Obasanjo reconciles with Afenifere leaders, Bode George 

Olusegun Obasanjo

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo, erstwhile Deputy National Chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Chief Olabode George, and chieftains of the Yoruba socio-cultural organisation, Afenifere, who are some of his major critics, met in Lagos, yesterday, to kick-start a reconciliation process and forge a common front ahead of the 2019 general elections.
 
Obasanjo, who was at Chief George’s residence in Ikoyi before 9am, commiserated with the PDP chieftain over the recent death of his son, Dipo George, discussed national issues as well as, matters concerning the South West region behind close-door.
 
The former president who was accompanied by Chief Abraham Akanle; Mr. Joju Fadairo; Dr. Femi Majekodunmi; Dr. Gbolade Oshinowo; Kenny Martins, and Otunba Oyewole Fasawe, arrived at the Lekki Phase One residence of Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, where he also entered into a closed-door meeting with former Nigerian envoy to The Netherlands, Dr. (Mrs) Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosumu; Pastor Tunde Bakare; Dr. Amos Akingba; Mr. Supo Shonibare; Senator Femi Okunrounmu; Prof Akin Mabogunje, Prof Banji Akintoye; Mr. Yinka Odumakin, former governor of Ogun State and Director-General, Atiku Abubakar Campaign Organisation, Otunba Gbenga Daniel; former Ondo State governor, Olusegun Mimiko, and others to iron out critical issues about the country.
 
Although, Obasanjo refused to engage the media on the purpose of his visit, his host, Chief Adebanjo, however said the gathering was about the nation.

The Afenifere leader said the meeting was aimed at forging a common front among stakeholders in the region, and also to ensure unity and oneness of purpose on how to save the country from further drifting.
 
Adebanjo, who said the country must move forward, stressed that all attempts to establish dictatorship must be opposed, and there must be unity to destroy mediocrity and dictatorship.
 
While he did not disclose whether Afenifere tried to convince` Obasanjo to change his anti restructuring posture, it was gathered that the subject was part of the issues discussed.
 
The Guardian also reliably gathered that some of the major issues discussed at the meeting were the 2019 general elections; the spate of killings across the country and the rate at which young Nigerians are desperately running away from the country in search of greener pastures abroad. 
 
Reacting to whether the Yoruba would agree on a common presidential candidate and the political platform to adopt in 2019, Adebanjo said, “What is important is that we have a common goal.

We don’t have a candidate yet, not yet. We must agree first, any difference among us must be settled. If you are not united you can’t fight the battle.

The Yoruba man must put on his thinking cap.”
 
When asked why he opted to meet with Obasanjo, whom he has severely criticised over the years, the General Overseer, Latter Rain Church, Pastor Bakare said, “Being a critic is not being an enemy of the state, or the nation.

The thinker is the enemy of the mob. If you say I have been a critic of Chief Obasanjo, look at him now being a critic of President Buhari too, yet he facilitated his coming in.

Critique is not the same thing as criticism, it is to let us reason together. Things are not going the right way. That is all.”
 
He said the hope and prayer of the concerned leaders is that the meeting would eventually put Nigeria on the right path.
 
Prof. Mabogunje on his part expressed the hope that the meeting would yield something positive, particularly in the dire situation that the country is at presently.

“All the stakeholders in Nigeria have come to the realisation that there is danger, and that must be tackled collectively, not just ahead, but with us.”
 
The atmosphere at George’s Ikoyi residence was that of warmth, with sobering unifying affection, and with a deepening of genuine healing on both sides.

It was a significant reunion that may be a sign of a new political rapprochement and a forging of forces in the South West and nationally. 
   
Party stalwarts and family members, who welcomed Obasanjo to residence of the Georges included Seun Philipps; Chief Dapo Sarumi; Chief Okanlawon Shoboyede; Chief Mrs. Kofoworola Bucknor, Dr. Remi Akitoye, Chief Mrs Onikepo Oshodi, Captain Tunji Shelle; Mr. Debo Dallas; Mr. Biodun Ejemai; Mr Tola Animashaun; Prince Uthman Shodipe-Dosunmu.

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