• Ex-Lagos gov denies visiting president over Obasanjo
Omololu Ogunmade in Abuja
The National Leader of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Senator Bola Ahmed Tinubu, and then interim National Chairman of the party, Chief Bisi Akande, Tuesday held a secret meeting with President Muhammadu Buhari in the State House.
The leaders, who arrived at the Presidential Villa at about 3.50p.m., barely a few hours after former President Olusegun Obasanjo released a 13-page statement where he decried Buhari’s perceived non-performance and failure to act decisively on matters of national interest, headed straight to the president’s residence.
The two statesmen, who left about an hour later, kept mum as they declined to speak with journalists who were eager to find out their mission in the villa.
About a forthright ago, Akande did not mince words to say that though Buhari is his friend, he had not done well.
Meanwhile, Tinubu has said his visit to President Buhari was not connected with the critical statement issued by former President Obasanjo on his presidency.
Mr. Tunde Rahman of Tinubu’s Media Office said the visit by Tinubu and Akande to the Presidential Villa was scheduled since last week.
”President Buhari periodically schedules talks with Tinubu and Akande, as he does with other Nigerians and APC figures, to discuss substantive issues pertaining to the governance of the country and matters concerning the party.
”This visit was one of such meetings. As such, the meeting had nothing to do with the statement of former President Obasanjo.
”It is totally unconnected. At the time of the meeting, Tinubu and Akande were even unaware that President Obasanjo had released his statement,” Rahman said.
Obasanjo, in a statement released Tuesday had urged President Buhari to abandon the idea of seeking re-election in 2019.
In the diatribe, which he entitled, ‘The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement,’ Obasanjo claimed Buhari has performed far below expectation and should honourably “dismount from the horse”.
He urged the president to join the league of the country’s former leaders whose “experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country”.
Obasanjo, a two-term president on the platform of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), said he felt disappointed by Buhari, whom he supported during the 2015 election over then incumbent and candidate of his former party, Goodluck Jonathan.
While thanking Buhari for the effort of his administration in rolling back the Boko Haram insurgency and his fight against corruption, Obasanjo said Buhari has ultimately failed in other areas where he had thought he would be efficient.
The octogenarian admitted he knew Buhari was weak in handling the economy, he went ahead and voted for him because at the time “it was a matter of ‘any option but Jonathan’” and because he thought Buhari would appoint qualified Nigerians to help out in that area.
He slammed Buhari for turning a blind eye to corruption within his government, saying it amounted to condonation and cover-up, adding that whoever is “going to justice must be with clean hands”.
He also berated Buhari for allowing the clashes between herdsmen and farmers to go “sour” and messy, saying the endorsement of the president by some governors to seek re-election barely 24 hours after 73 people who were killed by herdsmen in Benue State were given mass burial was “a sad symptom of insensitivity and callousness”.