Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has urged the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to purge itself of “bad eggs and hypocrites” who “lack the commitment” to return the opposition party to its lost glory.
Obasanjo rued that many of the PDP leaders still preoccupy themselves with what ministers to “their pockets and stomach”.
He wondered why some of them left the party and others lost hope as soon as the results of the 2019 presidential election were announced.
The former president spoke on Sunday evening when Southwest PDP leaders, led by the party’s National Vice Chairman (Southwest), Dr. Eddy Olafeso, visited him at his Pent-House Residence within the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta, Ogun State.
At the meeting were: Senate Minority Leader Mrs. Biodun Olujimi; senators-elect Kola Balogun (Oyo South); Ayo Akinyelure (Ondo Central); House of Representatives member-elect Ajibola Muraina (Ibarapa North and Central); former Osun State Governor Olagunsoye Oyinlola; former Minister for State for Defence Erelu Olusola Obada and the PDP candidate in Ekiti State during the 2018 governorship election, Prof Olusola Eleka.
Obasanjo told his guests that Nigeria’s situation demands a vibrant voice and opposition in PDP to engender a virile democracy.
The former leader also bemoaned the failure of leadership in the country, saying Nigeria “can’t move forward if we continue the way we are”.
Obasanjo, whose Coalition for Nigerian Movement (CNM) failed to dislodge President Muhammadu Buhari and his All Progressives Congress (APC) at the centre, urged the opposition PDP to purge itself of “hypocrites and bad eggs”
He noted that the purge would put the party on a higher pedestal to scout for those he called “critical mass of committed people,” who “would be ready to stand with the party come rain, come shine”.
Obasanjo said: ”I knew PDP would lose election in 2015 because it was clear. And I knew PDP will need to be rebuilt after losing the election.
“You need what I call critical mass of committed people and come rain, come shine, they are committed. With that, you can make Nigeria better.
“You see peoples’ faces beautiful but you don’t know what each person harbours inside of him. If you discover a bad egg, remove such a person. And if such person has learnt his or her lessons, there can still be room to accommodate the person.
“Politically speaking, you can’t be my friend if you don’t buy into the Nigeria project. For me, till death, I will continue to push for a better Nigeria.
“I said if you compare the two of them (referring to Atiku and Buhari); with what I know and all I have written about the incumbent, which they have decided to cover up, Atiku is better than the incumbent by far. That’s the point I am making. And nobody is perfect.
“I am not a perfect person. I have my shortcomings. If I deny my shortcomings, it means I am not being truthful to myself. But, my shortcomings have nothing to do with my love for Nigeria. It has nothing to do with being greedy or selfishness.”
Earlier, Olafeso had explained that the visit was to celebrate Obasanjo on his 82nd birthday, which he marked recently, and thank him for his support for the PDP presidential candidate (Atiku) in this year’s election.
He described the former president as a loyal, upright and committed leader who is “ready to speak the truth to power” fearlessly.
“We could not have done well in the last elections in the Southwest without your support. Your voice resonates above all the lies told in the country and you told the world what is actually happening in your country. You decided that you are going to stand up and fight. There is nothing we can say here that would compensate the role you have played.
“You supported our presidential candidate and I know for sure that he won that election even if the powers-that-be decided to write results for themselves in the North. It is certainly sure that it is the corner you asked all of us to go that won that election and I know full well that God will take this thing back to our party,” Olafeso said.
Former Lagos State Deputy Governor Mrs. Kofoworola Bucknor-Akerele, former PDP Deputy National Chairman Shuaibu Oyedoku, and Ondo PDP governorship candidate in 2017 Eyitayo Jegede SAN, among others, also attended the meeting.