Columns

June 22, 2024

Obasanjo and Mrs Tinubu: The untold story, by Emmanuel Aziken

Obasanjo and Mrs Tinubu: The untold story, by Emmanuel Aziken

The buzz that swept through the media earlier this week of the meeting between President Olusegun Obasanjo and the First Lady, Senator Oluremi Tinubu understandably exercised the passions of many political actors in the country.

The fascination over the meeting arose from the historic squabble between the two Yoruba men to have been president of the country since the advent of the Fourth Republic.

The news of the meeting was first relayed on social media by the First Lady’s media aide, Busola Kukoyi who said that the former president came calling on her principal to felicitate with her on the occasion of the Sallah celebrations.

Remarkably, the venue of the meeting was not disclosed. While some quoted that the meeting was in the Presidential Villa, others claimed it was in Lagos.

Efforts by your correspondent to get a correct perspective on the intriguing development have been met with much silence from all quarters.

President Obasanjo’s media aide could not be reached and even a bold attempt by your correspondent to get the former president to clear the air was met with silence as text messages to his number were not responded to.

The First Lady’s media aide also did not respond to inquiries.

However, the controversy over the meeting has deepened with the new claim that President Obasanjo and the First Lady met when the two found themselves at different functions at Eko Hotel, Lagos.

Mrs. Tinubu who is known for her humility even towards lower minions, especially males, according to one source, was said to have immediately reached out and paid a courtesy call on Obasanjo.

That is as far as one version of the story went.

Whatever, the import of the meeting has shaken political permutations across the country.

Obasanjo was known to have openly backed Peter Obi for the 2023 presidential election. Even more, he is not known to have congratulated President Bola Tinubu after he emerged as president. He did not attend the inauguration and is not known to have met with his successor since the inauguration.

In his recompense, President Tinubu while repeatedly congratulating lesser mortals was not known to have publicly congratulated Obasanjo on his birthday last March. Both men have apparently kept to their lanes.

President Tinubu’s decision to revert to the 1960 National Anthem in the opinion of some was fuelled by the fact that Obasanjo instigated the replacement of ‘Nigeria We Hail Thee’ with ‘Arise o compatriots’ as military head of state.

Obasanjo on his part has in the last year moved from muttering to open evocations of a national drift in the wrong direction.

The epistles and commentaries by President Obasanjo have in true Tinubu fashion been robustly rebuffed by his entrenched media camp.

Given Obasanjo’s proclivity towards Obi, it was not surprising that some elements in the Tinubu Camp would gloat over the meeting between the former president and the First Lady.

Daniel Bwala, the former spokesman of the Atiku Abubakar campaign who has since gone back to Tinubu, and his compatriot, Reno Omokri led the charge. The two who have become fixated with anything Peter Obi were quick to make mockery of the former Labour Party presidential candidate’s supporters.

Reno Omokri was particularly vicious, if not noxious as he has lately been, with his assertion that Obasanjo who led the fight against Biafra would be foolhardy to have sincerely desired an Obi victory in 2023.

He likened it to President George Bush Jnr backing an Iraqi to become president of the United States.

Such characterization of President Obasanjo demeans one of the greatest and perhaps the most patriotic president of the Fourth Republic.

While Obasanjo is yet to clarify the circumstances of his meeting with Mrs Tinubu, your correspondent does not see any significant descent of the former president into an assumed Yoruba ethnic configuration to fight the Ibo from the presidency.

Unlike almost all his successors to date, Obasanjo as president prioritized competence and a national flair in his appointments even into his inner circle.

The gist that an Ibo man, Andy Uba was the first to see President Obasanjo at dawn and the last to see him to bed after dusk is one of the engrained assertions of his presidency.

While the claim that Mrs Tinubu may have as she is wont to, gone to ‘dobale’ before Obasanjo after hearing of his presence in Eko Hotel appears more believable, your correspondent does not doubt the moral and political fettles of Obasanjo to seek the best for Nigeria. That is even if it means going to meet Tinubu to save Nigeria.

Reducing him to an ethnic champion is the greatest insult to the dignified status President Obasanjo has earned for himself over the years.

It is also disgusting that some Obidients feeling so disappointed with the interaction of Obasanjo and Mrs Tinubu became insolent. It is not just an insult to Obasanjo, but also to Mrs Tinubu who is known for her courteousness to her seniors.

Nigeria in its present position needs all grace from above to save it from the precarious position it has found itself. This correspondent believes that President Obasanjo would do the right thing to ensure that whoever is in power gets the right message on how to save Nigeria.