2023: Tinubu pities Peter Obi over Obasanjo's endorsement

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  • says people Obasanjo endorsed had lost elections in the past.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's endorsement in a letter addressed to Nigerians on Sunday has attracted a reaction from the camp of a leading Presidential candidate.

Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, has punched the former President over his endorsement, saying, "Obasanjo cannot win a councillor's seat in Ogun State."

The statement issued by the APC Director, Media, and Publicity, Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, however, acknowledged that it is within the rights of Obasanjo to endorse anyone.

Mr. Tinubu claimed Obasanjo had adopted candidates that had lost the election in the past, including those he endorsed in his home state, Ogun, adding that Mr. Obasanjo's endorsement is not tantamount to winning.

The reaction is coming barely a few hours after Obasanjo, 85, Nigerian President from 1999 to 2007, wrote an open letter to Nigerians, endorsing the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the February 2023 election.

Olusegun Obasanjo
Olusegun Obasanjo

An excerpt from Obasanjo's letter reads, "None of the contestants is a saint, but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline, and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job, particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge.

"One other important point to make about Peter is that he is a needle with thread attached to it from North and South, and he may not get lost.

"In other words, he has people who can pull his ears, if and when necessary. He has a young and able running mate with a clean track record of achievement both in public and private life."

Reacting, Tinubu's camp expressed sympathy for Mr. Obi - a claim that he would join others Obasanjo endorsed who would lose elections.

Part of the statement reads, "We read with amusement the endorsement of Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his New Year message on Sunday.

"Following calls by journalists from various media houses who asked for our reaction, we decided to make this preliminary statement, though we didn't consider the so-called endorsement to be of any value.

"We respect the democratic right of former President Obasanjo to support and endorse any candidate of his choice in any election," the council noted.

The APC camp attacked the former President, saying that "Obasanjo is not a democrat," who anyone should be proud to be associated with." adding that it won't lose sleep over the endorsement.

"We make bold to say that our party and candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not lose sleep over Obasanjo's move, as Obasanjo is notorious for always opposing progressive political forces, as he did against MKO Abiola in 1993.

"The endorsement is actually worthless because the former President does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a Councillorship election, let alone win a Presidential election. He is a political paperweight.

Bola Tinubu
Bola Tinubu

"He is also not a democrat anyone should be proud to be associated with.

Chief Olusegun Obasanjo's endorsement in a letter addressed to Nigerians on Sunday has attracted a reaction from the camp of a leading Presidential candidate.

Ahmed Bola Tinubu, the All Progressives Congress presidential candidate, has thrown a jive at the former President over his endorsement, saying, "Obasanjo cannot win a councillor's seat in Ogun State."

The statement issued by the APC Director, Media, and Publicity, Presidential Campaign Council, Mr. Bayo Onanuga, however, acknowledged that it is within the rights of Obasanjo to endorse anyone.

Mr. Tinubu claimed Obasanjo had adopted candidates that had lost the election in the past, including endorsees in his home state, Ogun, adding that Mr. Obasanjo's endorsement is not tantamount to winning.

The reaction is coming barely a few hours after Obasanjo, 85, Nigerian President from 1999 to 2007, wrote an open letter to Nigerians, endorsing the candidate of the Labour Party, Peter Obi, for the February 2023 election.

An excerpt from Obasanjo's letter reads, "None of the contestants is a saint, but when one compares their character, antecedent, their understanding, knowledge, discipline, and vitality that they can bring to bear and the great efforts required to stay focused on the job, particularly looking at where the country is today and with the experience on the job that I personally had, Peter Obi as a mentee has an edge.

"One other important point to make about Peter is that he is a needle with thread attached to it from North and South, and he may not get lost.

"In other words, he has people who can pull his ears, if and when necessary. He has a young and able running mate with a clean track record of achievement both in public and private life."

Reacting, Tinubu's camp expressed sympathy for Mr. Obi - a claim that he would join other Obasanjo endorsees who had lost elections.

Part of the statement reads, "We read with amusement the endorsement of Mr. Peter Obi, the Labour Party Presidential Candidate, by former President Olusegun Obasanjo in his New Year message on Sunday.

"Following calls by journalists from various media houses who asked for our reaction, we decided to make this preliminary statement, though we didn't consider the so-called endorsement to be of any value.

"We respect the democratic right of former President Obasanjo to support and endorse any candidate of his choice in any election," the council noted.

The APC camp attacked the former President, saying that "Obasanjo is not a democrat," who anyone should be proud to be associated with." adding that it won't lose sleep over the endorsement.

"We make bold to say that our party and candidate, Asíwájú Bola Ahmed Tinubu, will not lose sleep over Obasanjo's move, as Obasanjo is notorious for always opposing progressive political forces, as he did against MKO Abiola in 1993.

"The endorsement is actually worthless because the former President does not possess any political goodwill or leverage anywhere in Nigeria to make anyone win a Councillorship election, let alone win a Presidential election. He is a political paperweight.

"He is also not a democrat anyone should be proud to be associated with.

Obasanjo's Relationship with Tinubu and Atiku

Tinubu visited Obasanjo in Abeokuta, Ogun State in August 2022 to seek his endorsement.

Mr. Tinubu and Obasanjo hadn't been at loggerheads when Obasanjo, as the then President, withheld the local government allocation for Lagos State when Tinubu was the Governor of Lagos State.

Though the duo had patched their differences over the years as Tinubu made efforts to appeal to Obasanjo to join his party in 2013.

Similarly, Obasanjo had also publicly expressed his concerns about the candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, Atiku Abubakar, who was his deputy from 1999 to 2003.

Obasanjo had said in his book that Atiku could not be trusted, referring to the desperate move by Atiku to oust him during his second term agenda.

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