2019: Between Lamido & Dankwambo, Who Will Obasanjo Support?
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has continued to publicly undermine his former vice, Atiku Abubakar, who is seeking to be President for the fourth consecutive time since 1999.
Obasanjo on Saturday clearly distanced himself from the PDP presidential aspirant. “God will not forgive me,” he said, “if I supported Atiku.”
What Obasanjo’s statement means to Atiku
Obasanjo’s rejection of Atiku has really dealt a blow to his presidential ambition.
Atiku, who appears to be making progress in his efforts to ingratiate himself back to the PDP had been concerned by the Baba Iyabo-factor.
Atiku’s strategists before Obasanjo’s statement, have been trying to paint a picture that all is well between both leaders.
Obasanjo’s statement has further reinforced the suspicion some leaders of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) have for Atiku.
Obasanjo and the PDP leaders naturally viewed Atiku with suspicion due to his history of defections and the perception that he is too wealthy and powerful to submit to their dictates.
Recall that Obasanjo had told the PDP National Working Committee, which paid him a private visit in July, that he is committed to helping them achieve victory.
But the former President gave a caveat, “if you give it to that man, I would not be involved.”
The former President did not mention Atiku’s name but the message was clearly communicated.
Obasanjo’s private and public statements carry weight and would definitely influence party leaders, many of whom are considered his ‘boys’ and the faithful who know that they would require the former President in their quest for victory.
Who then is Obasanjo’s likely candidate?
According to insiders, Obasanjo has not shied away from publicly proclaiming his soft-spot and endorsement of former Jigawa State governor, Sule Lamido, who is seen as the leading challenger to Atiku for the PDP’s presidential ticket.
Lamido is seen as one of Obasanjo’s political protégées and one who continues to consult with the former President before taking any step.
Obasanjo once said Lamido would have ruled and transformed Nigeria had former President Goodluck Jonathan allowed a credible PDP primary election in 2014 where he (Lamido) would have picked the party’s presidential ticket.
“Some people are saying one person can’t make changes. This is rubbish; if you have a competent person who knows where he is going to, he can make changes along with his team that would impact the lives of people as we have seen it in Jigawa State when Lamido was the governor."
The former President noted that there was no way the APC people would have been able to use their Change Mantra to sweep off the PDP if it was Lamido whom he said had a good administrative record flew the PDP’s flag.
Dankwambo's entry has changed the game
Sundays' official declaration of Gombe state governor, Ibrahim Dankwambo for presidency may have changed the game.
Prior to Dankwambo's declaration, Obasanjo was said to have told his associates that he feared that the ruling APC would use the EFCC to scuttle Lamido’s ambition as a result of the corruption charges against him and his two sons.
Obasanjo was said to have clearly told his associates that he had equally seen the qualities which he saw in Lamido in Dankwambo whom he described as a good administrator, achiever, pace setter and bridge builder.
“Go to Gombe State and see the legacy that he is leaving behind.
He said “when I was the President, I was looking for the best material to serve the country as Accountant-General.
“Somebody recommended him – Dankwambo, I invited him and he has proved beyond reasonable doubt. I do not know him personally, I only worked with recommendations and I found that he was a performer.
“I said yes, this is the man I want,’’ Obasanjo said.