Ahead of 2019: Obasanjo holds secret talks with Adebanjo, other Yoruba leaders in Lagos

*Visits Bode George over son’s death

By Olayinka Ajayi

Caption: From right, Chief Abraham Akanle, Bode George and Obasanjo during the visit this morning
Caption: From right, Chief Abraham Akanle, Bode George and Obasanjo during the visit this morning

AHEAD of the 2019 general elections, former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, held a closed-door meeting with some Yoruba leaders including those of the socio-political organisation, Afenifere, to discuss ways of moving the South-West and the country forward. 

PAV gathered that the meeting was geared towards Yoruba unity and the 2019 general elections.

This was as the former president paid a condolence visit to former Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Chief Bode George, yesterday morning on the recent loss of his son.

Obasanjo arrived the Lekki residence of Chief Adebanjo around 10:40 am where he went into a closed-door meeting with the Yoruba leaders.

Prominent Yoruba leaders present at the meeting include Afenifere chieftain Chief Ayo Adebanjo; Serving Overseer of the Latter Rain Church, Pastor Tunde Bakare; former governor of Ondo State, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, former governor of Ogun State and Director General of the Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel and Dr. Amos Akingba.

Other leaders include Senator Femi Okunrounmu, Prof Banji Akintoye, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu, Mr. Akin Osuntokun, Chief Supo Shonibare, Mr. Yinka Odumakin among others.

The former president was, however, accompanied by Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, Chief Joju Fadiro, Chief Kenny Martin, Chief Abraham Akanle, Dr. Femi Majekodunmi, Chief Gbolade Osinowo, among others.

After the closed-door meeting which lasted for several hours, the former president refused to entertain questions thrown at him by newsmen.

When asked to comment on the purpose of his meeting to the leaders, Obasanjo ignored the question and went into his waiting vehicle.

We have a common goal—Adebanjo

However, when asked the motive for the former President to his house, the host, Chief Adebanjo said it was geared towards the unity of Yorubaland and the country.

Adebanjo said: “Nothing more than the fact that Nigeria must move forward. All attempts to establish dictatorial tendencies in the country must be opposed. There must be unity to destroy mediocrity and dictatorship.”

When asked whether it was connected to the 2019 general elections, the Afenifere chieftain said it was a mend-fencing meeting which yielded positive results.

He said: “What is important is that we have our common goal. We don’t have a candidate yet. We must agree first, any difference among us must be settled. If you are not united you can’t fight the battle. The Yoruba man must put on their thinking cap.”

Things aren’t going the right way—Bakare

On his part, Pastor Bakare said though was a critic of Obasanjo, the meeting was aimed at forging a way forward for the country.

He said: “Being a critic is not an enemy of the state or the nation. The thinker is the enemy of the mob. If you say I have been a critic of Chief Obasanjo, look at him now being a critic of Muhammadu Buhari too, yet he facilitated his coming in. A critic is not the same thing as criticism, it is let us reason together, things are not going the right way. That is all.”

Condolence visit

Earlier, the former President had visited Chief Olabode George in his Ikoyi home to console him on the death of his son, Dipo, who died last May 9, 2018.

The meeting was seen as a historic and passion filled reunion, following the political rift between the Obasanjo and George.

He recalled the sacrifice and selflessness of George’s dedication to the Nigerian union.

PDP leaders and family members, who welcomed Chief Obasanjo were Engineer Seun Philips, Chief Dapo Sarumi, Chief Okanlawon Shoboyede, Chief Mrs. Kofo Bucknor, Dr. Remi Akitoye, Chief Mrs. Onikepo Oshodi, Captain Tunji Shelle, Mr. Debo Dallas, Mr. and many others.

The former President, who felicitated with George over the death of his son, said: “We cannot query God, but to only take solace in what He has done to you. If this did not happen, who knows what next that will happen? I have not been around but it was in my mind to come over and commiserate with you and the family. May God grant his soul eternal rest.”

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