Femi Gajabiamila, Speaker of the House of Representatives, has narrated what happened behind the scenes when Asiwaju Bola Tinubu met with former President Olusegun Obasanjo at his Ogun residence on Wednesday.
Tinubu, who is perceived as a political enemy of Obasanjo, visited the former president as part of consultations for his 2023 presidential bid.
The visit came as a surprise to political watchers as the All Processive Congress (APC) presidential candidate had severely criticized the two-time former president in the past.
Tinubu, in an open letter in 2019, described Obasanjo as an “election rigger without peer” adding that the ex-president “is the person most responsible for the flaws in the Nigerian political economy since 1999” and whose “ego is as expansive as the firmament but his good deeds would fit into a modest sachet with ample room to spare.”
But re-counting Tinubu’s visit to Ogun on Thursday, Gbajabiamila said Obasanjo received the former Lagos governor “like a brother” and gave assuring statements about his aspiration to be president.
The Speaker stated this during a meeting of APC stakeholders at the Surulere Local Government Area (LGA) in Surulere, Lagos.
“When we were going to Obasanjo’s house, we were eight, including Asiwaju Tinubu and me; we didn’t want many people to know about the meeting. So, we were to meet Obasanjo and five others from his side,” Gbajabiamila was quoted by The Nation to have said.
“But when we eventually got there, we met something pleasantly shocking: a mammoth crowd of our supporters was already at the former president’s house waiting for us.
“So, Obasanjo told Asiwaju Tinubu to pick three people from his side and that he would pick three from his side to meet behind closed doors.
“So, I, Chief Osoba and Chief Akande and Asiwaju went from our side. My people, what I heard there, what Obasanjo said, the victory of Asiwaju is assured.
“Obasanjo spoke at length and we were all happy. He embraced our candidate like a brother, gave him a pat on the back, and prayed for him copiously,” he said.
Obasanjo had recently received the presidential candidate of Labour Party, Peter Obi, and his running mate, Datti Baba-Ahmed.
His former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, who is running for president on the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) platform, has yet to consult with him since emerging as the PDP candidate.