The feud between former president Olusegun Obasanjo and the chairman, Board of Trustees (BoT) of the ruling PeoplesDemocratic Party (PDP), Chief Tony Anenih, might have been buried, at least for now, courtesy of the intervention of the JigawaState governor, Alhaji Sule Lamido.
Checks conducted by LEADERSHIP Sunday among the PDP leaders revealed that the relationship between the two PDP chieftains had been everything but cordial since Obasanjo’s tenure expired and after the collapse of the “third term” project spearheaded by Anenih. He had reportedly assured Obasanjo that the project would succeed; no sooner had the project failed than the former leader orchestrated the removal of Anenih as the BoT chairman and succeeded him.
Anenih fought back by worming himself into the heart of President Goodluck Jonathan. The two joined forces to pull down the political empire of Obasanjo within the PDP with Jonathan promising to reinstate Anenih to his BoT seat if the plot worked.
Obasanjo also fought back as he tried to install his friend and former PDP chairman, Senator Ahmadu Ali, but the presidency stood on his way and Anenih was foisted on the party at the expense of about 10 powerful individuals who were eyeing the seat. Thus, the development deepened the crisis between Anenih and Obasanjo on one hand and between Jonathan and Obasanjo on the other.
Amidst all this, Jonathan’s man and the national chairman of the party, Alhaji Bamanga Tukur, took charge in the party’s national secretariat and kicked out all Obasanjo’s foot soldiers from the place under the pretext of implementing a court order which voided the election of former governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola, as national secretary.
Oyinlola was the link between Obasanjo and the River State governor, Chief Rotimi Amaechi, and it was Amaechi that sold his candidacy to the PDP governors. Coincidentally, Tukur had incurred the wrath of Governor Murtala Nyako by removing the state chairman, a crony of the governor, and this compounded the problem for Tukur; the governors drew a battle line with him.
That was the situation when Anenih’s reconciliation attempt took him to Jigawa State where the panel appealed to Governor Lamido to sheathe the sword. Anenih told him his likes were needed for the prosecution of the 2015 presidential battle. Lamido accepted the peace overtures and, according to an insider, “Lamido told Chief Anenih that no more war and in the course of the dialogue promised to personally take him to Ota to meet Obasanjo as earlier sought in passing by Anenih.’’
So, when the panel went to Ota, Lamido joined the league. It was Lamido who first started the dialogue by appealing to Obasanjo to forgive whatever wrongs that anyone might have done to him. He told Obasanjo that nobody would underrate him or frustrate him out of the ruling party.
Former governor of Nasarawa State, now a senator, Adamu Abdullahi, reportedly appealed to Obasanjo to save the party which he had laboured to grow while in office. Alhaji Shuaibu Oyedokun, a former national vice chairman of the party, also joined them in begging Obasanjo to embrace the peace move.
“Baba (Obasanjo) then told those that were at the reconciliation meeting that Anenih was his friend and recalled how they had worked together in the past. He assured them that he would do whatever he could to ensure that the PDP retained the presidency in 2015.
But he asked that the party should allow whoever was interested in the presidential ticket of the party to do so even if President Jonathan was interested. He recalled how some party chieftains contested against his re-election despite the fact that the party had zoned the presidency to the southwest,’’ the source said.
Anenih reportedly argued that, unless the party works as a team, winning the election might be a mirage with the floating of the All Progressive Congress (APC) by the opposition. He was also quoted as telling Obasanjo that President Jonathan would never disrespect him and accused the media of fuelling the alleged feud between them.