…Says ex-VP deserve Waziri crown
By Dirisu Yakubu & Umar Yusuf in Yola
Former President of Nigeria, Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo has said the Presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 elections, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar will bring honour and dignity to his office if given the mandate by Nigerians.
Obasanjo stated this Sunday at the Lamido Fombina Palace, Yola, where Atiku was turbaned the 7th Waziri Adamawa by His Royal Majesty, Alhaji Muhammadu Aliyu Barkindo Mustapha, the Lamido of Adamawa.
The former President whose remarks were punctuated occasionally by his trademark humour, lauded his former deputy for his strong cultural orientation, stressing that while both were in the Villa, he (Atiku) never forgot where he came from.
“No matter the issues today, I know you will not disappoint. When we were in Abuja dealing with national and international issues, you did not take lightly the cultural heritage of your people.
“I am sure you will bring honour to this position and I want to thank you, Waziri for doing all of us proud,” he said.
In what was clearly a display of the humorous side of the former President, Obasanjo wondered why it took a few seconds for Atiku to respond whenever he called him Waziri.
“Get used to it when I call you Waziri. You did not respond quickly when I called you Waziri. You are used to Turaki, throw that away. Give it to someone else, ” he added amidst laughter from the capacity-filled crowd.
Making reference to his three years stint at the Yola prison which shares a perimeter fence with the Palace, Obasanjo expressed his readiness to accept a traditional title from the Lamido Adamawa provided he is deemed worthy of one.
“I did not lived in the Palace but only a wall separated us. If you give me a turban, I will take it, ” he added.
President Muhmmadu Buhari who was represented at the ceremony by the Minister of the Federal Capital Territory, Alhaji Muhammed Bello wished the Waziri a successful reign.
According to Bello, the President has high regard for Atiku saying it is the wish of the first citizen that the former Vice President’s reign will bring about peace and prosperity in the Adamawa kingdom.
He said, “The President sent me here as a show of the respect he has for you (Atiku) and the Fombina kingdom. He wishes you and the entire Adamawa kingdom good health and prosperity.
“The President wishes you a successful reign as Waziri Adamawa in peace and prosperity.”
The palace located in the heart of the ancient city, played host to a huge crowd of people made up of politicians, traditional rulers, military and paramilitary personnel, local musicians, the diplomatic corps, vendors of various items and more.
One of the early callers at the Lamido’s Palace was the former national chairman of the PDP and a political associate of the celebrant, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur.
As early as 8.00AM local time, men of the Nigerian Police and the Federal Road Safety Commission, FRSC, teamed up to control the flow of traffic to and from the Jimeta -Yola residence of the PDP Presidential flag bearer.
Dignitaries who graced the big event included former President Dr. Goodluck Jonathan, ex-Vice President, Architect Namadi Sambo, Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Speaker of the House of Representatives, Hon. Yakubu Dogara, Governors Ibrahim Dankwambo, Seriake Dickson, Darius Ishaku, Abdulfatai Ahmed and Udom Emmanuel of Gombe, Bayelsa, Taraba, Kwara and Akwa Ibom states respectively.
Others included PDP national chairman, Prince Uche Secondus, PDP Board of Trustees chairman, Senator Walid Jibrin, two-time governor of Kano state, Senator Rabiu Kwankwaso, former Chief of Army Staff, General Kenneth Minimah (retd), ex- Minister of Foreign Affairs, Chief Tom Ikimi, the lawmaker representing Bayelsa East, Senator Ben Murray Bruce, immediate past governor of Niger state, Babangida Aliyu and erstwhile governor of Adamawa state, Boni Haruna amongst others.