By Victor Ebimomi:
Ex-military President, Ibrahim Babangida, is eyeing the Presidency come 2011 but is going about the ambition discreetly, trying to get the nod of those who might likely serve as his albatross in the ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) on which platform he intends to realise the dream.
And, apparently, one of such persons is former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Chairman of Board of Trustees (BOT) of the PDP.
He (Babangida) used the 54th birthday lecture of Ogun State Governor, Gbenga Daniel, which he chaired on Thursday in Abeokuta as a decoy to visit Obasanjo and solicit his support.
It was gathered that his first port of call after he left the Murtala Muhammed Airport, Ikeja, Lagos, was Obasanjo’s abode in Abeokuta, where both men had intimate discussion.
Though it was a ‘secret’ meeting between the two former leaders, reliable sources said that Babangida poured out his mind to his former military boss and friend about his plan to contest the 2011 presidential election and urged Obasanjo to support him.
He was said to have opened up to his host that though he had been disappointed twice by him on the same issue, he hopes that this time around the story will be different.
“(Babangida) complained that for two times he had been stabbed in the back by (Obasanjo) and he hopes that he will support him this time,” said a source privy to the outcome of the discussion.
Obasanjo was, however, said to be indifferent to Babangida’s plea, as he neither gave his word on whether to support him or not.
Babangida, who ruled Nigeria between August 27, 1985 and August 26, 1993 as military ruler, has been looking for an avenue to come back to power in civilian garb but many Nigerians resent it based on his annulment of the June 12, 1993 presidential election, adjudged to be the freest and fairest in Nigeria’s political history.
The winner of that election, the late MKO Abiola, later died in the struggle to reclaim the mandate.
Abiola was from Ogun State.
In 2007, Babangida obtained nomination form to contest on the platform of the PDP but withdrew at the last minute for what he called personal reasons.
On his way from Abeokuta on Thursday, he however added vent to what many political pundits have suspected for too long that he was yet to abandon the struggle to rule the country once more and that his visit to Abiola’s home state was more than a social function.
When asked about his interest in the 2011 presidential election, he stated that he was already doing wide consultation on the issue, adding that he would make his intention public when he takes a final decision.
“I am still doing consultations and honestly I will give you the feedback very soon,” he said.
Babangida, who said he was an apostle of true federalism however stated that if he was pressured to contest, he would gladly grab the offer since Nigeria is his fatherland.
“Though there is no such thing as absolute, but if Nigerians are convinced that I have a contribution to make, surely this is the only contribution I have. I have to do it,” he stated.
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