Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has explained why he snubbed the presidential candidates of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bola Ahmed Tinubu and the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Atiku Abubakar, and endorsed Peter Obi of the Labour Party.
Obasanjo in an open letter openly endorsed Obi, saying he has an edge over Tinubu, Atiku and others, when compared in terms of knowledge, discipline and what they can offer, Obi has an edge.
The former President, however, admitted that “none of the contestants is a saint.”
Obasanjo in the six-paged letter titled “My appeal to all Nigerians particularly Young Nigerians,” he had interactions with major contestants who claimed to be his mentees.
“I will not deny such positions since I have worked with all of them directly and indirectly in government,” he pointed out.
Although the former President did not mention Atiku or Tinubu’s names in the letter, it was clear that he was referring to them.
Atiku was Obasanjo’s Vice President for eight years, while Tinubu was Lagos State Governor when he (Obasanjo) was in the saddle.
Both Atiku and Tinubu had separately met with Obasanjo at his Abeokuta residence in Ogun State, and sought for his blessings on their ambitions.
“We have had campaigners going up and down the country feeding us with what they mean and what they do not mean, what they understand and what they do not fully understand, what is possible and what is not possible, what is realistic and what is unrealistic, what is true and what is untrue,” Obasanjo said in his letter.
“Without prejudice but with greatest respect to each individual with utmost regard for the best for Nigeria and all Nigerians and from my personal experience, all the major contestants claim to be my mentees. I will not deny such positions since I have worked with all of them directly and indirectly in government. I have come to realise a number of factors in character, attributes and attitude that are necessary in the job of directing the affairs of Nigeria successfully and at a time like this. These characteristics or attributes are many but let us be mindful of some key ones together.
“From interaction and experience, and as mentees as most of them claim, I will, without prejudice, fear or ill-will, make bold to say that there are four major factors to watch out for in a leader you will consider to hoist on yourself and on the rest of Nigerians in the coming election and they are what I call TVCP: Track record of ability and performance; Vision that is authentic, honest and realistic; Character and attributes of a lady and a gentleman who are children of God and obedient to God; and Physical and mental capability with soundness of mind as it is a very taxing and tasking assignment at the best of times and more so it is at the most difficult time that we are,” Obasanjo said.
Obasanjo also took a swipe at Tinubu, saying ‘Emi Lokan’ (My turn) and ‘I have paid my dues’ are one and the same thing and are wrong attitude and mentality for the leadership of Nigeria now.”
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