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Obasanjo, Abdul-Salam, Onaiyekan, others discuss rising insecurity, declining economy2mins read

Buhari endorses Obasanjo-led deliberations


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FORMER Nigerian leaders and elder statesmen had a closed-door meeting on Thursday, June 10, over rising insecurity and disunity in the country.

The meeting was convened by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, with former Head of State Abubakar Abdul-Salam and other influential leaders present.

The Ooni of Ife Adeyeye Adewusi; Sultan of Sokoto Sa’ad Abubakar III; former National Security Adviser Aliyu Mohammed Gusau;  former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Attorney General of the Federation Kanu Agabi, and former Catholic archbishop John Onaiyekan, including politicians and diplomats were also present at the meeting held at Transcorp Hilton, Abuja.

After the meeting, the attendants did not respond to questions regarding the outcome. However, persons close to the meeting said the discussion bordered on the worsening security crisis in Nigeria.

The former leaders were also said to have deliberated on Nigeria’s economy, threats to the country’s unity, high rate of unemployment, corruption and development issues.

A few days before the meeting, the Buhari Media Organisation (BMO) had claimed that there was a plot by a former civilian president to overthrow President Muhammadu Buhari. The group, however, failed to provide proof of the alleged conspiracy.

BMO, in a statement issued on May 30, claimed that the former president was working with a gang of conspirators operating under the guise of ’eminent persons’ in the country.

The group said its ‘reliable security sources’ informed them that the plot to overthrow the president would be premised on the disaffections in the country through a planned conference of so-called eminent Nigerians.

“While the conference ostensibly aims to review the state of the nation, we can authoritatively confirm that it is actually a premeditated plan to create confusion in the polity by calling President Buhari to resign after a supposed vote of no confidence,” the group said.

The ICIR can, however, confirm that Buhari, in a letter, welcomed the Obasanjo-led conference over the country’s various challenges and expressed hope that the former leaders would avail his government of recommendations from the meeting.

The president’s position might be surprising to many people around him. It is believed that some influential persons around him had sold the idea to him that Obasanjo was holding the conference to criticise and discredit him to undermine his government.

However, a presidency source, who made a copy of the Buhari’s letter to Obasanjo available to our reporter, said that the Nigerian leader might have come to his tether’s end in dealing with the myriad of problems facing the nation and might be open to suggestions and recommendations from well-meaning circles.

“I think first and foremost, the president is tired of listening to the same people advising him on national issues. He is facing challenges without seeing solutions. So, he probably sees the gesture by Obasanjo, Abdulsalam and others as an opportunity to bring fresh ideas to bear on the country’s problems,” the source said.

“Don’t forget that these men are former military colleagues and there is still a lot of trust and esprit de corps among them,” the source added.

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Apart from this, the source also reasoned that Buhari might be less trusting of some people around him who had failed to proffer workable solutions but would continue to block fresh ideas from outside government, even from diplomatic circles.

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