Former civilian president of Nigeria, Shehu Shagari turned 90 yesterday, February 25, and held a party to mark his 90th birthday milestone in Sokoto State, the northern caliphate. Shagari was born February 25, 1925 and he served as President of Nigeria’s Second Republic from 1979 -1983. President Goodluck Jonathan attended the ceremony along with former Presidents and Heads of State.
But the highlight of the occasion was that the sour relationship between the former President Olusegun Obasanjo and President Goodluck Jonathan was laid bare yesterday during the celebration in Sokoto.
It was the first time they would meet in the same place since former President Olusegun Obasanjo publicly tore his PDP membership card.
It was reported that Obasanjo arrived when President Goodluck Jonathan was inside Shehu Shagari’s house but refused to come out of his vehicle until Goodluck Jonathan had finished and left.
He repeated made funny gestures with his tongue while inside the car, all to the amusement of all those standing around thereby making it obvious he was avoiding a face to face meeting with Mr. President.
Obasanjo and Jonathan have been at loggerheads following the former’s constant attacks on the Jonathan government. Jonathan, though, has largely reserved himself from being drawn into a war of words with the ex-president, but he given an interview last week where he said that although Obasanjo stayed his Godfather, he should labor to “watch his utterances”.
Also present at the event were the former Head of the interim government, Ernest Shonekon, as well as former Heads of State such as, Generals Yakubu Gowon, Ibrahim Badamasi Babangida and Abdulsalami Abubakar. All living past Nigerian Presidents and Heads of State were present at the celebration apart from the All Progressives Congress (APC) presidential candidate, General Muhammadu Buhari (rtd).
During Jonathan’s visit to Ogun State last week to commission a power plant, it was alleged that Obasanjo had gone as far as hurriedly flying out of the country just to avoid the current president.