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Emmanuel Fikayo

100Level, Nigeria.

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Elder statesman and former Ogun State Governor Olusegun Osobayesterday spoke on the political earthquake that swept through the five Southwest states in 2003, saying that former President Olusegun Obasanjo deceived the Alliance for Democracy (AD) governors and Afenifere leaders who supported him for a second term.

He said apart from the ‘D’Rovan Presidential Electoral College fiasco of AD in Ibadan, another factor that led to the implosion of Afenifere and the AD was the pact the party and pan-Yoruba organization had with the former president.

Aremo Osoba emphasized that, contrary to the impression in some quarters that the AD governors were solely responsible for the Southwest’s support for Obasanjo in the 2003 election, it was the collective decision of the Afenifere/AD hierarchy.

He recalled that the AD governors were not in good terms with Obasanjo, pointing out that they only decided to rally round him when the House of Representatives, led by former Speaker Ghali Umar Na’Abba wanted to impeach him in August 2002.

Osoba reflected on the defeat of the AD in the Southwest in his 341-page memoir: ‘Battlelines: Adventures in Journalism and Politics,’ published by Diamond Publications Limited.
The book will be presented to the public next Monday as part of activities marking his 80th birthday in Lagos.

He lamented that after assisting him to overcome the impeachment hurdle, he later waged a virulent political war against his Southwest benefactors.

Osoba recalled: “As it turned out, unwittingly, we gave Obasanjo a breather and tool with which he later dealt with us too.
I told him to “stoop to conquer.” After doing that with the National Assembly and surviving the impeachment plot, he also later “stooped to conquer” against the AD governors and Afenifere.

“After he survived the impeachment plot, he never showed any sense of remorse.
To all of us involved, we could not believe his new bellicose approach when in a national broadcast he described the impeachment plot as “joke carried too far.”
The former governor said before the agreement to support Obasanjo, Southwest leaders gave him some conditions, particularly restructuring and restoration of true federalism.
Osoba stressed: “A meeting was held in Lagos where the conditions for negotiating with Obasanjo were agreed upon. After the meeting at the home of Pa Adesanya, he led a team with the Afenifere charter of demand to Ota to discuss with Obasanjo.
“The delegation to Ota included Chief Ayo Adebanjo, Senator Femi Okunrounmu, and Dr. Cornelius Adebayo. Senator Okunrounmu and Dr.
Adebayo were mandated to speak on behalf of AD and Afenifere respectively at the meeting with Obasanjo.
Chief Adesanya called me and asked me to join them at Obasanjo’s Ota Farm, from my station in Abeokuta.

“The conditions presented to Obasanjo amongst others were: the restructuring of the Nigerian federation, devolution of power, including moving some items from the exclusive to the concurrent list and ensuring fiscal federalism.

“ Obasanjo was made to agree to organize a credible and transparent national census.
We also demanded that the constitution must include merit as a condition that must be followed alongside federal character and quota system in the recruitment to federal positions across the country.
When all these conditions were tabled before Obasanjo, he assured us that he was satisfied with them and that he clearly identified with them.”
Osoba said apart from the AD governors and Afenifere leaders, Obasanjo also reached out to royal fathers and other prominent Yoruba leaders to support his second term bid.

How Obasanjo Deceived Southwest- Osoba(photo)  - General Discussion

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