2015: “Obasanjo is no God, he cannot decide Nigeria’s leader” – Presidency
The cold war between the camp of former president, Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan took a new turn over the weekend, as a presidential aide called bluff the threats by Obasanjo not to back Jonathan if the latter eventually declares his intention to re-contest in 2015.Although the president is yet to openly affirm his intention to run or not, analysts say his body language and that of those around him stoutly suggest the opposite.
Speaking on Saturday in Abuja, Special Adviser to the President on Political Matters, Ahmed Ali Gulak, opined that the constitutional right of President Jonathan to contest for the 2015 presidential election was non-negotiable, adding that no one can highhandedly decide who will become the nation’s leader in the coming general elections.
Gulak’s position is seen as a direct slight on the former Ota-born General who is reportedly keen on seeing the ouster of Jonathan in 2015.
Obasanjo has never hidden the fact that he wants the country’s next president to be of Northern extraction.
The aide in an interview said, “Nobody is God, nobody should play God, no one is indispensable. Chief Olusegun Obasanjo, no doubt, is a well-respected leader who has played his part in developing the nation; he is a well-respected man who is like a father. But the truth is that just as people say he is a benefactor of the president, others have been his benefactors, too.
“You know you come you go. When your time comes and goes, so be it; only he cannot pick a leader for this nation because Nigerians have not conferred on him the right to pick their leaders for them. This is more so when Nigerians are right-thinking people whose brains work. So, when people continue to express certain views as if the president and the former leader are at war to the extent that such can affect his chances of returning for a second term should he decide, it baffles me.
“There is no war at all, and in fact, there are many individuals who can play roles, not a single person making it work. There is no doubt the former president has influence, but it is limited to a certain level. The truth is that as a member of the PDP, as a former president under the party, as a former chairman of the party’s BoT, and as a member of the same body, former President Olusegun Obasanjo will eventually have no choice than to support a second term should Mr. President decide to run both before the primary and after the primary.”
The BoT chairmanship election is scheduled to hold tomorrow in Abuja. While the president is believed to be backing a one-time holder of that position and the new Board Chairman of Nigeria Ports Authority (NPA), Tony Anenih, Obasanjo is allegedly rooting for his confidant and former party chairman, Ahmadu Alli, or a yet to be identified candidate.
On the reports that some Governors from the North are also interested in the position, Gulak had this to say: “Northern Governors can’t stop Jonathan. Most of the Governors making statements are serving out their second terms, and what do you expect?”
“Most of them are aspiring to be president and they cannot stop Jonathan if he decides to contest. How many governors stood for election and failed? They can challenge, yes, but cannot defeat him. Everybody has the right to contest. They can challenge President Goodluck Jonathan, but defeating him? I would say no. None of the governors has the potency to defeat President Jonathan, both within and outside the party, if he decides to contest.”