Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, has dismissed any chance of returning to partisan politics, insisting that no amount of persuasion would make him rescind his decision, which is final.
Obasanjo who said that he had left party politics for good, however, noted that he would continue to contribute his quota to the country’s development as an elder statesman.
The former President stated this against the backdrop of various attempts by founding members of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to woo him back into politics.
Obasanjo reiterated his stand when members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the PDP, led by the National Chairman, Iyorchia Ayu, paid him a visit at his Abeokuta, Ogun State residence.
Those who accompanied Ayu included, the PDP vice presidential candidate in the 2019 general election, Peter Obi, former governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Donald Duke (Cross River), and the Deputy National Chairman of PDP (South), Taofeek Arapaja among other party officials.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting, which lasted for over two hours, Obasanjo said that even though he retired 14 years ago, he has remained committed to the welfare and wellbeing of Nigerians.
The former president had quit partisan politics many years ago when some leaders of PDP, led by Surajudeen Oladunjoye, the chairman of the ward around his former residence in Ita Eko, visited him at his Presidential Hilltop Mansion.
Obasanjo admitted that the PDP played an important role in his life, but he has since ceased to be a member of the party the day he directed his ward chairman to tear his membership card.
He said “I have been with the party right from inception. Whatever I do in my own life because I became president on the platform of PDP, the party will continue to be part of the history of my life, but having said that, the day that my ward decided to tear my PDP card was the day I ceased to be a member of the PDP, and that day I vowed that I will not be a member of any political party again, but remain a statesman in Nigeria, in West Africa, in Africa, and indeed in the world. I retired 14 years ago and I remain retired and I will remain retired by the grace of God.
“Bear it in mind, and I want to emphasize that, I’m no longer in partisan politics, and there is nothing that will bring me back to partisan politics, but I will always be interested in what is good for Nigeria, and anybody who wants to have my advice, I will distinctly give it in the best interest of Nigeria, and in the best interest of Africa,” Obasanjo said, adding, “But if I retired from partisan politics, if politics is about the welfare of the people, I must not retire from the welfare and wellbeing of the people, whether in my own community; in my own state; in my own country, anywhere in Africa, or indeed anywhere in the world. And that is why I have the type of responsibility that I now have in the Horn of Africa, which is not an easy responsibility, but it has to be done, but I will say that your (Ayu) own responsibility is not an easy one either, but it has to be done.”
Obasanjo told Ayu that, the responsibility of PDP and that of Nigeria rests on his shoulders, and he would continue to make himself available to counsel.
“Iyorchia, you have PDP’s load with Nigeria’s load, and it is only God that can help you to carry this load, which of course, I believe if God gives you a responsibility, he will also give you the wherewithal to be able to carry that responsibility,” Obasanjo said.
Speaking on Obasanjo’s retirement from politics, Ayu said, “Even though you (Obasanjo) retired from partisan politics, partisan politics will never retire from your blood, because you want the right things done and since you want the right things done, for life you will remain an emeritus member of the PDP.
“You cannot build a house and leave it to collapse. You throw a challenge to me that if I have been there from the beginning why have I not done anything, may be I was doing something, but it was not good enough, we will continue to contribute our own quota, we will continue to come to you. So, I want to plead with you, please, don’t be tired of us as we come knocking asking for your advice; asking for wisdom because the words of elders are the words of wisdom and there is no leader here in this country than President Olusegun Obasanjo.”