Sunday, 23 January 2022 05:08

'I retired 14 years ago and I will remain retired' - Obasanjo rules out return to PDP

Fresh moves to drag former President Olusegun Obasanjo back to the Peoples Democratic Party failed on Saturday as he declared that no amount of persuasion from Nigerians, especially from the founding fathers of the party would bring him back into partisan politics.

Obasanjo held a closed-door meeting with the national leadership of the PDP led by the National Chairman of the party, Iyorchia Ayu, at his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence.

Emerging from the meeting, Obasanjo insisted that he had left party politics for good, but he would continue to play the role of an elder statesman for the development of Nigeria.

The team arrived at the Penthouse residence of Obasanjo, located within his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library, Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, around 12.25pm and went into the meeting with the former President, which lasted over two hours.

In the team were the PDP vice-presidential candidate in the 2019 election, Peter Obi; and former governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Donald Duke (Cross River).

The Deputy National Chairman of the PDP (South), Taofeek Arapaja, and other party officials were part of the entourage.

The former President quit partisan politics when some leaders of the PDP, led by the Chairman of his ward in Abeokuta North, Surajudeen Oladunjoye, visited him at his Presidential Hilltop mansion in 2015. 

Speaking on Saturday, Obasanjo admitted that the PDP played an important role in his life, but he had since ceased being a member of the party the day he directed his ward chairman to tear his membership card.

The former President said, “I have been with the party right from inception. Whatever I do in my own life, because I became President on the platform of the PDP, the PDP will continue to be part of the history of my life, but having said that, the day that my ward decided to tear my PDP card was the day I ceased to be a member of the PDP and that day I vowed that I would not be a member of any political party again, but I will remain a statesman in Nigeria, in West Africa, in Africa and indeed in the world.

“I retired 14 years ago and I will remain retired by the grace of God.

“Bear in mind and I want to emphasise that, I’m no longer in partisan politics and there is nothing that will bring me back to partisan politics, but I will always be interested in what is good for Nigeria and anybody who wants to have my advice, I will distinctively give it in the best interest of Nigeria and in the best interest of Africa.

 

“But if I retired from partisan politics, if politics is welfare of the people, I must not retire from the welfare and well-being of people, whether in my own community, in my own state, in my own country, anywhere in Africa or indeed anywhere in the world, and that is why I have the type of responsibility that I now have in the Horn of Africa, which is not an easy responsibility, but it has to be done; but I will say that your (Ayu) own responsibility is not an easy one either. It has to be done.”

While charging Ayu, Obasanjo said the responsibility of the PDP and that of Nigeria rested on his shoulders and he would continue to make himself available for counsel.

He said, “Iyorchia, you have the PDP load with Nigeria load and it is only God that can help you to carry this load, which of course, I believe if God gives you a responsibility, he will also give you the wherewithal to be able to carry that responsibility.”

 

In his remarks, Ayu described Obasanjo’s administration as the golden era of the PDP and Nigeria, lamenting that the country ‘‘has now fallen short of leadership that Nigeria deserves.”

Speaking on Obasanjo’s retirement from politics, Ayu said, “Even though you (Obasanjo) retired from partisan politics, partisan politics will never retire from your blood, because you want the right thing done; and since you want the right thing done, for life you will remain an emeritus member of the PDP.

“You cannot build a house and leave it to collapse. You throw a challenge to me that if I have been there from the beginning, why have I not done anything, maybe I was doing something, but it was not good enough. We will continue to contribute our own quota; we will continue to come to you; so, I want to plead with you, please don’t be tired of us as we come knocking asking for your advice, asking for  wisdom, because the words of elders are words of wisdom and there is no leader here in this country (bigger) than President Olusegun Obasanjo.”

On the readiness of the PDP for the 2023 elections, Ayu said, “We want to assure you that the new leadership of the PDP with the rest of the PDP family will do everything possible from ward to ward, local government by local government across the country to restore the lost glory of Nigeria in which your era was a shining example.

“Anytime we talk about the history of the PDP, there is no way we talk about the PDP without mentioning between 1999 and 2007.”

 

[PUNCH]

Read 314 times

Leave a comment

Disclaimer
Comments expressed here do not reflect the opinions of www.reubenabati.com.ng / Abati Media or any employee thereof.