BY BEN AGANDE
…Efforts in top gear to reconcile them
ABUJA—Former President Olusegun Obasanjo Sunday made a surprise appearance at the Presidential Villa chapel where he worshiped with the first family.
The former president who has been a virulent critic of President Jonathan Goodluck Jonathan came into the Villa chapel in company of Femi Otedola and two of his children.
Though details of his visit were not available, Vanguard gathered that the former President was invited to the church service by mutual friends of the president and Chief Obasanjo in an effort to secure a truce in the on going disagreement between them.
The source who does not want to be named because he was not authorised to speak on the matter said “since the two (Obasanjo and Jonathan) are christians their friends feel that there is no better place to begin the reconciliation process than the church. It is a first step in a move that we hope will stop the altercation between the two leaders and their aides.”
An official of the presidency who attended the service said the former president took second reading at the service and accompanied President Goodluck Jonathan to the children’s church after which he had lunch with President Jonathan before leaving the villa.
President Jonathan has come under scathing criticism from the former president who accused Jonathan of failing to guarantee security in the country. He particularly accused President Jonathan of not doing enough to tackle the Boko Haram menace which has significantly affected economic activities in the northern part of the country ,especially in Maiduguri and other states in the North East.
Obasanjo’s criticism has opened a flood gate of criticism from his former officials, especially former Minister of FCT, Nasir El Rufai and Oby Ezekweseli who accused the president of incompetence and corruption.
But the President’s aides have taken on his critics frontally accusing some of them of pursuing personal interest while pretending to be fighting for the good of Nigerians.
Dr Reuben Abati, the Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity in an article in newspapers on Sunday titled “The hypocrisy of yesterday’s men” noted that “Underneath their superfluous appearance, lies an unspoken class disdain directed at the person and office of a duly elected president of the country”.
“Those who believe that no one else can run Nigeria without them must be told to stop hallucinating. The former Ministers, former Governors, former DGs, and all sorts who have been busy quoting mischievous figures, spreading cruel propaganda must be reminded that the Jonathan administration is in fact trying to clean up the mess that they created. They want to own the game when the ball is not in their possession.
“They want to be the referee when nobody has offered them a whistle. They seek to play God, forgetting that the case for God is not in the hands of man. One of the virtues of enlightenment is for persons to have a true perspective of their own location in the order of things. What they do not seem to realise or accept is that the political climate has changed” he said.