While they are busy hobnobbing and distracting Nigerians, the rates of poverty, insecurity, and inflation continue to move at a geometric proportion. The general elections in 2027 will be the least of our problems if the political class fails to address the myriad of challenges confronting our nation with utmost sincerity.

“President Olusegun Obasanjo is free to visit or support whomever he chooses to, but one thing is certain: come 2027, Nigerians will not reinforce failure,” Martins said.

Also, the National Publicity Secretary of the Labour Party, Mr. Obiora Ifoh, simply told Daily Trust Sunday that the development was not important to the party.

We await Obasanjo’s official position – Obi’s spokesman

On his part, Mallam Yunusa Tanko, the spokesman for Obi, said the controversy is needless, as what was confirmed was that they actually met in Lagos on another programme, which was not that of Mrs. Remi Tinubu.

“And so I don’t think it has anything to do with the 2027 general election. But what we know is that His Excellency, Olusegun Obasanjo, is a very straightforward person.

“If he has any reservations or any support that he will make, I think he will make it publicly. He doesn’t hide under one finger. So let us wait for his own decision to do whatever he wants to do, and then you will know the public will now pick it up from there.

“As far as we are concerned, we know he has been with His Excellency, Peter Obi, and there has not been any form of dispute whatsoever that we know of,” Tanko said.

Contacted, Special Assistant on Media to Obasanjo, Kehinde Akinyemi, said, “No comment.”

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