[dropcap color=”#2e3859″]J[/dropcap]onathan begs Obasanjo Desperately seeking former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s support for his re-election bid, President Goodluck Jonathan last night met with the ex-leader at his Hilltop mansion in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital. The meeting, which started at about 9pm, ended shortly before 10pm when those at the meeting drove out of the ex-president’s residence in a convoy of nine cars.
At the meeting, according to unconfirmed sources, were two major Christian leaders – Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG) General Overseer Pastor Enoch Adejare Adeboye and Winners Chapel’s Bishop David Oyedepo. Both church leaders could not be reached for comments last night. It was learnt that the church leaders attended the meeting at Obasanjo’s instance. He, according to sources, insisted when the President proposed the meeting that the religious leaders must witness the discussion. The former president, it was gathered, said the president did not honour their previous agreements, hence the need for high profile witnesses. Other leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), including National Chairman Adamu Mu’azu and former PDP chairman Senator Ahmadu Ali, were also believed to have attended the meeting. The relationship between Jonathan and Obasanjo has been frosty. Obasanjo has been a fierce critic of the Jonathan administration, knocking it for alleged corruption and slow response to the Boko Haram challenge. Attempts by Dr. Jonathan to woo the ex-President, who is his political godfather, included a meeting last month with Obasanjo by some Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) governors, led by Akwa Ibom State Governor Godswill Akpabio.
In that team were Jigawa State Governor Sule Lamido, Cross River State Governor Liyel Imoke and Niger State Governor Babangida Aliyu. Although neither Jonathan, who passed the night in Abeokuta, to enable him continue his campaign in the Southwest today – in Osogbo and Ado Ekiti – and tomorrow in Akure – nor Chief Obasanjo, was available to speak to anxious reporters after the meeting, sources said Obasanjo planned to use the talk as an avenue to ask the president some salient questions, most of which he had publicly raised, before the religious leaders. These included the security of the country, the weeding out of his loyalists from their positions in the PDP, the matter concerning the SouthWest organising and mobilisation committee of the party, Mr. Buruji Kashamu, who the former president said he could not accept as his leader, among others. Addressing the rally in Abeokuta, Jonathan who begged Ogun electorate to give him their mandate the second time, acknowledged the place of the state in the nation. Jonathan fought back, slamming elders who “talk like motor park touts”. The President mentioned the late Chief MKO Abiola, the late Chief Obafemi Awolowo and former President Olusegun Obasanjo – all from the state. He also cited the late woman-activist, Madam Funmilayo Kuti, saying all of them were great leaders who worked for the uplift the nation and to the citizenry. Jonathan said: “You gave us your support the last time; we are asking for support now. Your mandate given to us was not a failure. We have built railways that pass through Ogun. “Our industrial policy has favoured Ogun and about 56 new industries have been opened here and you can imagine the number of jobs created through that.
This government is a business-friendly government. “The agro- cargo airport which was pioneered by Gbenga Daniel when he was partnering the Federal Government, will be brought back to you and the Olokola Free Trade Zone and others, everything will be restored.” The President scored his administration high, saying it tackled stealing and corruption from fertilisers procurement, established over a dozen universities and empowered women. According to him, if elected, the Federal Government would create two million jobs yearly to absorb the 1.8million Nigerians, who are being into the labour market yearly.