FACT-CHECK:2023: Is Obasanjo Wooing The North For Peter Obi?
A former President, Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is said to be making efforts to market the presidential bid of the candidate of the Labour Party, Mr. Peter Obi in the Northern part of the country ahead of the forthcoming general elections scheduled for early next year .
Competent sources in the know told Saturday Telegraph that Obasanjo has in recent past met with various individuals and critical groups in the North with a view to making the region look in the direction of the former Anambra State governor to succeed incumbent Muhammadu Buhari of the ruling All Progressives Congress (APC).
“It is true that former President Olusegun has commenced visits to numerous personalities and groups in the North to drum up support for the Peter Obi and Datti Baba- Ahmed presidential ticket in the North. This fact I can confirm,”
says a chieftain of a prominent socio-political group in the North who pleaded not to be mentioned
. According to the source, Obasanjo has been using two important points in his bid to get the buy-in of his hosts but the source added that the efforts have only yielded minimal fruits as many people in the North are said to wary of the possibility of an Obi Presidency to the long time interest of the region (North).
“Baba (Obasanjo) has been visiting people here in the North to market the candidature of the Labour Party, telling the people and the groups that he has visited to consider the likelihood of the Presidency going to the South East next year. “He has been telling us that Obi would not do anything to injure the interest of the North if considered by our people to become the President. He told us that a similar thing had happened in the past that didn’t injure the interest of the North,”
the source said.
Our source stated that the ‘similar thing’ under reference was the emergence of former President Goodluck Jonathan who became the president via the intervention of Obasanjo and other stakeholders in 2010. “ Our people told Baba that the issue of secessionist agitation in the South East is a source of worry to them.
Baba replied by saying the militant agitation in the South South died down and has never reared its head again since Jonathan became president. He (Obasanjo) told stakeholders that the emergence of Obi would halt the agitation,” the source said. The selling point Obasanjo has been using to push the former governor include Obi’s perceived frugal approach to governance, which he (the former president) says is a positive score considering the state of the country’s finances which is believed to be so precarious and worrisome. Another source said Obasanjo is not making serious headway in his efforts owing to what he termed age-long suspicion that the North has for the South East but that “things might eventually change before the election. We still have several months ahead before the election.”
Findings by our correspondent reveal that the efforts of the former President resulted in the emergence of a former member of the Upper Chambers, Senator Datti Baba-Ahmed as the running mate to Obi. When contacted by Saturday Telegragh, the media aide to the former President, Mr. Kehinde Akinyemi feigned ignorance of the move but promised to get back to our correspondent after consulting with his boss. “I don’t know if anything like that has happened. As I speak to you now, Baba (Obasanjo) is currently in Lagos”, he said.