The position came amidst speculation that the former president was returning to the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), and his supposed role in procurement of the United States of America visa for his former deputy.
Following the reconciliation, the former president has been using every available forum to canvas support for Atiku candidature in the 2019 poll.
But in an exclusive interview with Blueprint in Abuja, APC National Publicity Secretary, Malam Lanre Issa-Onilu, said the ruling party was waiting for a review of Obasanjo’s book (My Watch), where he warned the country against the former vice president.
Asked whether the APC is threatened with the purported return of Obasanjo to PDP, he said the party was not in any way moved.
“Well, not at all. Obasanjo’s position is clear. Just as the party has stated earlier, he wants to continue to rule this nation by proxy. It would have been okay if he meant well. But, his eight years and subsequent years after whatever action or whatever steps he had taken, did not suggest he meant well for this country.
“And so, in any case we are not worried. But, again we are waiting for a review of his book of all the things he said about Atiku. We are waiting for him to do Volume 2 so that he will say it was a lie.
“And if it was not lie, and he was saying the truth, then he doesn’t have the interest of this country in mind by supporting somebody he said that much about him and he has warned us.
“And we should also take note of Obasanjo’s statement during the so-called reconciliatory meeting they had. He said ‘Atiku, I have forgiven you. But, go and do what you need to do to sort out the international community.’
“Is there something Obasanjo knows about Atiku that he has not told us, or that the country does not know yet? As a leader of this country, a one-time military president and a one-time president as a civilian for 8 years, he owes this country the full disclosure of whatever he is hiding about Atiku. He has done enough, but in the interim, there are more that we want to know.”
On the claim that APC was planning to neutralise Obasanjo, Onilu said: “For what? It is about vote. With due respect to the former president, he has only one vote, only one vote.
“And, we also want to ask if has found the pieces of his voter card or PDP membership card that he tore publicly. Has he been able to put them together now? Or has he gotten a new one?”
I’m not neutral -OBJ
Meanwhile, the former president has debunked media report that he was not in support of any candidate in next year’s presidential poll.
He made the clarification in a statement issued yesterday by his media aide, Kehinde Akinyemi.
The statement said: “While Chief Olusegun Obasanjo is in Cairo to attend the maiden edition of the Intra-African Trade Fair (IATF), of which he is Chairman of the Advisory Council, his attention has been drawn to a report by the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) with the headline “Atiku: Obasanjo shifts political gear to neutral.
“It is disingenuous, if not malicious, for anyone to suggest that Chief Obasanjo was being neutral when he chose not to use the Owu Convention as a platform for political campaign, but instead adopted a communal and familial approach in talking to members of his Owu Family.
“For the records, and as accurately reported by some media organisations, what the former president said at the convention in Iwo was that while he would not impress any candidate on them, Nigerians should vote for credible candidates who will drive growth and development and make their lives better than it is now.”
According to Akinyemi, Obasanjo’s statement did not suggest his neutrality, as he believes that, “only a fool will sit on the fence or be neutral when his or her country is being destroyed with incompetence, corruption, lack of focus, insecurity, nepotism, brazen impunity and denial of the obvious. Chief Obasanjo is no such fool nor is he so unwise.”
The former president, who already declared his support for opposition presidential candidate, Atiku Abubakar, said he would not sit on the fence when he needs to be out and active for people to know where he stands in the best interest of Nigeria.
He urged Nigerians to stop complaining about their current situation and advised that they should and go out to get “beneficial change,” stating that, “they must know that such change will not come if they remain inactive just complaining and complacent and they allow themselves to be deceived by sycophants and enemies of Nigeria.
“If they do not become active and get much needed change of the current administration to a government that will improve the economy, regain the confidence of investors and generally drive growth, development and economic progress with security, what is coming will be much worse than what Nigerians currently suffer.”
The media aide further said his principal would continue to speak against poor governance and nobody should manipulate his stance on the 2019 presidential election.
Obasanjo, who supported Muhammadu Buhari in 2015, has however, accused the president of nepotism, poor performance, and sectionalism.
But the Presidency has consistently urged Nigerians to ignore the former president; the APC-led government’s performance was enough to fetch Buhari a second term.
‘Atiku wants to sell national assets’
In a related development, the Deputy National Publicity Secretary of the APC, Yekini Nabena, has alleged that the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Abubakar, is contesting mainly to sell some national assets to his cronies.
In a statement yesterday in Abuja, Nabena posited that “Nigerians have been impoverished by selfish and corrupt leadership who mortgaged their commonwealth for their personal gains.
“These are the reasons Nigerians rejected PDP and all it represents in 2015. Once beaten, twice shy. Nigerians have been severally beaten by the PDP and they do not wish to have a repeat.
“Lobbying the US government to grant Atiku visa does not solve his integrity and image problem.
“The pertinent questions remain: Was Atiku’s wife, Jennifer involved at his behest in illegal financial transactions in the US? Were the transactions investigated? What was the result of the investigation? Was the US citizen caught in the web of the corrupt dealings jailed in the US?
“If the answers of these questions are in the positive, Atiku is definitely not fit, proper and credible to present himself for leadership of Nigeria come 2019.
“The presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Alhaji Atiku Abubakar has vowed to sell off the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), among other national assets if elected. One is not surprised at Atiku’s declaration, as the sale of national assets to proxies and associates is his main motivator for the office of president.
“One thing readily comes to mind -Atiku as the country’s vice president under the Olusegun Obasanjo administration from 1999-2007, presided over the National Council on Privatisation, overseeing the sale of lucrative public enterprises such as Nigerian Airways, Nigerian Telecommunications Limited (NITEL), NICON Hilton Hotel. It is on record how Atiku sold these juicy national assets to family members, friends and associates. Of course, the country became economically worse for it.”