By Ibidapo Balogun
Many analysts had cited the coalition of political forces massed in the opposition All Progressives Congress and spearheaded by former Lagos State governor, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, as what dealt the most virulent blow to President Jonathan’s re-election. But unknown to them, perhaps the crooked wood that really spoilt the broth for the president is his estranged political godfather, former president Olusegun Obasanjo. This is how…
Former president Olusegun Obasanjo is an enigma any day. Among his Owu kinsmen, he is called Ebora Owu, meaning the weird one. Obasanjo had sounded the death knell of many a leader in the country before now.
He helped to put President Goodluck Jonathan in power by nominating him to be late President Umaru Musa Yar’ Adua’s running mate in 2007. It was from that enviable height that Jonathan rose to assume the plum office.
When Yar’Adua became terminally ill, Jonathan became acting president, substantive president after Yar’Adua’s death in May 2010, and was elected president in 2011.
WESTERN POST can reveal this weekend that after Obasanjo fell out with President Jonathan and insisted the president kept to one term in office, which he appeared to have pledged in his deal with the Northern governors, the former president launched an international offensive against Jonathan, which helped to unseat him.
“That offensive dealt the greatest blow to President Jonathan’s second term in office,” said a diplomat who pleaded not to be named.
Sources in Lagos and Abuja also volunteered that Obasanjo’s international move against Jonathan effectively began when, in a bid to resolve the altercation between them, he met the president at Aso Rock a few months before the election.
Some Christian clerics like the General Overseer of Redeemed Church, Pastor Enoch Adeboye and Bishop David Oyedepo were in attendance at the meeting.
“The simple question Obasanjo asked Jonathan at the meeting is whether he promised him and Northern leaders one term in office or not. He also asked the president if when he changed his mind on the matter of one-term, whether he got back to tell them about it,” one of the sources said.
President Jonathan Dumbfounded
“The president was dumbfounded; he did not utter a word. The meeting ended on that note,” the source added.
Former president Obasanjo was said to have begun his agitation against Jonathan from that point.
“He headed overseas, meeting presidents and international envoys. He was in the United Kingdom and United States of America. The plan was to build an international coalition against President Jonathan. His message was simple: ‘I helped to put this guy (Jonathan) in office. I’m sorry, I have found out that he is incompetent. He should not continue in office. Besides, he promised to stay for just one term. He needs to go,” the diplomat added.
“Beyond the election where he trailed the opposition All Progressives Congress candidate, General Mohammadu Buhari, that offensive incapacitated Jonathan. It ensured that wherever he turned to abroad, he was met with resistance and opposition,” he added.
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“After the initial returns of the election emerged and the president saw the writing on the wall, he could not do anything but to concede because doing otherwise would have set him against some powerful international forces,” he said.
Before he internationalised his opposition to Jonathan’s regime, Obasanjo had written at least two known open letters where he attacked the regime, accusing the president of incompetence. He also upbraided Jonathan over the handling of the abducted Chibok girls.
After the 2015 elections were initially postponed by the Independent National Electoral Commission to March 28 and April 11, Obasanjo accused Jonathan of engaging in former Ivorian president Gbagbo style.
General Buhari of the All Progressives Congress had defeated President Jonathan in the March 28 presidential poll. Buhari polled a total of 15,424,921votes to defeat incumbent President Jonathan who scored 12,853,162 votes.
The result showed that Buhari beat Jonathan by 2,571,759 votes, and won in 22 states.
Before the final result was declared, Jonathan, in a rare display of gallantry, had conceded defeat and congratulated Buhari. It was the first time an incumbent president would be defeated in the country
Buhari obtained 25 per cent of votes cast in 27 states and the Federal Capital Territory while Jonathan obtained 25 per cent of votes cast in 26 states and the FCT.
Former president Obasanjo had in the past launched virulent attacks on the regime of Second Republic President Shehu Shagari over the regime’s handling of the economy.
He had also stridently attacked former military president Ibrahim Babangida while in office accusing his regime of widespread corruption.
Not long after the attacks, the two regimes collapsed.