Former President Olusegun Obasanjo, on Saturday, declared that no amount of persuasion would make him rescind his decision to quit partisan politics.
The former president made this declaration while hosting members of the National Working Committee (NWC) of the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) who paid him a courtesy visit at his Abeokuta residence in the Ogun State capital on Saturday.
Led by the party’s national chairman, Dr. Iyorchia Ayu, Obasanjo maintained that he had left party politics for good, but he would continue to contribute his quota to the development of Nigeria as an elder statesman.
The former President stated this against the backdrop of various attempts by the founding members of the PDP to woo him back into politics.
The PDP team arrived the Pent House residence of Obasanjo, located within his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Oke Mosan, Abeokuta, at about 12:25pm and went into a closed-door meeting with the former President.
Those who came with Ayu included the PDP vice presidential candidate in 2019 election, Peter Obi, former Governors Sule Lamido (Jigawa), Olusegun Mimiko (Ondo), Liyel Imoke (Cross River) and Donald Duke (Cross River).
The deputy national chairman of PDP (South), Taofeek Arapaja and other party officials were also part of the entourage.
Speaking to journalists shortly after the meeting which lasted for over two hours, Obasanjo said he retired 14 years ago, but he remained committed to the welfare and wellbeing of the people.
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.
“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, PDP 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 PDP and that day I vowed that I will not be a member of any political party again, but I will 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 in mind and I want to emphasise 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 distinctingly give it in the best interest of Nigeria and in the best interest of Africa.
“But if I retired from partisan politics, if politics is welfare of the people, I must not retire from the welfare and well being of 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 rest on his shoulders and he would continue to make himself available counsel.
“Iyorchia, you have PDP load with Nigeria 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.
In his response, Ayu described Obasanjo administration as the golden era of PDP and Nigeria, lamenting that “Nigeria has now falls short of leadership that Nigeria deserves.”
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 thing done and since you want the right thing done, for life you will remain the 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 is the word of wisdom and there is no leader here in this country than president Olusegun Obasanjo.”