Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why he snubbed the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu and that of the Peoples Democratic Party, Atiku Abubakar, but endorsed Labour Party’s Peter Obi.
On Sunday, Obasanjo in an open letter openly endorsed Obi, saying the LP presidential flagbearear had an edge over Tinubu, Atiku and others, when compared in terms of knowledge, discipline and what they can offer.
But he admitted that “none of the contestants is a saint.”
The former president in his six-page letter titled, “My appeal to all Nigerians particularly Young Nigerians,” explained that he had interactions with all the major contestants who claimed to be his mentees.
“I will not deny such positions since I have worked with all of them directly and indirectly in government,” he noted.
Obasanjo in his letter merely stopped shot of mentioning Atiku or Tinubu’s names, but it was clear that he was referring to them.
Atiku was Obasanjo’s Vice President for eight years, while Tinubu was Lagos State Governor when he (Obasanjo) was the president.
Recall that both Atiku and Tinubu had had separate meetings with Obasanjo at his Abeokuta residence in Ogun State to seek his blessings on their presidential ambitions.
According to him, “We have had campaigners going up and down the country feeding us with what they mean and what they do not mean, what they understand and what they do not fully understand, what is possible and what is not possible, what is realistic and what is unrealistic, what is true and what is untrue.
“Without prejudice but with greatest respect to each individual with utmost regard for the best for Nigeria and all Nigerians and from my personal experience, all the major contestants claim to be my mentees. I will not deny such positions since I have worked with all of them directly and indirectly in government. I have come to realise a number of factors in character, attributes and attitude that are necessary in the job of directing the affairs of Nigeria successfully and at a time like this. These characteristics or attributes are many but let us be mindful of some key ones together.
“From interaction and experience, and as mentees as most of them claim, I will, without prejudice, fear or ill-will, make bold to say that there are four major factors to watch out for in a leader you will consider to hoist on yourself and on the rest of Nigerians in the coming election and they are what I call TVCP: Track record of ability and performance; Vision that is authentic, honest and realistic; Character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God; and Physical and mental capability with soundness of mind as it is a very taxing and tasking assignment at the best of times and more so it is at the most difficult time that we are.”
Obasanjo also lambasted Tinubu, saying ‘Emi Lokan’ (My turn) and ‘I have paid my dues’ are one and the same thing and are wrong attitude and mentality for the leadership of Nigeria now.”