PDP has lost its soul, says Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, yesterday, restated his stand that for the country’s democracy to thrive, it needs, not only a strong political party in government, but also as opposition.
Speaking when the embattled factional national chairman of Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ali Modu Sheriff, paid him a courtesy visit; Obasanjo stressed that one of the misfortunes of Nigeria is that it neither has a strong party in government nor has a strong opposition party.
He explained that one of the ingredients of a strong democracy is that all institutions of state and political parties must be “nourished,” even as he wished Sheriff well, “for the dying baby they have put on his lap.”
Maintaining that PDP is comatose, Obasanjo declared: “Today PDP cannot claim to be a strong party in opposition. I do not know if APC (All Progressives Congress) can claim, at the national level, to be a strong party in government either. Now, that is part of the misfortune of this country today.”
Continuing the former president who was elected on the PDP platform narrated: “Let me make it absolutely clear once and again, I have renounced partisan politics. I do not belong to any political party, not to talk of his (Sheriff) own faction of PDP or any other faction.
“But he (Sheriff) came and I am very, very happy to receive him. And I said look, please for my own education, for my own knowledge, tell me what exactly is happening? And he briefed me.
“I was once the leader of PDP, for eight years. But the PDP that I was the leader of is not the PDP of today. The PDP of today, the soul has been taken out of it. The soul of that party has been taken out of it. And those who allowed that to happen, unfortunately are either in the country or out of the country.”
Obasanjo who insisted that it must be the concern of all Nigerians that the present democratic dispensation is not allowed to derail, said for such calamity not to happen “we must have a strong political party in government and a strong political party as opposition.”
His words, “When they talk of institution, a political party is an institution and in a democracy, it is a very important institution we must all nourish and cherish. When I was in PDP I tried to encourage him to come to PDP. He did not come. But the PDP that they have given him now is a dying PDP, a dying baby. It needs to be in intensive care otherwise, he will just be an undertaker.”
Earlier Sheriff explained that he decided to call on the former president because “every wisdom that we need to lead our party, he has it,” noting, however, that he disagreed with Obasanjo that he is a factional leader.
“Baba, I do not have any faction. I’m the chairman of PDP,” he stated, stressing that whether in politics or outside politics, Obasanjo has a role in the Nigerian nation and every one of us looking up to him, if we have a problem we must come to him for solution.
“Therefore, since we are looking for a solution, whether he is a member of a political party or not, he is our father, father of the Nigerian nation and the grandfather of PDP, therefore that soul that has gone out of the party, he has to bring it back to us and through his advice, we will get it right. “