BY CLIFFORD NDUJIHE, OLA AJAYI, DAYO JOHNSON, GBENGA OLARINOYE & DAPO AKINREFON
Suggestions that Yoruba elders will intervene in the feud between former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo and his daughter, Iyabo, were yesterday ruled out as prominent leaders from the South-West said they would not mediate.
In ruling themselves out from brokering an end to the face-off between father and daughter, the elders affirmed that it was a family feud which was best left to insiders.
However, Second Republic Senator and Yoruba leader, Senator Ayo Fasanmi called on the National Assembly to probe the issues raised against Obasanjo by his daughter.
Among other Yoruba leaders who commented on the feud yesterday were Afenifere leader, Chief Reuben Fasoranti; Afenifere stalwart, Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Second Republic Minister of Justice and Attorney-General, Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), and one time leader of the Alliance for Democracy, Senator Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa.
Group supports Iyabo
Also yesterday, support came the way of Senator Iyabo Obasanjo from a group, Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria, FEHN, which said that the former senator and first daughter should not be castigated based on the fact that she knows her father more than many other commentators.
The feud between father and daughter came to public knowledge upon an open letter to Obasanjo from Iyabo exclusively published by Vanguard last Wednesday.
In the letter, Senator Iyabo Obasanjo described her father as a liar, wife beater, manipulator, two-faced hypocrite, who orchestrated a third term plot in office despite denials to the contrary.
It’s their problem— Fasoranti
Speaking on the squabble, leader of the Yoruba socio-political group Afenifere, Chief Fasoranti, yesterday, said the group has no business in the family matter that is tearing Obasanjo’s family apart.
He said: “I do not think we will like to intervene in it because it is between the father and the daughter. They know themselves.
“If it was done in bad taste, that is their problem. It shows how they relate with themselves at home. We have no business mediating in their private matter.
“Let them settle their quarrel themselves. No Yoruba leader would interfere in the Obasanjo/daughter quarrel. It is their family matter and it has nothing to do with Nigeria.
“There are other pressing national matters to attend to than the Obasanjo/daughter crisis. So, there is nothing we as elders can say or do.”
It’s for NASS—Fasanmi
Another Yoruba elder, Senator Ayo Fasanmi who described the rift between the former President and his daughter as a very sensitive issue, said he would not support Yoruba elders dabbling into the matter.
Speaking on telephone in Osogbo yesterday, Fasanmi said Senator Iyabo Obasanjo’s letter to her father was very indicting.
He said the cross fire between the father and his daughter was a matter that cannot be swept under the carpet, but should be thoroughly investigated by prominent leaders in the country, including members of the National Assembly.
He said: “The National Assembly should as a matter of urgency set up a panel comprising prominent members of the assembly to investigate all the weighty allegations made by Iyabo Obasanjo in the interest of the nation.
“There must not be a cover up in the matter. It bothers on morality and integrity of Obasanjo and Nigerians deserve the right to know the truth of the matter as a leader in his (Obasanjo) own right.”
Fasanmi also urged Nigerians not to blame Iyabo Obasanjo, saying “Obasanjo wrote an open letter to President Goodluck Jonathan recently.
“If he has the right to do so, I believe Iyabo also has the right to write to her father and advise him on the right thing to do.”
However, he stated that he would not support Yoruba elders intervening in the current impasse between Obasanjo and his daughter, saying that it was strictly a family and an internal affair, which needs to be handled at the family level.
A family matter— Adebanjo
Also, Afenifere stalwart, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, who spoke with Vanguard on the telephone, said it was a family matter which needs no outsider intervention.
Adebanjo said: “What are you intervening in a family matter for? The girl is saying what she is experiencing with her father, what do you want to dispute there?
“I believe it is purely a family matter. Another thing is that, as far as I am concerned, it shows how unfortunate Nigeria has been to have had the type of person that has ruled us for 10 years.”
Olu Falae, Akinjide, Akinfenwa
On his part, former Minister of Finance, Chief Olu Falae said: “Well, it is a family matter between a father and daughter.
“As far as I am aware, there is no room for anyone getting involved in a family matter. It is a pure family matter which we know nothing about.”
When Vanguard called Chief Richard Akinjide (SAN), and asked if Yoruba elders should intervene, the former Minister of Justice said emphatic ‘No’ without giving further explanation.
Also, Chief Mojisoluwa Akinfenwa, another respected Yoruba leader simply said it is a Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, affair and would not want to say anything about it.
He said: “It is the internal crisis of PDP. Let them settle it as a family problem.”
However, a chieftain of the PDP, Senator Lekan Balogun said although he and Chief Obasanjo were not best of friends, he felt the crisis between father and daughter should not be allowed to aggravate.
He said: “We will do our best. I will try and talk to Iyabo first and then her father. We cannot sit down and watch the issue to degenerate. “It is only Chief Obasanjo and I who are not best of friends but I will call Iyabo.”
‘Obasanjo’s letter to Jonathan worse’
Meanwhile, as reactions continued to trail Senator Iyabo Obasanjo’s letter to her father, Chairman of the Foundation for Ethnic Harmony in Nigeria, FEHN, Mr. Allen Onyema, said Iyabo should not be castigated because “she knows her father more than anyone else.”
Onyema, who said that Obasanjo’s 18-page letter to President Goodluck Jonathan last week was capable of whipping up sentiments that can lead to civil war, added that Nigerians do not need Iyabo’s letter to know that Obasanjo “has nothing to offer Nigeria now than instability.”
Onyema said: “The man was playing with treason. Imagine an old man trying to whip up sentiments that can lead to war.
“Obasanjo’s public letter to President Jonathan is absurd because he did worse things when he was President.”