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Saturday, 20 July 2013

Jonathan, Northern governors in hide and seek visit to Obasanjo



The northern governors waited for Mr. Jonathan to leave before arriving Mr. Obasanjo’s house.
Four Northern governors on Saturday played what could be described as a hide and seek game with President Goodluck Jonathan when the two parties separately visited former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his private hilltop mansion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State Capital.
The northern governors include Murtala Nyako (Adamawa), Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Aliyu Wamako (Sokoto), and Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano). The four governors are among the Peoples Democratic Party governors that defied their party and the presidency to vote Governor Rotimi Amaechi as the Chairman of the Nigeria Governors Forum.
Mr. Jonathan was the first to arrive at the ex-president’s house. The president paid an unscheduled visit to Mr. Obasanjo on his way to condole with the Abati family over the burial of the mother of his spokesperson, Reuben Abati. The Abati’s live in Abeokuta, close to Mr. Obasanjo.
The president held a closed door meeting with Mr. Obasanjo for over one hour.
While Mr. Jonathan was meeting with the former president, the northern governors arrived the Ogun State capital unaware of the president’s visit.
Upon realising that the president was in town, the governors reportedly resolved to stay away from Mr. Obasanjo’s house until the president leaves.
About five minutes after the president left Mr. Obasanjo’s house, the governors arrived.
Speaking with journalists after their closed door meeting, the northern governors said they were in Abeokuta for “consultation” with the former President on “very important matters.”
“We have come to greet the most accomplished Nigerian ever and would remain so for a very long time and to consult him on very important matters,” Mr. Nyako, who spoke on behalf of his colleagues, explained.
The president after his visit to the Abati’s told journalists that he did not attend Friday’s funeral for the deceased because he was away in Togo for an official function.
He also confirmed his meeting with Mr. Obasanjo, saying he remained the ex-president’s son.
“Of course, you know that Reuben’s house and Obasanjo’s house are just about 10 minutes drive to each other. It would not be proper if I’m coming to Ogun State to see Reuben who is just at Obasanjo’s backyard that I would not stop over to greet him (Obasanjo).
“I’m Obasanjo’s son – and Obasanjo probably have some differences. So, I said that before coming to greet the family, let us stop over and greet Obasanjo and we did that. We stopped over there. Even our helicopters are there in the Government House, we drove down here,” the president said.
Mr. Obasanjo was a major backer of the president in 2011, but is believed to be opposed to any re-election plans for Mr. Jonathan, preferring to support a Northern candidate rumoured to be Mr. Lamido of Jigawa. The former president boycotted the widely publicised presentation of Mr. Jonathan’s mid-term report in May, preferring instead to attend a function by the Jigawa governor on the same day.
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