• Sunday, July 14, 2024
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Obj hatched ouster of Akande, others from power – Buhari


President Muhammadu Buhari has accused former President Olusegun Obasanjo of being the mastermind behind the ouster of former governor of Osun State, Bisi Akande, along with his other colleagues in the defunct Alliance for Democracy (AD) from power in 2003.

The President also noted that Nigeria can only be successfully managed by an alliance between major groups in the country.

Buhari, who was in Lagos on Thursday as a special guest at a public presentation of a book – “My Participations’, an autobiography of Bisi Akande, described the 2003 political manoeuvring that terminated the governorship career of Akande as “diabolical double-cross” that only Bola Tinubu, a former governor of Lagos State and current national leader of the ruling All Progressives Party (APC), escaped.

Buhari also took time off in Lagos to inaugurate a locally-built Seaward Defence Boat (SDB) 111. The vessel built by the Nigerian Naval Ship (NNS) Oji, is the third of the series by the Nigerian Navy.

Buhari stated that the new induction to the naval fleet would increase the Nigerian Navy’s capacity in securing the nation’s maritime domain, urging the personnel to make good use of the platforms as well as maintain professionalism.

“It is common knowledge that Akande was a victim along with other AD governors of a diabolical double-cross which ended his gubernatorial career. Only the steadfast Asiwaju Bola Tinubu escaped the electoral massacre masterminded by President Obasanjo.

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“Desperately disappointed though he was, and being a good Muslim, accepted this setback as part of the trials of life. He (Akande) looked to the future of service to the country,” the President said.

He further described the former Osun State governor and interim national chairman of the APC as a perfect public officer, and the type of person he could go into the jungle with.

The President, who pointedly said Akande had retained his inflexible integrity, in and out of public office, and never accepting or offering bribes, also narrated his first meeting with the author, his passion for Nigeria, achievements, as well as his many battles to wrest power from the then ruling party, the People’s Democratic Party (PDP).

According to Buhari, he first met Akande in 2006, when preliminary consultations were coming to fruition for a grand coalition to unseat the PDP government, but notwithstanding the efforts not becoming realisable then, neither the former governor nor himself or many of their friends and associates gave up.

Reminiscing on APC’s ascent to governance at the federal level in 2015, President Buhari, noted that Akande was again in the thick of further attempts in 2011 and 2014 to fuse together different groups and dislodge PDP from governance, saying the key to his thinking which coincided with “mine is that Nigeria can only be successfully managed by alliances between major groups.”

“Although we failed in 2011 but by persistence and knowledge that PDP was driving the country towards disaster, several major parties were able to finally coalesce into APC in 2014.

Buhari recommended the book to students of Nigerian politics and the general public, describing it as a historical document, which students would find an invaluable source of Nigeria’s politics, notably between 1999 and 2020.

Also speaking at the event, Bola Tinubu said Akande has made selfless public and private contributions to stabilising Nigeria and commended the former interim APC chairman for writing the book.

“Baba Akande represents what a public figure in Nigeria ought to be. He is what many should aspire to be. From humble beginnings, Baba Akande rose through hard work, intellect, courage, perseverance, sacrifice, dedication and what he called ‘self-tuition’.

“Baba did not walk the easy road. He earned things the hard and principled way. Nothing deterred him. Though easy-going, he was always strong of character. Without seeing the four walls of a university, Chief Akande tutored himself so well that by age 22, he had become a qualified accountant,” Tinubu said.

On his part, Governor Sanwo-Olu, who welcomed President Buhari to Lagos, said Akande stands for peace, fairness, equity, unity, integrity, and generosity, adding that his legacies in the APC would forever be a benchmark.

“This memoir, which commands respect, is timely. It is deeply rooted in political history and a commitment to democracy and participatory governance. It would be of immense benefit to students,” Sanwo-Olu said.

In his address, the author, Akande, who was elated by the dignitaries present at the event, said, “In the olden days I would burst into tears, but today I am very happy.

“I am only uncomfortable that each time our President comes here, he is always in a hurry. He is our President, we love him, he is one of us, we always want him to relax, come and stay with us, have dinner with us, let our children eat with him, touch his clothes, and let him know that we love him.

“But his handlers never recognised that he is no longer growing younger, they think he is still a soldier, they match him everywhere,” Akande stated.

Other personalities in attendance at the occasion were: Ahmad Lawan, Senate President; Mala Buni, governor of Yobe State; Dapo Abiodun, governor of Ogun State; Abdullaii Ganduje, governor of Kano State; represented by his deputy, Gawuna; Abdulraham Abdulrasak, governor of Kwara State, and Mudashiru Obasa, speaker, Lagos House of Assembly.

Also in attendance were Gbenga Daniel, former Ogun State governor; Ogbeni Rauf Aregbesola, minister of interior, represented by his son; Ooni of Ife, Enitan Ogunwusi and several others.