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Yar’Adua’s cold shoulders

Posted by By Emeka Eyinnaya on 2007/12/16 | Views: 925 |

Yar’Adua’s cold shoulders


Just seven months out of power, former President Olusegun Obasanjo is already feeling vulnerable to the extent that he has started begging his former deputy turned implacable political foe, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for forgiveness.

* OBJ begs Atiku

Just seven months out of power, former President Olusegun Obasanjo is already feeling vulnerable to the extent that he has started begging his former deputy turned implacable political foe, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, for forgiveness.

Sunday Sun can authoritatively reveal that Obasanjo has already sent emissaries to Atiku whom he hounded out of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and even made spirited attempts sack from the Presidency.

One of the emissaries, it was gathered, met with Atiku two weeks ago in Lagos before the latter travelled out to Dubai penultimate Sunday (December 2).

One of the emissaries is a billionaire businessman from the North while the other is a former aide to Obasanjo, who has remained very close to the former President.
But Atiku camp are not forthcoming on the details of the meeting. Contacted at the weekend, a spokesman of the Atiku Campaign Organisation, Dr. Deolu Akande, denied the meeting. Prodded further, he simply said: “No comment.”

But Sunday Sun gathered from insiders that the trusted aide of the former president invited the former vice president to Ota Farm on behalf of Obasanjo to “iron out their differences”.
Obasanjo’s emissary, it was further learnt, informed the former vice president that his boss was now remorseful, having realised, with the benefit of hindsight, that information he acted on to persecute Atiku in the build-up to the April 2007 polls was largely false.

“Baba is now of the view that you and him should meet to work out the modalities of your return to our party (PDP) and join other founding members and re-position it to face the challenges of the future,” the trusted aide of the former president was said to have told Atiku.
The scheduled meeting at Ota was to provide a saving grace for the former president as the impression would be created in the public that Atiku made the first move for reconciliation.

Though Atiku had spent one week in Lagos with his family before travelling to Dubai, he was said to have ruled out the possibility of going to Ota by road on the ground that his bad leg would not enable him sit in a car in the shuttle from Lagos to Ota.
Instead, what he gave the emissary to take back is that the president “could come over since he has access to either a jet or helicopter”.

Olive branch
However, Obasanjo’s olive branch, according to a reliable source, is not borne out of a genuine desire by the former President for peace.
Rather, the ex-President is seeking reconciliation with Atiku with a view to subsequently enlisting his support to fight his anointed successor, President Umaru Yar’Adua. Again, the former president is said to be uncomfortable with the on-going realignment of forces in the North such that Atiku and President Yar’Adua are beginning to hold nocturnal meetings.
The former President reportedly wants to team up with Atiku to ensure Yar’Adua’s defeat at the Presidential Election Petition Tribunal.
Obasanjo is crossed with Yar’Adua for a number of reasons, chief among which is the reversal of some of his policies.
Lately, the former president is said to be having sleepless nights over subtle but steady probe of NNPC with Yar’Adua standing aloof. One of the mind-boggling discoveries already made is the monumental fraud perpetrated under the regime of fuel subsidy whereby a powerful mafia pocketed tens of billions of naira earmarked to subsidize the importation of petroleum products. Obasanjo was the de facto Petroleum minister for eight years.
Again, another shocking discovery made is that the children of the former president are sitting on the boards of a number of consortiums to which sweetheart concessions were granted in the nation’s oil and gas sector.
Contrary to Obasanjo’s austerity posturing, it has also been discovered that the former president cornered a number of choice plots to himself. The one the investigators found most mind-boggling was that “Baba’s also snatching the only plot of land General Gowon has in Abuja”.

Unending spate of reversals
On the eve of his departure from office, Obasanjo had, for instance, sold the Port Harcourt and Kaduna refineries to Blue Star, a consortium promoted by a coterie of his friends including Alhaji Aliko Dangote and Femi Otedola of Zenon Oil.
These actions of Obasanjo have since been reversed by Yar’Adua to public acclaim.
The National Assembly would soon shock Nigerians by making public its investigation into the management of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) under the Obasanjo administration.
For the eight years he ruled, attempts by the appropriate committees of the two chambers of the National Assembly to probe the accounts of the NNPC were frustrated despite allegations of sleaze against the corportaion.
Also, the sale of African Petroleum to Otedola, a friend of the ex-President might be reversed. The House of Representatives has already questioned the circumstances the company was sold and even invited the Director General of the Buruea for Public Enterprises (BPE) for explanations.
The President has also reversed the sale of government houses which were bought mostly by the aides to the former President.
The most agonising and embarrassing of those reversals to Obasanjo was the recent decision by the Senate rejecting the ceding of Bakassi Peninsular on the grounds that it was done unilaterally by the former President.
He is, therefore, upset that Yar’Adua has not been shielding him contrary to his expectation when he literally moved mountains to make him president.
Obasanjo, Sunday Sun further gathered, had expected Yar’Adua not to reverse any of his policies just as he also expected him to use every public forum not just to defend the policies but also to eulogise him over them, thereby reinforcing his image as “father of the nation and founder of modern Nigeria”.

Meeting enemies
Another point of disappointment for Obasanjo is the fact that Yar’Adua has been fraternising with his (Obasanjo’s) political ‘enemies.’
Former Abia State governor, Dr. Orji Uzor Kalu and Atiku are among these so-called enemies Yar’Adua has been fraternising with, to Obasanjo’s disapproval.
Since assuming the Presidency on May 29, Yar’Adua has twice played host to Kalu at the Presidential Villa.
Also, Yar’Adua, according to a reliable source, had since assuming office paid several private visits to Atiku because of the family ties between them.
The former Vice President, who has severally described Yar’Adua as his younger brother has also been returning the visits.
The president is a younger brother to the late General Musa Yar’Adua, Atiku’s political mentor, who died in the custory of General Sani Abacha in December 1997. The senior Yar’Adua was the founder of the influential Peoples Democratic Movement (PDM), one of the political blocs that fused into PDP in 1998.
However, events surrounding Atiku’s last visit to the President appears to have put a wedge in their relationship, a situation Obasanjo is hoping to exploit to “teach Yar’Adua a lesson”.

Anger
After Atiku’s last visit, which was at the prompting of the Chief of Staff to the President, Major General Abdullahi Mohammed, stories surfaced in the newspapers claiming that Yar’Adua had used the visit to beg the presidential candidate of the Action Congress (AC) in the April 21 presidential election to withdraw his petition at the tribunal.
This reportedly angered Yar’Adua, who subsequently directed his Special Adviser on Communications, Olusegun Adeniyi to issue a statement on the visit and put things in their correct perspective.
While acknowledging Atiku’s visit to the President, Adeniyi denied that the President begged Atiku to withdraw his petition.
The Special Adviser to the President stated that for the period the visit lasted, there was no time the election or the pending petitions were discussed.
Apart from directing that the statement be issued, Yar’Adua, Sunday Sun further learnt, has decided to cut off the access Atiku had to him.
Sources told Sunday Sun that whenever Yar’Adua had visited Atiku and vice versa in the past, the former vice president was intrigued that the president never broached the matter of the pending case at the tribunal. Rather, Yar’Adua would focus on “family matters”.

Atiku’s supporters spoil for war
Meanwhile, as Obasanjo pushes for reconciliation with the Turakin Adamawa, supporters of the former vice president are reportedly opposed to any talk about reconciling with the Ota farmer.
Sunday Sun gathered that they have even threatened to ditch Atiku should he agree to reconcile with Obasanjo, insisting that the former President cannot be trusted.
They cited the 2003 situation where Atiku backed down at the last minute from the presidential race when they had Obasanjo in the palms only for the former President to come after them after securing a second term in office.
Indeed, the enviable fate that later befell three governors including Diepreye Alamieyesiagha of Bayelsa State, is easily traced to the 2003 incident by the supporters of the former vice president.
It was their belief that Alamieyesaigha was impeached and humiliated because of the support he gave to Atiku in the run–up to the presidential primaries in 2003, which Atiku ultimately pulled out because of pleas by Obasanjo.
Apart from Yar’Adua, the chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Maurice Iwu, is also understood to have recently found his way into Obasanjo’s bad book.
Iwu’s sin is the recent statement he made describing the 2007 general elections as the best in the annals of the country’s history, even better than the June 12, 1993 elections, which have remained a benchmark, a reference point as the freest and fairest elections in the country.
The statement by the INEC boss, which has attracted criticism from several quarters, did not also go down well with Obasanjo but for a different reason.
The former President, according to a source, would have been happier had Iwu disparaged the election he superintended over as that would have helped his plot to unseat Yar’Adua through the tribunal.

Yar’Adua as Plan B
Obasanjo’s recent bitterness against Iwu is better appreciated against the backdrop of the fact that Presidency under Obasanjo actually worked assiduously to frustrate the conduct of the 2007 general elections.
Sunday Sun gathered that the choice of Yar’Adua was just a ‘Plan B’ by Obasanjo to remain in office after the collapse of the Third Term Agenda in 2006.
Given his suspected frail health, Obasanjo had expected the rigours of the electioneering campaigns to take a toll on Yar’Adua such that he would be in such a bad shape that would have warranted his pulling out of the race in the last minute.
That would have given room for the postponement of the election.
But contrary to their permutation, Yar’Adua survived the hectic period despite the rumours at a time that he had kicked the bucket.
Surprised at his staying power, the powers-that-be then decided to undermine the election proper, hence the shortage of electoral materials.
For instance, some of the electoral materials paid for were reportedly abondoned in South Africa.
Despite the plot against Yar’Adua, Sunday Sun gathered that the former President is in for more surprises from the former Katsina State governor that he helped to become president. His game-plan: by allowing his culture of due process to take root, thus imperilling Obasanjo who personifies the arbitrariness of 1999-2007.

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Comments (3)

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Abieyuwa(Edo, Nigeria)says...

Otasowie means evening life is better than morning life. There is an error in your “evening life is better than evening life”?

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Naija g(Houston, Minnesota, US)says...

Sokari doesn’t mean joy. Joy is Biobela. Go to the village and ask the meaning of the name.

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Fay(Katy, Texas, US)says...

Actually translates to bravehearted.