…Ex-President visits Adebanjo, holds talks with Afenifere leaders
In what could best be described as a fence mending move ahead of the 2019 general elections, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, visited former National Deputy Chairman (South-West) of People’s Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, and Afenifere chieftain, Chief Ayo Adebanjo in Lagos.
The former president was accompanied on both visits by his top aides and associates, which included Chief Abraham Akole, Femi Majekodumi, Jojo Fadairo and Bolade Oshinowo.
At Adebanjo’s residence to receive the former president were some South-West leaders and Afenifere chieftains, including Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasonrati; former governors of Ondo and Ogun states, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko and Gbenga Daniel, respectively; Senior Pastor of the Latter Rain Assembly, Tunde Bakare; and Olasupo Shonibare, among others. The visits signaled an end to the no-love lost relationship between Obasanjo and George on one hand and Afenifere chieftains on the other. Obasanjo declined comments after the meeting, but Adebanjo noted that it was geared towards fostering unity among the South-West ahead of the 2019 general elections.
“The meeting is nothing more than the need for Nigeria to move forward and that all attempts to exert dictatorial tendencies must be opposed,” Adebanjo said. He added that though the South-West has no preferred presidential candidate in 2019, there was need for the zone to first put its house in other before it can move forward.
Adebanjo, who expressed optimism that the meeting would yield positive result, noted that “any differences among ourselves must first be settled before we can move forward.”
Pastor Bakare also expressed optimism that the meeting would yield positive results.
Bakare, who is a known critic of Obasanjo, noted that, “there is a difference between being a critic and criticism. Here is Obasanjo criticising President Muhammadu Buhari even though he (Obasanjo) supported his (Buhari’s) election.” Spokesman of Afenifere, Yinka Odumakin, explained further that, “the historic meeting is about his desire to save our country.
“The two leaders came with their associates. You can see from the expression on their faces that the meeting was a success. Afenifere is not a group that keeps animosity. We work with people whose ideas coincide with ours. Don’t forget that in 2007, Muhammadu Buhari was Afenifere’s candidate. So, Afenifere does not keep permanent friends. It has no permanent enemies; it is about permanent interests.”
Earlier at the Ikoyi residence of former National Deputy Chairman (South-West) of the PDP, Obasanjo condoled with the family over the death of their son, Dipo, who died last May 9.
He urged George to take solace in God over the demise of his late son, noting that it was the will of the Almighty
God. Obasanjo said: “We cannot query God, but to only take solace in what He has done to you. If this did not happen, who knows what would have happened. I have not been around, but it was in my mind to come over and commiserate with you and the entire family. May God grant the deceased eternal rest.”
In their vote of thanks, George’s family declared that the political rift between Obasanjo and George was over with the visit.
George’s sister, Majolagbe, who spoke on behalf of the family said: “We were all shocked when it started. But today, the devil has been put to shame. The evil this morning has been condemned outside this house. It will never come to this two great Nigerians anymore. Time has come again when my brother will find Ota as his home. It is over, Allah take all thanks.”