The December 4 visit of five governors to former President Olusegun Obasanjo in Abeokuta was meant to stop the release of his book, My Watch, TheCable can report.
The five governors of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) had held a closed-door meeting with Obasanjo, amidst media reports that it was meant to make him campaign for the re-election of President Goodluck Jonathan whom he had been openly criticising.
Obasanjo later told the media that “we discussed about security, about the economy, about things you all know. We looked at these issues very objectively and we came to the conclusion that, yes we have a bad situation but not irretrievably bad because something can still be done”.
TheCable can now report that the major reason for the meeting was meant to persuade Obasanjo not to release the book, which is highly unflattering of Jonathan.
Jonathan had got wind of the “acidic” characterisation of him by Obasanjo in the book and the timing of the release was considered politically damaging, coming less than two months to the presidential election.
The five governors in attendance are: Sule Lamido of Jigawa, Babangida Aliu of Niger, Liyel Imoke of Cross River, Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom and Isa Yuguda of Bauchi.
When the meeting failed to persuade Obasanjo to delay the book till after the February 14 presidential poll, a decision was reached by some party chieftains that Kashamu Buruji, a former ally of Obasanjo, should get a court injunction to stop the release.
Certain portions of the book had described Buruji, a south-west PDP chieftain, as a drug pusher and fugitive.
The court order did not stop Obasanjo from releasing the book as he claimed it had already been published by the time the injunction was granted.
The court has subsequently found him guilty of contempt and ordered that the book be confiscated.
Although the aspects related to Jonathan are considered damaging, the fact that Obasanjo also took on so many people in the book, including his former vice-president Atiku Abubakar, his daughter, Iyabo, and former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua, seems to have watered down the spotlight on the president.
Obasanjo wrote on Jonathan: “After watching, reaching out to, studying, talking to, and listening to the president himself and the people around him, I came, sadly, to a number of conclusions that mark Jonathan out as a man of adequate intelligence to run the affairs of Nigeria but lacking in broad vision, knowledge, confidence, understanding, concentration, capacity, sense of security, courage, moral and ethical principles, character and passion to move the nation forward on a fast trajectory. Although he might wish to do well, he does not know how nor does he have the capacity to.
“To compound his problem he has not surrounded himself with aides sufficiently imbued with the qualities and abilities to help him out. Most of them are greedy hangers-on or hungry lacklustre characters interested only in their mouths and their pockets.
“Whatever the misgivings in some quarters, Goodluck Jonathan obtained a credible enough margin of votes in the 2011 presidential elections to feel confident and ready to manage the affairs of Nigeria well, give hope, raise and fulfil expectations, make Nigerians proud at home and respected abroad, and lead in good democratic governance.
“At first, he took some right steps in seeking out good men and women for his cabinet. Except for a few, I myself would have appointed most of the same people he selected. But as I have said, having smart people as ministers and advisers is not enough. A leader must have the knowledge, vision, understanding, will, competence, integrity, courage and transparency, and engender trust, confidence and respect to lead the team without fear, favour or undue familiarity.
“It would appear that beyond putting that team together for clearance by the Senate and deploying them to ministries, not much else was accomplished. In fact, immediately after the elections, it would appear that contrary to the position taken by Jonathan before the elections to be a one-term president, all his moves were towards the idea of a second term. I wondered, could it be that his aides were manoeuvring and strategising on his behalf? But I would not buy the idea of presidential innocence.”
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