Buhari’s Refusal To Sign African Trade Treaty ‘Disappointing’ — Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked President Muhammadu Buhari to reconsider his stance and sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement before it is too late.

The former president expressed disappointment that Nigeria was not among the 44 member countries of the African Union that endorsed the agreement.

“That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he signs it before it is too late,”Mr. Obasanjo was quoted as saying.

“Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”

The agreement was signed during the 18th Extraordinary Session of the Assembly of (AU) Heads of State and Governments on March 21 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Nigeria and South Africa were two of Africa’s biggest economies that withheld their assent to the agreement meant to establish a common protocol to allow free movement of goods and services among member nations of the AU. South Africa later signed.

Seven other countries, including Burundi, Guinea Bissau and Eritrea also did not sign the agreement.

Although the Federal Executive Council had given consent for Nigeria to sign the agreement, Mr. Buhari canceled his schedule to attend the AU meeting at the last minute.

Prominent interest groups like the Nigeria Labour Congress and Manufacturers Association of Nigeria kicked against the treaty, saying aspects of the agreement would hurt Nigeria’s interest.

Consequently, the decision to sign the agreement was postponed to allow for adequate consultation and inputs from interest group, particularly with the NLC, which called the treaty a “renewed, extremely dangerous and radioactive neo-liberal policy initiative.”

But, Mr. Obasanjo, who was named on Friday as chair of the Advisory Council for Intra-African Trade Fair organised by African Export-Import Bank in conjunction with the Egyptian government for December 2018, said he was surprised Nigeria refused to sign the trade agreement.

He recalled the leading role Nigeria played in founding the free trade agreement initiative, saying apart from Egypt, which started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity, Nigeria was central to all discussions on the agreement.

The AfCFTA treaty is one of the flagship projects of the AU Agenda 2063 to create a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency.

Signatories to the agreement so far included Niger, Rwanda, Angola, C.A.R., Chad, Comoros, Congo, Djibouti, The Gambia, Gabon, Ghana, Kenya, Mauritania, Mozambique, Cote D’Ivoire, Seychelles, Algeria and Equatorial Guinea.

Others include Morocco, Swaziland, Benin, Burkina Faso, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Liberia, Libya, Madagascar, Malawi, Mali, Mauritius, South Sudan, Uganda, Egypt, Ethiopia, Sao Tome and Principle, Togo and Tunisia.

Obasanjo Slams Buhari

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has disapproved the failure of President Muhammadu Buhari to sign the Africa Continental Free Trade Area agreement, believing that he will change his mind before it is too late.

Obasanjo spoke out his mind on the AfCFTA during a presidential panel, titled: ‘When Leaders Make History’ at the Africa CEO Forum in Abidjan, Cote d’Ivoire on Tuesday. He was joined by the President of Zimbabwe, Emerson Mnangagwa.

Obasanjo said, “That President Buhari didn’t sign the free trade agreement in Kigali is disappointing; I hope he changes his mind before it is too late.

“Egypt started the discussion on the formation of the Organisation of African Unity but didn’t conclude it and Nigeria took over. Nigeria was also central to the discussion of the free trade agreement, but I am surprised that the country withdrew from signing.”

The AfCFTA treaty is one of the flagship projects of the African Union Agenda 2063, and is aimed at creating a single continental market for goods and services, with free movement of business persons, investments and a single currency.

Also, the agreement commits countries to removing tariffs on 90 per cent of goods and to liberalise services, while items identified as sensitive, which make up the balance 10 per cent, will also be phased out later as tariff-free.

But the President, Manufacturers Association of Nigeria, Dr. Frank Jacobs, said the government’s enforcement mechanism in the area of enforcement of rules of origin needed to be clearly defined before local producers could support the agreement.

It is believed that the AfCFTA treaty would improve intra-African trade and enhance economic growth and sustainable development.

The Federal Government had delayed the signing of the treaty to allow for more deliberations and input from stakeholders and had set up a committee on the issue before the President would sign the treaty.

Speaking on the need for increased youth and women participation in politics in Africa, Obasanjo, who zeroed in on Nigeria, stated, “In our own part of the world, we have not done enough in this regard. Since independence, we have never had any woman as president and VP; no woman has contested governorship election and won.

“In the coming dispensation, all organs of political parties should have 30 per cent slots for women, 30 per cent for the youth, and 40 per cent for the others.”

He said it was disheartening that the number of the women in the National Assembly was still very insignificant.

When Obasanjo And Jonathan Farted In Otuoke Church By Tunde Odesola

Written in 1953, “The things men do” is the title of one of the 90 thrillers by English novelist, James Hadley Chase. His novels were very popular in European markets with France leading the pack just as far-flung Russia was not left out. Chase was a renowned name in Africa and Asia, too. Curiously, however, his works failed to make an impact in the US as his descriptive knack seemed unconvincing to American readers. To think that Americans, on whose soil, Chase situated most of his novels, would reject him, highlights the title of another work of his, “The way the cookie crumbles,” and emphasises the helplessness of man against life’s vagaries.

It’s unlikely you’ve caught people having sex in a church. Or have you? I haven’t either. But I broke the story of a soldier who raped a young girl in a church at the Capital area of Osogbo in 2007. This was during the killings and arson that rocked the announcement of Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola by the Independent National Electoral Commission as the re-elected Governor of Osun State. The soldier was a member of the battalions deployed to restore peace in Osun. However, his idea of peace was to use his piss organ insanely by yanking a young girl off a commercial motorcycle at a roadblock, dragging her to a church nearby and raping her. The stories and a feature I did on the ignobility earned the testosterone-soggy soldier a sacking. But as terrible as sex in a church is, I’ve never experienced farting in a church before until last week.

 From ages past, the church has been under intense attack from the enemy. A 15th Century German preacher, Martin Luther, captures the blitzkrieg in these words, “For where God built a church, there the Devil would also build a chapel.” As “The things men do” makes “The way the cookie crumbles” inevitable, the need for the inviolability of the church, according to Luther, remains a task to be pursued always by men of good conscience. But will man allow the church to remain the house of God, and not the house of politics? What transpired in Otuoke between the all-knowing farmer of Ota and the fisherman from Ogbia LGA of Bayelsa, last Sunday, shows that man won’t stop to trade and fart in the house of God soon.

In December 2013, former President Olusegun Obasanjo wrote a vicious 18-page letter titled, ‘Before it is too late,’ to Jonathan, accusing him of heavy-duty corruption, shielding an alleged drug baron in the Senate, ethnicity, clamping down on the opposition, training snipers, shielding murderers, driving away foreign investors, among others. Baba Iyabo roared in the letter, “Nigeria is bleeding and the haemorrhage must be stopped… Corruption has reached the level of impunity…The serious and strong allegation of non-remitting of about $7bn from the NNPC to the Central Bank occurring from export of some 300,000 barrels per day, amounting to $900m a month, to be refined and with refined products of only $400m returned and Atlantic Oil loading about 130,000 barrels sold by Shell and managed on behalf of NPDC with no sale proceeds paid into NPDC account is incredible. The allegation was buttressed by the letter of the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria to you…This allegation will not fly away by non-action, cover-up, denial or bribing possible investigators…”

Obasanjo thundered, “Presidential assistance for a murderer to evade justice and presidential delegation to welcome him home can only be in bad taste generally but particularly to the family of the victims. Or, as it is viewed in some quarters, is he being recruited to do for you what he did for Abacha in the past?…Allegation of keeping over 1,000 people on political watch list rather than criminal or security watch list and training snipers and other armed personnel secretly and clandestinely acquiring weapons to match for political purposes like Abacha and training them where Abacha trained his own killers, if it is true, cannot augur well for the nation…”

Last week, newspapers were awash with the stories of Obasanjo in Otuoke, where he paid a two-day visit to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan and his family, and also inaugurated some projects established by the Governor Seriake Dickson-led state government. Addressing the vicar of the church, Rt. Rev. James Oruwari, Obasanjo said, “What touched me most in this short gathering are the children coming forward and singing the welcome song and dressed in the attire of different cultures, different tribes and different linguistic groups in Nigeria.” He said the cultural display by the children underpins the reconciliation homily given by Oruwari. The Balogun Owu then delivered a punchline, “Unless we preach peace, we teach and practise reconciliation, we will have no peace. And unless we have peace, we will not have development; and unless we have development, we will not have growth and if we do not have growth, we will not come out of poverty… whatever we are, wherever God has brought us to be in this country, what is important is the oneness of Nigeria…”

This political gospel according to Saint Matthew Aremu Okikiola Olusegun Obasanjo is nonsense. What an uninventive way to lap up one’s vomit! What an impudent god – to hang a pulpy Jonathan on the cross in 2013, put a crown of thorns on his head, spear him and strip him naked, only for this same tin god to crawl back to the cross with gold, frankincense, myrrh and halo, announcing the resurrection of his devil on the cross.” Reconciliation is now more important than recovering the questionable wealth allegedly traced to the Jonathan family and making them answerable? Where did Obasanjo bury peace and oneness in 2015? Sophistry: reconciliation, peace, oneness, development, growth. Where’s justice, Baba Iyabo? What’s the basic condition of democracy if not justice? Why is Nigeria a hell if not because our laws don’t work? You formed a movement to get ‘justice’ for Nigerians against the misrule of the directionless Muhammadu Buhari administration, but embraced the Jonathan you described as the lord of corruption? Has Jonathan been absolved of the allegations Obasanjo accused him of?

Jonathan also preached unity after Obasanjo finished his address. He called on Nigerians to embrace oneness and unity. Expressing delight over the visit, Jonathan said, “It is a unique opportunity. Ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo promised that he was going to visit my village when I visited his hometown after leaving office. But I didn’t know it was going to come at this time…

“I pray that as we progress in this country, ONE DAY, ALL CHURCHES AND MOSQUES SHOULD BRING CHILDREN AND DO THIS KIND OF DANCE SO THAT WE ALL KNOW THAT THE MESSAGE OF UNITY SHOULD BE CARRIED ON.” Haba! Uncle Jona! All my life, I’ve never heard a more unconvincing statement than this – all churches and mosques bringing children to dance…! What dance? PalongoPalongo for national unity!?

A former Chairman, Nigeria Union of Journalists, Osun State Council, Ayoade Adedayo, once told the tale of drunk in his Ora-Igbomina hometown. At Easter, it was customary for Christians to announce the symbolic resurrection of Jesus Christ by shouting at 12am, “Jesus has risen!” This could be done by anyone as soon as it was 12am. On a particular Easter Monday, the man, who had been drinking all morning, slept but jerked awake up around 7pm. He staggered to the window, cleared his throat and shouted, “Jesu jinde o! (Jesus has risen!)”  A woman next door retorted, “Kei jinde o, lo re sun pada! (He has not resurrected, go back to sleep!). I love Oyinlola and Donald Duke’s wish to have Nigeria reordered but having Obasanjo as the harbinger of the wish is like building an architectural masterpiece with snowflakes; it will soon melt away.

I Was Right To Endorse Buhari In 2015 – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo in an interview with German publisher, DW explained why he wrote the open letter to President Buhari in January advising him not to seek a second term in office.

 

He was also asked if he regrets endoring Buhari back in 2015 and he said,

‘Yes, it was the right decision. With the benefit of hindsight, you will agree with me, if you know what has happened and what has been revealed about the government of Jonathan and those who are with him, in terms of sordid corruption and you will agree that this was the right decision. I believe it that was a decision that was good at that time for our country and our democracy. Because we were able to transition from one party to another party. As a result of that we are consolidating democratic process. It is also the right decision now, for us to see that the man who is taking over from Jonathan has not met the expectation of Nigerians, that’s what democracy is all about. Democracy is about change. But if you think that is not the right decision, then you are not a democrat. But I am a democrat and tomorrow if I take a decision and things don’t work out the way we expect them to work out in a democracy, then you make a change’.

See excerpts from the interview below….

One of the biggest promises of President Buhari was to fight corruption. That is his flagship topic. You are now saying that he turns a blind eye on corrupt people in his inner circle. Has Buhari’s corruption fight failed already?

I won’t quite put it that way. I would say he was probably looking outside, he wasn’t looking inside, because if you are fighting corruption [and] corruption is becoming rife then you also have to turn your attention inward.

What would you do differently if you were him in fighting corruption?

I would do what I exactly did before. I set up the two mayor institutions that are being used to fight corruption. I would make sure that the people who are in charge of these two institutions are men or women of integrity and I would look outside and inside because there is no point in fighting corruption beyond you while you have corruption (in front of) your nose.

Would you say is that you were more successful in fighting corruption?

I won’t judge myself. I will leave that to other people.

President Buhari is widely regarded as a man of integrity among most Nigerians. Is he lacking seriousness?

I don’t know which Nigerians you are talking about. Maybe Nigerians of four years ago. Talk to Nigerians today.

In your letter, you wrote that Buhari has a poor understanding of the dynamics of internal politics. You also said that he is weak in understanding and playing in the foreign affairs sector. Your critics are saying that they have the impression that you [feel you] are a moral authority and that you are the only person who understands how to run this country. What do you say to that?

I won’t answer them. I will reserve it as my right as a Nigerian.

You said in the past that you would pull out of politics. How does that go together with the new coalition movement?

A movement is a movement. It’s not a political organization. It’s a social, economic organization. And I have said that if that movement turns political, I will withdraw from it.

But you write that the two biggest parties in the country are unfit to run Nigeria. Do you hope to provide an alternative?

No, I would not stand in the way of that movement. If it decides to become a candidate sponsoring organization then it will become political and I will withdraw from it.

It is not yet clear who the members will be. And the names that got a lot of attention were the names people already know former governors, members of the [opposition] PDP (People’s Democratic Party). Some people have the feeling that it is not going to be a new innovative movement but think that it’s old people in new clothes.

If that is what you hear then you are hearing it wrongly. There are thousands of Nigerians inside Nigeria and outside Nigeria who have never been in politics and are members of this movement. It’s not old wine in a new bottle. It’s new wine in a new bottle.

 

The interview was conducted by DW’s Africa correspondent Adrian Kriesch.

Public And Private Sectors Must Agree For Growth..Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo says Nigeria’s economy cannot develop without a working agreement between both public and private sectors.

He said Abeokuta on Wednesday when the National Executive Council and some members of the Nigerian Association of Chambers of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture visited him at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library.

The NACCIMA team was led by the national president, Iyalode Alaba Lawson.

Obasanjo, who noted that the interplay between the private and public sectors would lead to improved and innovative delivery of services through informed policy formulation, added that both needed each other to move the wheel of development forward.

He said his administration made use of this synergy and it paid off, especially in getting the formula that led to cement being produced in Nigeria and exported to other countries

The former President stated that this was a digital age and the public sector must rise up and acquire the necessary Information Technology skills needed to survive in the modern world of telecommunications.

He said, “We cannot move forward if the private sector does not appreciate the importance of public sector in moving the economy forward.

“The relationship must be bilateral. That is private and public sectors working closely together. Wherever necessary, the public should invite the private; and wherever necessary, the private should work with the public.

“We did that when I was in government. I invited a major importer of cement and asked him, why can’t we become producers and exporters? And from the answers he gave, I told my then Minister of Industry to further look into the answers and fine-tune them.

“And this led to the formulation of the policy on cement. Twelve years after, cement is not only being produced here, it is being exported to other countries. That is the kind of synergy I am talking about. The symbiotic relationship between the public and private sectors must be strengthened.”

“Again, whatever we need to do, we must do it to make the civil servants ICT compliant. This is very important. I started that while I was in government but it was not sustained,” he added.

Obasanjo, who had earlier commended the Lawson-led executive for its visionary leadership in deploying ICT in collating the database of all the small and medium-scale enterprises in the country, said the association should select other areas in the economy and proffer solutions to the challenges there.

He called on NACCIMA to empower the youth and women, because “if you empower a woman, you have empowered a whole family; and when a woman earns money, she uses that money to take care of her children unlike her male counterpart.”

BREAKING:  Obasanjo’s  Statement  Prompt New Coalition Movement  In Abuja

Just few days after the former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s propounded political movement, new Coalition Movement is currently being launched at the Yar’Adua Centre in Abuja.

The former president in an extensive and critical public statement on Tuesday january23, recommended the movement formation.

Although Obasanjo is absent at the ongoing launch in Abuja, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and Donald Duke who are former governors under the platform of the PDP were in attendance.

Obasanjo in his recent public statement said the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC) and the opposition Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) were incapable of repositioning Nigeria, having lost the confidence of the electorate.

Obasanjo Advices Politicians At Calabar Book Presentation

Former president of Nigeria, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo gave an advise in Calabar, Cross River State to politicians that politics should not be about life and death.

Obasanjo gave the advice in Calabar, Cross River State at the public presentation of a book titled: Stepping Forward with Uti J.D. Agba, written by Goddy Jedy-Agba and Mathias Okoi-Uyouyo.

He said, “Politics should not be about life and death. If you cannot be the chief servant, you can be the assistant chief servant. This is because the chief servant cannot do it on his own. He has to work with others.”

The former president, who was the special guest of honour, said politicians who failed to win election could help those who won to succeed. He emphasized on the need for all to work together for the development of the people. In his comment, Cross River State Governor, Prof Ben Ayade, said politicians who could not be in power to serve should support those in power.

“Power is like the wind which blows away. In using power, one must do so with the fear of God,” Ayade said.

The governor launched the book for N5m on behalf of the state government and another N5m on behalf of himself.

One of the authors Mr Goddy Jedy Agba said Cross Riverians were one people, hence the need for all irrespective of their background to work towards the development of the state.

He expressed gratitude to all who made the event a success.

Uti J.D. Agba, the Paramount Ruler of Obudu in Cross River State is the longest-serving monarch in Africa and the second longest serving monarch in the world after the Queen of England, having been on the throne for 58 years.

The book was reviewed by Prof Kalu Uka of the University of Uyo.

Dignitaries who graced the occasion included the Etsu Nupe of Nupe Kingdom, Alhaji Dr Yahaya Abubakar; Uti J.D Agba; the Obong of Calabar, Edidem Ekpo Okon Abasi Otu V; former Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke; and Senator John Owan Enoh; Special Adviser to the President on Prosecution, Mr Okoi Obono Obla, among others.

Obasanjo Secures United Nations Appointment

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has been appointed into the United Nations (UN) High-Level Advisory Board on Mediation along with 17 other current and former global leaders.

UN Secretary-General, Antonio Gutierrez in a statement announced the establishment of the board, which he explained would advise him on mediation initiatives and back specific mediation efforts around the world.

Gutierrez said the Board was established as part of the “surge in diplomacy for peace” which he has consistently advocated.

In the announcement of the appointments, UN described the former Nigerian President as one of the most distinguished elder statesmen of Africa.

The statement reads, “He served as President of the Republic of Nigeria from 1999 to 2007, and before that as the Head of the Federal Military Government of Nigeria and Commander-in-Chief of the Nigerian Armed Forces from 1976 to 1979. Over his long career, Mr. Obasanjo has been involved in numerous international mediation efforts, including in Angola, Burundi, Mozambique, Namibia and South Africa.

“In 2008 he was appointed the UN Secretary-General’s Special Envoy on the Great Lakes region.”

Also appointed into the board are President Michelle Bachelet (Chile) who is serving her second non-consecutive term as president; Radhika Coomaraswamy (Sri Lanka); a 2011 Nobel Peace Laureate, Leymah Gbowee (Liberia); Jean-Marie Guéhenno (France), former President of Finland, Tarja Halonen (Finland); David Harland (New Zealand), Noeleen Heyzer (Singapore), and Nasser Judeh (Jordan).

Others are Ramtane Lamamra (Algeria), Graça Machel (Mozambique), Asha-Rose Migiro (Tanzania), Raden Mohammad and Marty Muliana Natalegawa (Indonesia), Roza Otunbayeva (Kyrgyzstan), Michèle Pierre-Louis (Haiti), José Manuel Ramos-Horta (Timor-Leste), Gert Rosenthal (Guatemala) and Archbishop of Canterbury, Justin Welby (United Kingdom).

Obasanjo, NANS Call On Buhari To Punish Officials Involved In Maina’s Recall

The last may not have been heard about the controversy surrounding reinstatement of fugitive former pension boss, Abdulrasheed Maina, as Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has called on President Muhammodu Buhari to sanction those behind the secret returned into the civil service.

Obasanjo said Mr. Maina’s secret reinstatement was not consistent with President Muhammadu Buhari’s avowed war on corruption.

This call was made by the former president while speaking at the 2017 Foundation Day Public Lecture titled: “Corruption and the Challenges of the African Child” on Saturday in Ibadan.

He also warned Mr. Buhari that there must not be any “sacred cows” in the fight against corruption.

“Corruption must be punished, and must be seen to be punished.

“Any accomplice in corruption and cover-up and any failure to punish must also earn punishment.

“We cannot afford to have sacred cows in the fight against corruption. The Maina saga should never have been allowed to occur. It is not in tandem with the fight against corruption,” Mr. Obasanjo said.

Also reacting, the National Association of Nigerian Students, NANS asked the federal government to ‘swiftly with unrestrained alacrity’ suspend all heads of commission and ministries complicit in the secret reinstatement.

The union warned that it will go on nationwide protest if its demands are not met within seven days.

“The Head of the Service of the Federation as well as the Chairman of the Federal Civil Service Commission deserves nothing but immediate suspension from office and probe for allowing themselves to be caught in this cobweb of professional misconduct,” Chinonso Obasi, the president of the union said In a statement on Sunday.

Mr. Maina was in 2013 dismissed by the Federal Civil Service Commission for absconding from office. He is accused of leading massive corruption of about N2 billion when he served as chairman of the Pension Reform Task Team.

Afterwards, he turned fugitive, as the Police and the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission sought his arrest.

Since the news of his recall broke, Mr. Maina has gone back into hiding. Although his recall has been rescinded by President Buhari, the president is yet to act on a report by the Head of Service on how the fugitive was recalled into the civil service.

The Nigerian senate last week asked Mr. Buhari to bring those behind the reinstatement to book without further delay.

Source: Premium Times

Obasanjo Fires Shagari Over Rice Production

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday speaking as chief launcher at the global unveiling of Okun Rice at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta, Ogun State blasted Alhaji Shehu Shagari for scuttling the progress made by the country to be self- sufficient in rice production.

 

He recalled that in 1979 when he handed over power as military Head of State, the country was almost achieving self- sufficiency in the production, adding that inconsistent in policies by his successor who later set up a committee on the importation of rice, stifled the laudable move.

 

Obasanjo noted that the shift in policy focus served as a disincentive to farmers who were sent packing as the imported bags of rice began to arrive. He commended the promoter of the new product, Biodun Onalaja, for rekindling the hope of the country at achieving self-sufficiency in rice production and ensuring food security for the nation.

 

God Forbid, I’ll Never Return To PDP – Obasanjo

The former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again reaffirmed his stand that he is done with Peoples Democratic Party, PDP and does not have plan to return to the party.

This was revealed yesterday during the visit of PDP bigwigs to Obasanjo in Abeokuta led by the party’s National Caretaker Chairman, Sen Ahmed Makarfi, ostensibly to seek his help in rebuilding and rejuvenating the crisis-ridden party.

The meeting which was held at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library in Abeokuta had planned to woo the former leader to PDP fold but met a brick wall by Obasanjo’s rejection to join the party.

Obasanjo, it was learnt, told the former Kaduna State Governor that he was done with PDP and would not want to reverse himself on a decision long taken about the party.

Obasanjo, who was elected President twice on the ticket of PDP and later became the party’s Board of Trustees Chairman, in the build-up to the 2015 general elections, publicly tore his PDP membership card and quit partisan politics to become an elder statesman.

At the conclusion of the private discussion yesterday, the ex-president, who barred Makarfi from speaking to reporters, said it was a meeting of two former colleagues.

Obasanjo added that he told his guest that he was “no longer of the PDP, having quit partisan politics.

He said jokingly: “This is two colleagues’ meeting, two colleagues before before. When I was the President, chairman was a governor; two colleagues before before.

“I have told the chairman that I was in PDP before but not now. God forbid, say when a dog vomits, it will go back to eat its vomit, no.  I have said no partisan politics for me again and not partisan politics. But Nigeria is my passion until death do us part and anything that concerns Nigeria; the good of Nigeria, you will see my involvement.

“So, the chairman has come to greet me and ‘I greet am’, and now that we’ve greeted ourselves, chairman will be going. You gentlemen and ladies of the press, you can now go, leave the chairman alone.”

Obasanjo added: “I have said publicly before and I will say it again. For our democracy to thrive and continue to be strong, we need strong party in government and strong party in the opposition.

“It has to be that way, otherwise party in government will get away with impunity and that is not good for democracy.”

But Makarfi, after leaving Obasanjo, shunned the party’s state secretariat on Ibrahim Babangida Boulevard, Abeokuta – about 250 metres away from OOPL, where he met the ex-president.

Factional PDP state chairman Adebayo Dayo and hundreds of others that had massed up at the secretariat to welcome him to Ogun State were disappointed.

Adebayo told reporters that they had mobilised PDP members from across the state’s 20 local government areas to receive Makarfi and regretted that they could not see the caretaker chairman throughout his stay in Abeokuta.

He vowed never to recognise Makarfi as PDP leader for treating him and hordes of other party members with contempt.