Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said Speaker of the House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila and all those claiming he endorsed Bola Ahmed Tinubu, the presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), are hurting the candidate than being helpful to his 2023 ambition.
Obasanjo’s cautionary remarks followed a statement by Speaker of Nigeria’s House of Representatives, Femi Gbajabiamila, which revealed that the former president “embraced our candidate like a brother, gave him a pat on the back, and prayed for him copiously”, during the closed-door meeting in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
Tinubu and some APC chieftains had visited Obasanjo at his residence in Abeokuta on Wednesday.
The former Lagos governor was accompanied by two former governors of the state, Olusegun Osoba and Otunba Gbenga Daniel, former interim National Chairman of APC, Bisi Akande, Gbajabiamila, among others.
Both Obasanjo and Tinubu did not address the media after the meeting.
In less than 24 hours after the meeting, Gbajabiamila spoke to the media saying he witnessed the closed-door meeting.
The Speaker said, “When we were going to Obasanjo’s house, we were eight, including Asiwaju Tinubu and me; we didn’t want many people to know about the meeting. So, we were to meet Obasanjo and five others from his side.
“But when we eventually got there, we met something pleasantly shocking: a mammoth crowd of our supporters were already at the former president’s house waiting for us.
“So, Obasanjo told Asiwaju Tinubu to pick three people from his side and that he would pick three from his side to meet behind close doors.
“So, I, Chief Osoba and Chief Akande and Asiwaju went from our side. My people, what I heard there, what Obasanjo said, the victory of Asiwaju is assured.
“Obasanjo spoke at length and we were all happy. He embraced our candidate like a brother, gave him a pat on the back, and prayed for him copiously.”
Gbajabiamila’s revelation which was well received by the Tinubu camp, however, did not sit down well with Obasanjo.
Reacting to the development in a statement by his Special Assistant on Media, Kehinde Akinyemi, on Saturday, Obasanjo said the statements coming from those claiming to be supporters of Tinubu are “unhelpful.”
The former President said the discussion during the visit was “more brotherly than political”, and at the request of Bola Tinubu, Chief Obasanjo agreed to no statement from either side.”
He added that, “Those claiming to be insiders at the meeting, issuing statement on the discussion and those crediting to me statement I had not made are enemies of the visitor and are not doing the visit any good.”
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