Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday in Abeokuta, Ogun State referred to Imo State Governor, RochasOkorocha, as a ‘failure’.
Obasanjo made this remarks while responding to guests who spoke at the grand finale of the civic reception organized in his honour by the South West Zone of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP). He also said there was no way he could associate with Okorocha who described the President as “his colleague”.
Okorocha was a member of the PDP before defecting to the All Nigeria Peoples’ Party (ANPP) where he ran unsuccessfully for the presidential ticket in 2003. He then defected to the All Progressives Grand Alliance (APGA), on whose platform he was elected governor in 2011.
The Imo State governor had earlier in his speech recalled his days as the Special Adviser to Obasanjo on Inter-Party Affairs, crediting himself with giving the former President advice that influenced some good decisions he made while in office.
The Imo governor said, “Obasanjo is indeed PDP. But in the actual sense, he’s a national leader. He does not belong to the PDP alone but a national leader of Nigeria. If I have another opportunity to advise him, I will tell him to be the national leader of the country and not the national leader of the party.
“We are here to give honour to whom honour is due. Obasanjo will remain immovable and unshakable. He is a man that is very difficult to describe. He represents different things to different people. But for me, he represents a former colleague. We both ran for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And later when he appointed me as his adviser, I gave him all the good advice.
“All the good things he did for those eight years, I advised him but all the bad ones he did, I travelled out of the country. I want to join Nigerians to celebrate this icon — this great and steadfast Nigerian, who is not afraid of fighting any battle. But when he starts fighting he doesn’t stop until he finishes fighting. He’s a general’s general and a soldier’s soldier.”
But AkwaIbom State Governor GodswillAkpabio spoke in Obasanjo’s defence and said to Okorocha, “I was not as lucky as Governor Okorocha to work with him Obasanjo. So I did not give him advice. I’m very sure that even the few things that he did were actually taken out of the bad advice of APGA where RochasOkorocha must have represented. Baba, I say the good ones are from you, not from him (Okorocha).”
However, Obasanjo rejected the tag of ‘former colleague to Okorocha’, saying he could not be a colleague to failure, since Okorocha had failed in securing a party presidential ticket.
He said, “I met Okorocha a long ago by virtue of the fact that he was brought up in Jos — one of the few cities that I found in the fifties and seventies as a genuine melting pot in Nigeria. He is a true Nigerian and when he wants to pull me down, he will say we are colleagues. How can I be a colleague of a failure? You are a failure in contesting the presidency of Nigeria!”
In his speech, the chairman of the PDP, Alhaji BamangaTukur, compared the crisis engulfing the party to a ‘surgery’ which must bring pain to some members.
He said, “Let us fight and win unity, peace, development for our dear nation. The surgery we have started in our party, the PDP is in line with our vision for a better society and the aspiration of all Nigerians. In this surgery we are aware we must lose some blood, undergo some pains and challenges but surely the result will eventually be one sacrifice that we made for ourselves.”
Vice-President NamadiSambo described Obasanjo as a true nationalist, even as he used the occasion to talk about the achievements of the Jonathan-led administration.