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Obasanjo Dumps PDP, As Party Expels Him
In what appears to be a pre-emptive move, former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Monday dumped the ruling Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, announcing his decision to henceforth play the role of a statesman while staying out of active politics.
But in a dramatic move, the PDP in Ogun State has also suspended the former Head of State, who has shown open opposition to President Goodluck Jonathan’s re – election bid, from the ruling party for what it termed anti party activities.
Obasanjo, who announced his decision to dump the PDP when members of the party from his Ward in Abeokuta North local government area of Ogun State, led by the chairman, Usman Oladunjoye, visited him at his Hilltop mansion residence in Abeokuta, hinted that his announcement was occasioned by reports of a plan by the party leadership to expel him for alleged anti-party activities.
“They said they want to expel me from PDP. Although I have not been told but I have my ears on ground. We’ve been trying to run away from a man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river. I have told you before that I became president on the platform of PDP, once I leave PDP I will not join any party,” Obasanjo told journalists.
“I will only be a Nigerian. I am ready to work with anybody regardless of political affiliation. Why would some people say they want to send me away, they don’t need to bother themselves, here’s your membership card, take it,” he said.
In a dramatic move calculated to show that his decision was irreversible, Obasanjo directed Oladunjoye to tear his PDP membership registration card.
The PDP ward chairman, thereafter, went ahead to publicly tear the former President’s membership card to thunderous applause by those present.
Obasanjo has been embroiled in a protracted dispute with Jonathan ostensibly over what he considered as the President’s lacklustre performance in office.
Many attempts at fence-mending between the two party leaders failed and the dispute became apparent when Obasanjo resigned from his position as chairman, Board of Trustees, BOT, of the PDP on April 3, 2012, saying that time to work at attracting business investments to Nigeria.
The former President has accused Jonathan of mismanaging the nation’s resources, not acting boldly regarding the nation’s security and generally encouraging corruption.
In an open letter to the president dated December 2, 2013, Obasanjo had raised an alarm that there were reports that Jonathan had compiled a list of ‘troublesome’ opposition politicians and assembling a sniper squad for the purpose of dealing with perceived foes.
Obasanjo also recently launched an autobiography titled “My Watch’ in which he took President Jonathan to the cleaners, giving damaging appraisals of his stewardship since 2010. The memoirs are the subject of an on-going libel suit, and have been banned from being published or sold in Nigeria.
President Jonathan had also made certain remarks directed at Obasanjo in which he (Obasanjo) was referred to as “an elder statesman who was behaving like a motor park tout”.
Recently the former president accused President Jonathan of having perfected certain plans to instigate crisis in the nation to encourage a military takeover, in the event of his defeat at the forthcoming polls.
But President Jonathan in turn on Saturday accused Obasanjo of working to create an interim national government which he had intentions to lead.
Announcing his retirement from politics, the former president denied the allegation that he was plotting to establish and head an interim government.
Reacting to Obasanjo’s exit in Abeokuta, the Ogun State chairman of the party, Bayo Dayo, stated that form today “Obasanjo Aremu Olusegun stands expelled and excommunicated from the party thereby losing all rights previous, privileges and respect of our teeming party members.”
According to Dayo, Obasanjo’s ward had earlier sent a letter dated February 12, 2015 to express concerns at his “anti-party activities” and “uncomplimentary utterances” targeted at the leader of the party, President Jonathan.