Okupe Seeks Obasanjo’s Forgiveness, Prostrates Before Ex-President

A former presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, has prostrated repeatedly before former President Olusegun Obasanjo, begging the former head of state to forgive him over insults he hurled at him while he (Okupe) served as spokesperson for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.

Mr. Okupe visited Mr. Obasanjo on Sunday at his Hilltop G.R.A. residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital, those familiar with the matter told PREMIUM TIMES.

The former presidential aide made the surprise visit to the former president to seek reconciliation after remaining estranged from the former leader for years.

One source said security operatives at Mr. Obasanjo’s residence initially blocked Mr. Okupe from accessing the former president’s home but that he was allowed in after “baba came downstairs and told the boys to let him in.”

Photographs of the visit obtained by PREMIUM TIMES show Mr. Okupe prostrating repeatedly and pleading for forgiveness.

Sources said Mr. Obasanjo initially rejected Mr. Okupe’s plea, saying “you cannot abuse me in the papers, on TV, on radio and on the streets and then come here to privately apologise.”

“Why don’t you mount the same platforms you used in abusing me to apologise to me?” a witness quoted Mr. Obasanjo as saying.

“Baba said he was baffled to see Okupe verbally assaulting him in the media just because he was given appointment by Jonathan,” the source said. “If he were a true son of Yorubaland, he would not have gone to that extent because Baba was the first to appoint him a media aide over 16 years ago.

“Baba appointed him as one of his first aides when he became the first president after democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999, only for him to turn his back against Baba when he got a similar appointment from Jonathan many years later. Now that he has gone to bite more than he can chew, he’s desperate for Baba’s forgiveness.”

“There’s an adage in Yoruba that says when a dog has gone to put itself into fury inferno, it will become desperate to return to its owner,” the source added.

After a brief intervention by those present at the meeting, sources said, Mr. Obasanjo agreed to forgive Mr. Okupe because he (Obasanjo) is an elder statesman and father to many.

“Baba said he has forgiven him because of his respected position as an elder statesman, but that may not stop him (Mr. Okupe) from committing the same offence in future,” the source said.

In an interview with PREMIUM TIMES, Mr. Okupe confirmed he visited Mr. Obasanjo to seek reconciliation.

“I went to Obasanjo to settle and resolve my long-standing misunderstanding with him,” Mr. Okupe said, adding that “Obasanjo is like my father and I am his political son.”

“In Yorubaland, when an elder is angry with you, the younger person begs. I am not ashamed to beg Obasanjo,” Mr. Okupe said.

Obasanjo Laments Tussle For Supremacy Among Yoruba Monarchs

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday condemned what he described as “the rivalry for supremacy among Yoruba monarchs’’.

Obasanjo was speaking when the new Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, paid him a courtesy visit at his hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun.

The former president described the rivalry as “a distraction which can result to setback’’.

He said that good governance and welfare of citizens should be paramount to the monarchs.

Obasanjo advised the monarchs to guard the honour accorded to their offices jealously and to also demonstrate mutual respect for one another other.

“I think that what is more important is to give good governance to the citizens and also have mutual respect for ourselves.

“When I was president and even now, I usually accorded respect to all presidents, particularly to the ones with small populations.

“I do this because I realised that no matter how densely populated a country might be, it has the same one vote at the United Nations, just as a country with few people.

“For instance, Nigeria with a population of about 180 million has the same vote with Sao Tome with a population of 150, 000.”

The former president recalled how he consulted with Gov. Abiola Ajumobi of Oyo State during the tussle for the obaship of Ibadan, commending the governor for taking a right step.

Obasanjo, who noted that it was God who enthroned the Ibadan monarch, prayed that the same God would strengthen him to succeed.

The former president noted that from experience, like the Egbas in Ogun, the people of Ibadan in Oyo State were not easy to govern.

He advised the Ibadan monarch to be trustworthy and to ensure that he dispensed justice.

“Although all mankind are difficult to govern but I also know from experience that the people of Egba and Ibadan particularly, are not easy to govern.

“I pray that God who put you there will help you to succeed.

“What is most important to any leader, be it traditional, political or religious is for him to be trustworthy.

“Nobody is perfect, but once you are queried over some issues and you are able to defend yourself well, you can then leave the rest to God.

In his response, Adetunji commended Obasanjo for his role in his emergence as the 41st Olubadan.

He called for unity among monarchs in Yorubaland to move the people forward.

Obasanjo Denies Signing Budget Without Details

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday dismissed claim that he signed appropriation bills into law without sighting the details under his tenure.

When President Muhammadu Buhari insisted on receiving the details of the 2016 Budget before signing the bill into law, some members of the House of Representatives had claimed that Obasanjo and the late former President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua signed appropriation bills into law without receiving the budget details.

Fielding questions from State House correspondents after meeting with President Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja, Obasanjo dismissed the claim.

He replied the question with: “Eh en? I signed budget without details? Anybody who told you that, go and ask him again.”

Asked to speak on the 2016 Budget, he said: “Before I will be able to tell you something about the budget, I have to read it and know what it contains and know what to talk about.

On the delay in signing the budget, he said the constitution allows the executive to continue with the budget provided it does not go beyond the previous year’s budget up to the middle of the year.

Obasanjo, however declined to speak on corruption war, saying: “Eh en?”

When he was asked to speak specifically on the travail of the Senate President, Bukola Saraki, Obasanjo said: “Eh en? What is wrong with him?”

On the purpose of visit to the Villa, he said: “You know that not too long ago, I was out there. I have come to share some of my experiences with him.

When asked to speak on the experiences, he said: “Ha! Ha! If I say I shared experiences with my wife, you will ask me wetin I talk with my wife?”

Obasanjo, who arrived the Villa at 12:13pm in a tinted black Tayota Jeep marked ABJ 425 PY, exchanged pleasantries with journalists who cracked joke with him on his “dancing steps” during the burial of Ebonyi State Governor’s mother last week.

When reminded that his dancing steps were great, he replied: “So you don’t want me to dance.”

The Nation

OBJ In Aso Villa As PMB Receives Budget Details

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo is currently meeting with President Mohammadu Buhari at the Presidential Villa, Abuja.

This was even as the details of the 2016 budget estimates have been transmitted to the Presidency.

Obasanjo arrived the villa at exactly 12:13pm on Thursday in a tinted black Toyota Jeep marked Abj 425 PY.

Upon alighting from the vehicle, he exchanged pleasantries with Reporters who cracked joke with him on his “dancing steps” last week at Ebonyi State during the burial of the late mother of Ebonyi State Governor.

Reminded that “your dancing steps last week were great”, he replied “so you don’t want me to dance”, as he beamed smiles and entered inside the building.

His mission to the Villa was yet unknown.

Meanwhile, President Buhari is in the custody of the details of the budget.

The details were received by the Chief of Staff to President Buhari, Abba Kyari on behalf of the President.

The Senior Special Assistant, SSA to President on National Assembly matters, Senator Ita Enag alongside his colleague, Hon. Ismaila Kawu who brought the document to the Villa confirmed its receipt to State House Correspondents.

He said: “The budget details have been transmitted to His Excellency, Mr. President today. The constitutional process begins thereafter.

“We have transmitted it to the Office of the President and the constitutional process of timing starts.”

It will be recalled that President Buhari when he received the highlights of the approved budget from the National Assembly last week insisted on seeing the details before signing the 2016 appropriation bill into law.

Obasanjo Charges Governors To Do More

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged state governors to raise the bar of their performance in order to give new lease of life to the people.

Mr. Obasanjo made the call on Friday in Enugu, when he called on Governor Ifeanyi Ugwuanyi of Enugu State, after attending the burial of Ebonyi governor’s mother.

The former president said good governance would boost the economic growth of the nation.

He, however, commended Mr. Ugwuanyi on his good works in the state and urged him to do more as posterity would judge him.

“From the reports I get, you are doing well. If out of the 36 states of the country, you can get one that is doing well, it will be encouraging to continue to work on others to do well.

“By the time you can get up to 50 per cent of the states doing well, it means the country will be better. So, keep it up,’’ Mr. Obasanjo said.

Responding, Mr. Ugwuanyi thanked the former president for his visit and promised to tap from his wealth of experience.

“We are, indeed, very grateful. We will continue to benefit from your wealth of experience so that we can continue to serve our people better,’’ Mr. Ugwuanyi said.

Mr. Ugwuanyi also played host to the National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, Ali Modu Sherriff, and other political stalwarts who were on transit to Ebonyi for the burial.

(NAN)

Obasanjo Condemns Okupe, Labelling Former Aide A Hypocrite

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Wednesday described a former Senior Special Assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan on Public Affairs, Doyin Okupe, as ​a ​hypocrite for describing him (Obasanjo) as the leader of the opposition PDP in the South West.

Mr. Obasanjo said he left partisan politics for good.

Mr. Obasanjo was reacting to Mr. Okupe’s comments that he (Obasanjo) remained the “undisputed and authentic” leader of the PDP in the Southwest region of Nigeria.

Mr. Okupe, ​a former aide to Mr. Obasanjo, ​who made the disclosure on his Facebook account last Friday, also blasted Buruji Kashamu, a senator, who lays claim to being the leader of the PDP in the South West.

The former presidential aide said it was wrong to describe Mr. Kashamu leader of the party merely because he runs a local non-governmental organisation in Ogun State.

“Senator Buruji Kashamu is not the leader of the PDP in the South West. He is not even the leader of the party in Ogun State. He leads an NGO called Omo Ilu which engages in empowerment programmes in the state, mainly in the Ogun East Senatorial district.

“Baba Obasanjo still remains the undisputed and authentic leader of the PDP in the South-West. The fact that he tore his membership card is not tantamount to resignation from the party. An action he has not undertaken to date.

“Tearing of the membership card though a very negative action is undoubtedly a knee-jerk reaction to certain unacceptable or intolerable happenings within the party which can and will be redressed,” Mr. Okupe said.

However, Mr. Obasanjo, who spoke to PREMIUM TIMES exclusively on Tuesday over the telephone said Mr. Okupe “does not know what he was saying”.

The former president said he did not apply to join the PDP in 1998, rather, what was given to him was a registration card and his decision to tear the card meant he wa​s no longer a member of the party.

He also said there wa​s no way he could be referred to as a leader of the party in the South West even if he w​as​ still a member.

“I was a national leader of the party for eight years, so, how would I now reduce myself to becoming its leader in the South West,” he said.

Mr. Obasanjo also said Mr. Okupe should be ignored because he was one of those who campaign​ed for his his expulsion from the party.

Premium Times

Obasanjo Denounces Calls For Him To Account For Abacha Loot, Backs Buhari On Foreign Trips

A former President Olusegun Obasanjo has described those calling on him to account for the recovered Abacha loot, as “illiterates and stupid people”.

Obasanjo also faulted those criticizing President Muhammadu Buhari’s frequent trips overseas, saying Nigeria needs to be in touch with important centres of the world.

Obasanjo, who stated this at the weekend in an interview with Vanguard, said the role of his office was to facilitate the recovery process and not how it was put to use.

“They said the money recovered from Abacha, I should account for it. What stupidity! The man who asked for it, the man who gave the judgement or who answered them are all stupid, with due respect,” he fumed.

“I don’t keep account, all Abacha loots were sent to Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN, and every bit of it was reported to Minister of Finance. My job was to write to where we can get help to recover the money.

“Every penny that comes out of it went to CBN, so if they want to know what happened to the money, they should call CBN governor or call the Minister of Finance.

“But again, it shows ignorance, total ignorance, which is lacking and you wonder, are these people educated? They can also approach the man who helped us in recovering process to give the list of money recovered and where he took it.”

Adding his voice to the fluctuating oil price, Obasanjo said President Buhari was lucky than he was, saying: “When I assumed office in 1999, I inherited $3.7 billion in reserve, while Buhari met $30 billion, almost 10 times of what I met then, and the price of oil then was $9. When it got to $20, I was dancing.

“I know the price is down now and with time, it will jump up again. What Buhari is doing currently is preparing ground for Nigeria to take advantage when it goes up again.”

“He needs to be known and to know people. How do you make friends and influence people except you know them and this cannot happen if he sits in Aso Villa, especially in a situation that we found ourselves, a situation where we have bad image in the world, a situation where we need to play leadership role, especially in Africa, because during Jonathan’s administration, Nigeria was not on the table.”

Kashamu Is Not PDP Leader Even In Ogun State, Obasanjo Still A PDP Member – Okupe

Doyin Okupe, former senior special assistant to ex-President Goodluck Jonathan, says former President Olusegun Obasanjo has not resigned from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

Obasanjo denounced his membership of the PDP last year, instructing Sunmonu Oladunjoye, chairman of the PDP at his ward in Abeokuta, to help him tear his party card publicly.

Obasanjo had fallen out with the leadership of the party, where he was twice elected as president, over his opposition to the reelection bid of Jonathan. He had claimed that the party was planning to expel him over his critical stance on Jonathan.

“They said they want to expel me from PDP… although I have not been told but I have my ears on ground. We’ve been trying to run away from a mad man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river,” he said.

“Why would some people say they want to send me away? They don’t need to bother themselves. Here’s your membership card, take it.”

However, in a statement on Friday, Okupe, who also worked under Obasanjo, said the elder statesman has not left the former ruling party.

“Baba Obasanjo still remains the undisputed and authentic leader of the PDP in the south-west,” he said.

“The fact that he tore his membership card is not tantamount to resignation from the party. An action he has not undertaken to date.

“Tearing of the membership card though a very negative action is undoubtedly a knee-jerk reaction to certain unacceptable or intolerable happenings within the party which can and will be redressed.

“In his temporary absence, we have a collegiate or confederal leadership of eminent and distinguished elders including Chief Bode George, Chief Ogunlewe, Aare Jubril Martins Kuye, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, Chief Mrs Apampa, Dr. lekan Balogun, Baba Richard Akinjide, Alhaji Yekini Adeojo, Chief Ebenezer BABATOPE, Shuabu Oyedokun, Iyiola Omisore, Prof. Adeniran, Gov Fayose, Gov Mimiko, Senator Bode Olajumoke amongst others.

“Senator Buruji Kashamu is NOT the leader of the PDP in the south-west. He is not even the leader of the party in Ogun state. He leads an NGO called Omo Ilu which engages in empowerment programmes in the state, mainly in the Ogun east senatorial district.

“We are a proud and a foremost race in Nigeria. We have enviable political antecedents and capable of presenting nationally credible and acceptable leadership at any and all time.”

Forget The Coming Back Of Chibok Girls – Obasanjo

Former President Olusegun Obasanjo declared on Saturday that the 219 schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok, Borno State by Boko Haram terrorists, can no longer be found and that any leader promising their return is simply lying.

He stated this at an interactive programme of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ife Staff Club tagged Reflections of an elder statesman: An evening with OBJ.

“Nobody can bring back the girls for they are nowhere to be found,” Obasanjo was reported to have saidabout the girls kidnapped by Boko Haram gunmen 663 days ago.

“So if any leader is promising to bring back Chibok girls, he is lying. Majority of these girls would have died, while those alive would have been married and others will be victims of sexual violence and human trafficking.

“Nigerian leaders should stop deceiving the populace as Chibok girls cannot return again.

“The disappearance of the Chibok girls is as a result of non challant attitude of the previous leaders who did not swing to action immediately, which constituted impediment to their return.

“72 hours after the Chibok girls were adopted was too late for their rescue, talk less getting to two years by April.”

*Read more in: The Nation

Obasanjo Prostrates For Ooni Of Ife

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday prostrated for the Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi, the Ojaja II, when he paid homage to him in his palace.

He described Oba Ogunwusi as his father and father of the Yoruba people, saying he was pleased that Ife people did not pick a wrong person to occupy the throne.

Obasanjo won the admiration of those present when, in his agbada, he prostrated for the Ooni.

He prostrated twice: when he arrived the palace and when he was leaving.

OBJ prostrate for Ooni Of Ife OBJ prostrate for Ooni Of Ife1 OBJ prostrate for Ooni Of Ife2 OBJ prostrate for Ooni Of Ife3

He said it was an honour for the Ooni to pay a visit to anybody, advising those Oba Ogunwusi had visited to reciprocate the gesture by supporting him in his effort to bring unity to Yoruba race.

He said those singing ‘Owu Lakokoda’ should stop and not sing it again, especially at the Ooni’s palace, because Ife is the cradle  of humanity.

The former president, who expressed support for the unity move by the Ooni of Ife, explained that the move by the Ooni was important for the progress of Yorubaland.

The former president urged the Ooni not to relent in ensuring unity among the Yoruba, adding that Ife remained the source of Yorubaland.

He said: “I commend the role of Ooni in ensuring peace in Yorubaland. Continue what you are doing, especially your unity course. I am happy with the move taken so far.

“It is only a sign of honour for the Ooni to visit anyone. That does not stop Ile-Ife from its position in the history of Yorubaland.”

Obasanjo, who prayed for the progress of Ife and Yorubaland, apologised for not being present at the Ooni’s coronation.

Responding, the Ooni expressed appreciation of the former president’s visit.

The Ooni described Obasanjo as a prominent leader in Africa, saying: “He loves Yoruba culture and had been promoting it.”

The Ooni had been visited by many Yoruba monarchs, including the Alafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi, the Awujale of Ijebu-Ode, Oba Sikiru Adetona, to encourage unity in Yorubaland.

Dignitaries present during Obasajo’s visit included Dr Femi Okunnu, Femi Majekodunmi, Chief Oyewole Faseye, Chief Abiola Ogundokun, Ayo Balogun, and a host of others.

The Nation

Obasanjo Storms Iwo Amidst Tumultuous Welcome

…Says Unity of Yoruba Remains Indispensable

The entire town of Iwo was yesterday threw into an uncontrollable excitement as sons and daughters of the ancient town trooped out en masse to catch a glimpse of the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.

The ex-president who stormed the ancient town was warmly received by the residents who were surprised of his unscheduled visit.

The major streets where the ex-president’s convoy plied through were fully agog by the people who mounted the areas in order to have a glance his visit.

It was learned that the visitation caught the people unaware as the indigenes of the town were seen running seriously to the palace where the former President was officially received.

However the ex-president motorcade were forcefully allowed before gaining an entrance into the main palace due to the heavy presence of the residents who besieged the main gate of the palace with the hope of glancing the face of the former President.

Speaking, the former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo who described his visit to the town as a necessity said, his visit was aimed to pay a worthy homage to the new monarch and strengthen the existing peace among yorubas.

Chief Obasanjo who also described the existing peace, unity, progress and tranquility in yoruba land to what he regarded as continuous efforts being exhibited by the peace loving people in the West, said the time has come for all to strengthen togetherness, unity and peace in the region.

The former President who commended the traditional rulers and peace loving people in yoruba land for continuously allowing the priceless peace to reign in the entire region, said their significant role in keeping peaceful coexistence and mutual relationship among yorubas would be forever applauded.

Chief Obasanjo further explained that the only tool that can make a nation great could be best regarded as love, peace, tolerance and unity, saying the noble gestures of yoruba monarchs to foster the present peace among the people of the nation, remains an indispensable value.

Chief Obasanjo who described the new Oluwo as an experienced man of the moment and a distinguished technocrat, said his emergence as Oluwo was a clear manifestation of his sincerity, worthiness, love and passion for development.

He therefore commended the people of the town for brilliantly and painstakingly chosen a man whose antecedents dovetails the desired developments of his people.

Chief Obasananjo however implored the monarch to use his exalted position to reposition the town and foster togetherness among his subjects, yoruba people and the entire Nigerians.

“My visit to Iwo is to pay a due homage to the new monarch and as well strengthen the existing peace among we yorubas.

“I am here today to show that we yorubas are one and as far as we are concerned we shall continue to be more united and mutually fostered.

“To me, I believe that nothing is as good as living in peace and I also believe that the existing peace in yoruba land can only be continually enjoy if we see the need to be our brother’s keepers and extend love to one another.

“To me, Iwo has chosen a right man as king and I am optimistic that his reign will usher-in development, peace, unity, progress and tranquility.

“In view of this, I want the new Oluwo to prioritize peace, unity and togetherness as veritable instruments to culminate all round success and transformation”, Obasanjo stated.

He therefore prayed for continuous peace and tranquility in all parts of yoruba land, Nigeria, Africa and the entire world.

In his remarks, the Oluwo of Iwoland, Oba Abdul-Rasheed Adewale Akanbi extolled the virtues of the ex-President in keeping peace among the yoruba nation.

Oba Akanbi who described Chief Obasanjo as an agent of peace, promised to continuously maintain the existing peace and place yoruba’s image on the page of tranquility.

The royal father who expressed delight on the visitation, said the visit depicts the high sense of love, peace and unity reigning among the yorubas.

He therefore reassured his subjects of total commitment in turning around the economy of the ancient town to the greater benefit of all and well being of the entire indigenes.