Monday, February 16, 2015 11:41 am
Former Nigerian president Olusegun Obasanjo has dumped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), stating that, he is no longer interested being a member.
He tore his PDP membership card and said he would continue to serve Nigeria as an elder statesman, in a dramatic event witnessed by newsmen in Abeokuta today at his Presidential Hilltop mansion.
Obasanjo, a former Nigerian military leader between 14 February 1976 September 1979 returned to power in 1999 on the platform of the PDP, a party he has now chosen to part ways with. He won re-election in 2003 and handed over to Umaru Musa Yar’adua, with Goodluck Jonathan as vice-president.
Justifying the parting of ways, he said his being involved in partisan politics would deter his mission to have a better Nigeria. He was therefore ready to sacrifice his membership of the PDP, and becomes a statesman.
“I am no more a politician but a statesman both internally and externally,’’ he said.
He, however, said that he would continue to identify with anything that would strengthen the nation.
“What some of us should be concerned about is how to make Nigeria stronger and strengthen its economy.
He also urged Nigerians to dismiss any call for an Interim National Government (ING).
Obasanjo, who alleged that some people were scheming to impose the idea on Nigerians, noted that such development would not do the country any good.
“How can anybody in his right senses talk of Interim National Government in a democratic setting?
“Some people are working for the idea but God will not allow it,’’ he said
The dramatic parting of ways with PDP began when he was asked to respond to a question on the rumour of being expelled from the party. Visibly angry, he directed one of his aides to get him his membership card.
When he was handed the card few minutes later, he threw it away and declared that, “if this is why we cannot have the Nigeria we desire, I am no longer part of this.”
The former President later handed over his PDP membership card to the ward 11 chairman in Abeokuta North local government,Alhaji Surajudeen Oladunjoye and instructed him to tear the card.
The compliant ward chairman, Oladunjoye, who led over 350 PDP members of the ward to a fact-finding mission at the Obasanjo’s residence, tore the cards into shreds to the admiration of the party followers.
All the party members who came with their cards also tore their cards amid jubilation. The implication is that Obasanjo may have buried the PDP in his ward 11.
Obasanjo maintained that a better Nigeria remains his desire, adding that he will do anything to achieve that. He however advised Nigerians to go all out on the election days and cast their votes for a better Nigeria.
Over the weekend, Obasanjo faced a barrage of criticisms and abuses from PDP stalwarts and aides of President Goodluck Jonathan, after he alerted the nation Saturday on a creeping agenda by Jonathan to win the postponed election by hook or crook and plunge Nigeria into war, as done by Ivory Coast’s former leader, Laurent Gbagbo.
After he left office in 2007, Obasanjo was chairman of the party’s Board of Trustees, but also resigned the position last year.
For some years, he has declined to play front-bench role in the party, insisting he would operate at the ward level.
In many parts of the country, most of his ardent followers within the PDP have joined the All Progressives Congress, triggering speculations that he too may be on his way to join the party soon.
The former president recently endorsed the candidate of the opposition All Progressives Congress, Maj. General Muhammadu Buhari, describing him as more competent than Jonathan.