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Monday, October 6, 2014

2015 Presidency: PDP, APC Battle To Win Over Obasanjo

The Peoples Democratic Party and the All Progressives Congress have begun what can be described as the last battle to woo President Olusegun Obasanjo ahead of the 2015 presidential elections.

Bola Tinubu's meeting with Obasanjo, which was also attended by the APC National Vice-Chairman, Segun Oni, centred on what should constitute the interest of the South-West in the politics of 2015.

Obasanjo was said to have advised APC to choose a presidential candidate with a clean record.

A top APC chieftain in the South-West, who confided in Punch, said: "The two former governors said that the interest of the South-West should determine the candidate our people should support. 

"You will agree that our people have not been fairly treated by the present government at the centre, but Baba in his characteristic frankness advised the APC to choose a candidate with an untainted record."

Investigations by Punch showed that separate meetings the former president held with Senate President, David Mark, and an APC leader, Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, marked the beginning of the last attempt to get Obasanjo's support ahead of party primaries.

PDP has endorsed President Goodluck Jonathan as its sole presidential candidate.

On its part, APC will choose between Muhammadu Buhari and Atiku Abubakar at its convention.

According to the Independent National Electoral Commission, party primaries will hold between October 2 and December 11, 2014.

It was learnt that PDP and Jonathan chose Mark to head the reconciliation team because of his closeness to Obasanjo. The former president had on several occasions expressed his opposition to Jonathan's second term ambition on the grounds that the President in 2011 promised not to re-contest.

But a top PDP chieftain, who confided in one of correspondents, said, "The President has not lost hope. He still respects Obasanjo and believes the former president can still support him."


But it was gathered that the former president had not changed his position on Jonathan's 2015 ambition.

When contacted, an aide to the former President, who pleaded anonymity, said, "Baba Obasanjo did not disclose what he discussed with David Mark and Tinubu at separate meetings he held with them."

APC National Publicity Secretary, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, in a phone interview with Punch, justified Tinubu's visit to Obasanjo. He stated, "In politics, you cannot ignore anybody that can help you. The leader must have his reasons for visiting the former President; he is doing it for Nigeria.

"What is at hand in 2015 is about Nigeria, it is not about the APC alone. Whoever we can talk to and can assist us to change this clueless government, we will meet."

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