Speaking on the 2019 election in a recent with Dele Momodu, publisher of Ovation Magazine, Jonathan warned that any politician who ignores Obasanjo does so at his peril.
According to the immediate past president, if former Vice-President Atiku Abubakar must realize his presidential ambition, he has to find a way of courting his former boss.
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Jonathan maintained that it would be impossible for Atiku to realize his 2019 presidential ambition on the platform of the All Progressives Congress (APC) but would have brighter chances if he contested on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). PDP, but with Obasanjo’s endorsement.
While stressing that Atiku must do everything to get Obasanjo’s endorsement, who, he said, had the magic wand and remained respected home and abroad, Jonathan was quoted as saying:
“He (Atiku) can’t get the APC ticket. If Atiku gets our party (PDP) ticket, he would compete well.
“He’s always a passionate politician. But he would have to reach out to our boss, Baba OBJ, the boss of all bosses.
“We’ve all learnt at different times that you ignore OBJ at your own peril. OBJ has the magic wand, respected at home and abroad.”
Atiku, who served as Vice-President during Obasanjo’s eight years administration, fell out with his former boss towards the end of the administration. The rift was believed to have stemmed from Atiku’s antagonism to Obasanjo’s alleged third-term bid.
It will be recalled that Obasanjo played a major role in Jonathan’s political career by influencing his choice as the running mate of late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua.
But after Yar’Adua’s death, Jonathan fell out with Obasanjo in 2013 when he was president. Obasanjo wrote an open letter to him and the situation got worse when the elder statesman refused to endorse Jonathan’s re-election.
He was critical of Jonathan during the electioneering period, accusing him of plotting to win the election by hook or crook. But Jonathan fired back by making a veiled reference to Obasanjo. He said some elders were behaving like motor park touts.
However, both men reconciled in January when Jonathan paid a surprise visit to Ibogun, the hometown of Obasanjo.
Recently, Atiku had said if given the chance to lead the country, he would fight corruption even better than President Muhammadu Buhari, who enjoys public opinion as a man of integrity and hater of corruption.
While criticizing those he said were regurgitating corruption allegations against him, without bringing any proof forward, Atiku said:
“It is sickening to continue to regurgitate allegations of corruption against me by people who have failed to come forward with a single shred of evidence of my misconduct while in office.
“Despite previous desperate efforts to link me with corruption, the William Jefferson trial in the United States ended in 2009 without indicting me or linking me to corrupt activities.”