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You are here:Home>>Strategic Research & Analysis>>Obasanjo to Quit Politics
Thursday, 19 May 2011 11:59

Obasanjo to Quit Politics

Written by Imam Imam (ThisDay)
Chief Obasanjo Chief Obasanjo Thisday

One of Nigeria's foremost nationalists – as well as one of its most divisive personalities – former President Olusegun Obasanjo has indicated interest to finally retire from active politics.

He told Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) chieftains from Lagos State who visited him at his Ota home last weekend that he had had "enough" and would leave the political scene for the younger generation.

Should Obasanjo go ahead with the retirement plan, he is expected to give up his position as the chairman of the Board of Trustees (BoT) of the PDP which he has held since the end of his tenure as President in 2007.

Obasanjo, who last weekend met with a delegation led by elder statesman Rafiu Jafojo, Mr. William Oganga, and Princess Gloria Adebajo-Frazier, said the only developoment delaying his retirement is the need to have a new Deputy National Chairman of the PDP whose position has been zoned to the South-west.

"Baba made it clear that as soon as a new Deputy National Chairman of the party emerges from the South-west, he will hand over party affairs to the person and concentrate on his ambassadorial assignments on the African continent.

"He also said his priority now is to ensure that someone from Ogun, Ondo or Ekiti emerges to fill the position. He told the delegation that all the past leaders who have held the position are from Oyo, Osun and Lagos States, so to ensure fairness, he wants someone from one of the states that has not produced the Deputy National Chairman to do so", a source at the meeting told THISDAY.

The role Obasanjo played in the re-zoning of the position of speaker of the House of Representatives to the South-west as well as the endorsement of Hon. Ajibola Muraina for the job is believed to be fuelling rebellion within the PDP as North-west lawmakers have vowed to truncate zoning.

Besides, it is believed that Obasanjo deliberately picked the terminally ill Alhaji Umaru Musa Yar’Adua as his successor on 2007 so that power could return to the South in a short span.

Of the seven former Nigerian leaders alive, only Obasanjo and Muhammadu Buhari have remained in active politics, with both men serving as BoT chairmen of their respective parties.

Buhari contested last month's presidential election on the platform of the Congress for Progressive Change (CPC) which he lost to PDP's Goodluck Jonathan.

Obasanjo's continued activities in the political scene have divided opinion in the country, with some urging him to pick up a role of an elder statesman in the category of former leaders such as Shehu Shagari and Abdulsalami Abubakar.

Considered one of the luckiest Nigerians around, Obasanjo rose to national prominence in 1970 when he accepted the instruments of surrender from the Biafran army which attempted to divide the country.

He served as a federal commissioner of works (now minister) in the Yakubu Gowon regime and rose to the position of Head of State following the assassination of General Murtala Ramat Muhammed in 1976.

He entered the history books when he handed over power to a democratically elected government in October 1979.

In 1999, following his release from prison by General Abdulsalami from incarceration by the Sani Abacha regime over his alleged involvement in a coup, he was elected the President under the PDP where he served for two terms.

Despite introducing far-reaching reforms while in office, he is best remembered for his failed attempt to change the constitution and elongate his tenure for a third term.

The effort was defeated in the Senate.

 

Last modified on Thursday, 19 May 2011 12:14

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