By Dapo Akinrefon, John Alechenu, Omeiza Ajayi & Egufe Yafugborhi, LAGOS
Loyalists of the presidential candidate of All Progressives Congress, APC, Bola Tinubu, yesterday, expressed displeasure over the presence of former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo at the London meeting Governor Nyesom Wike of Rivers State and his allies had with presidential candidate of Labour Party, LP, Mr Peter Obi, despite being reportedly committed to their cause.
In a related development, the Obi-Datti Media Office, yesterday, dismissed as jaundiced, remarks made by Mr. Dele Alake, a spokesman of the APC presidential candidate, to the effect that Peter Obi had nothing to show for his eight years as governor of Anambra State.
This came on a day Governor Wike said he will disclose his preferred presidential candidate, ahead of the 2023 elections soon.
It will be recalled that Governor Wike and his allies met with Obasanjo and Obi on the need to form an alliance ahead of the 2023 general elections.
Similarly, Tinubu and some of his allies had met with the former President at his Ota residence to seek Obasanjo’s blessing and support, last week.
However, Obasanjo denied reports that he endorsed Tinubu during the visit of the APC presidential candidate.
His Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, refuted statements from supporters of Tinubu, clarifying that the discussion during the visit was “more brotherly than political.”
Chief Obasanjo’s aide further said the former President had neither agreed nor disapproved of Tinubu’s ‘request.
A source familiar with the London meetings told Vanguard that the Tinubu camp is not happy that Obasanjo was at the parley Wike had with Obi in London.
It was further gathered that Obasanjo’s presence at the meeting was at the instance of Obi.
The source said: “First, it was the Wike camp that leaked the London meeting with Obasanjo and Obi, and secondly, it was because of Peter Obi that Obasanjo was present at the meeting with the Wike camp.
“The Wike camp did not want the story leaked by someone else and that informed their decision to leak the story and picture that they met with Obasanjo and Obi.
“Obasanjo was at the London meeting at the instance of Obi. The Wike camp wanted to meet Peter Obi but Obi requested that Obasanjo should be present before the meeting could hold.
“The Tinubu people were not happy that Baba (Obasanjo) was there (London) because they felt Baba had committed himself when they met with him in Ota. They felt Baba was already committed to them (Tinubu’s camp) and so when he (Obasanjo) met with Wike, alongside Obi, the Tinubu camp was not happy that he was part of the London meeting with Wike and Obi.”
Obi/Datti media office tackles Alake
Reacting to Alake’s comments that Obi, the LP presidential candidate, cannot name any legacy projects of his years of governing Anambra State and, therefore, cannot be compared to his APC counterpart, the Obi-Datti media office berated him for the remarks.
It said: “Alake is certainly among those Lagosians who believe Nigeria begins and ends in Lagos and may not have crossed the River Niger in his lifetime.
“He might not have been to Anambra and had been too biased to read up the LP candidate’s records in the public domain.
“Suffice it to say that Obi’s records won him numerous awards, including ‘Governor of the Decade’ while Alake’s paymaster ruled Lagos State.
“Alake also claimed that Obi’s business is anchored on imports that destroy the economy and that he was not around when his principal struggled for democracy.
“Again, the attack dog is either mischievous or ignorant about Obi being the only chief executive of his era with the most investment of state funds that not only boosted the economy but also provided jobs, not to talk of Obi’s education policy that has taken Anambra State from number 29th to first in the school certificate performance index.
“If Alake is current, he should not have celebrated Asiwaju’s role in the democracy struggle because it has been diminished since it was revealed that he lobbied to be made a minister in late Sani Abacha’s government and only joined NADECO after he was rejected by the junta.
“However, Alake gave out one fact that the Media Office agrees with: indeed, Obi cannot be compared to Alake’s candidate.
“Yes, they are not comparable; Obi is highly verifiable, but Alake’s man is not; Obi has an origin; Alake’s has none; Obi has educational credentials; his counterpart has affidavits; Obi is hale and hearty and ready to face the challenge of leading Nigeria, the other candidate acts by proxy; Alake’s man says it’s his turn to rule Nigeria, Obi says it’s the turn of Nigerians to take back their country. “Indeed, there is no basis for comparison between the two. We are in sympathy with these attack dogs who need to keep attacking the man they claim has no structure and is just a social media wave instead of selling their structured candidate. All they seek is to mention Obi to be able to trend.
“The Obi-Datti tag team is in the market with their content which is resonating with Nigerians, let Alake’s enter the stage and sell himself, never again will anybody become Nigeria’s President through fake and unsubstantiated packaging.”
I’ll name my preferred presidential candidate soon — Wike
Giving insight into his preferred candidate for the 2023 election, Governor Wike promised to state his position at the appropriate time.
He said this during the flag-off of projects to deliver internal roads for Eneka town, Obio/Akpor Local Government Area of Rivers State.
The governor said: “Some other people are busy putting themselves together on how they will take over leadership in Nigeria, to loot the remaining ones these other people have already kept. I’m privileged to know and at the appropriate time, I’ll tell you who these people are.
“Forget about all these people running around, saying they want to rescue or save you (Nigerians). Just watch to see what is going to happen next.
“All of us should be calm concerning what is happening in the PDP. Nothing has happened yet. But by the grace of God, something will happen.” Feeling unfazed by perceived negative media campaigns against his administration, Wike said: “Look at us concentrating on giving our people good governance. What is good governance? Good governance is making the people happy.
“Good governance is providing infrastructure for the people; good governance is not about party. Providing good governance is about leadership. We are here every day flagging-off projects and commissioning projects even though our tenure is coming to an end.
“Now that I have come to Eneka to provide this basic infrastructure, I can come back to Eneka and ask you to follow me, let us go there or let us stay here. Do they have what it takes to come and talk to you? Can they come and talk to you?
“It is somebody that hears from you that you have also heard from. This one you’ve not provided anything for my people, you’ve not asked them what they want, then you want to tell them where to vote. So, we will come and meet you and say see where you’ll vote.”
Tinubu to meet Osinbajo, Amaechi, other APC aspirants tomorrow
Meanwhile, an APC presidential aspirant, Dr Nicolas Felix, yesterday, confirmed that all 22 aspirants of the party would meet tomorrow.
Felix, in a statement, said he called for the round-table, which is scheduled to hold by 2.00 pm at Transcorp Hilton, for all aspirants to meet and come up with viable strategies to support the party’s standard bearer to win the 2023 poll.
The statement read: “The choice of Abuja wasn’t a mistake. I called the meeting for us to address the challenges bedeviling our country and inclusive politics.
“We will also brainstorm on adopting winning campaign strategies to support our flag-bearer, Bola Tinubu, that seek to carry every Nigerian along in our bid to coast home to victory in the 2023 general elections.”
Among those expected are Vice President Yemi Osinbajo; former Minister of Transportation, Rotimi Amaechi; former Science and Technology Minister, Ogbonnaya Onu; former Minister of State for Education, Chukwuemeka Nwajiuba and former Minister of Niger Delta Affairs, Godswill Akpabio.
Also expected at the meeting are Governors Yahaya Bello (Kogi), Dave Umahi (Ebonyi), Abubakar Badaru (Jigawa), Ben Ayade (Cross River) and Kayode Fayemi (Ekiti).
Others are Senate President, Ahmad Lawan; former Ogun State governor and serving senator, Ibikunle Amosun; a serving senator, Ajayi Boroffice; former Zamfara governor, Ahmad Sani; former Imo State governor and serving senator, Rochas Okorocha; a former Senate President, Ken Nnamani, a former Speaker of the House of Representatives, Dimeji Bankole; fiery cleric, Tunde Bakare; pastor and businessman, Dr Nicolas Felix; former Information Minister, Ikeobasi Mokelu; oil magnate, Tein Jack-Rich and the only female among them, Uju Ken-Ohanenye.