Yesterday’s meeting between Obasanjo and Jonathan was described as a hide and seek game, though the meeting later took place around 7.30 p.m. The meeting, which was expected to hold earlier did not take place due to some reasons which was not open to the press at the time.
The crowd who has gathered to welcome the president were surprised to learn that Obasanjo left in his black SUV with an aide through a private gate as soon as the helicopter carrying Jonathan touched the ground.
But as it eventually turned out, the meeting later took place with the General Overseer of Redeem Christian Church of God, pastor E. Adeboye and the Founder, Winners Chapel, Bishop David Oyedepo, present at the meeting. It was later confirmed that the presence of the religious leaders were part of the conditions the former president gave to hold any talks with president Jonathan.
The media was awash with expectation and anxiety over what the outcome of the two leaders’ meeting would be. Obasanjo, recently came down hard on Jonathan accusing his administration of squandering $55 billion crude oil savings and reserves. Jonathan had in turn promised to expose what former leaders and heads of state failed to do while in office that stunted the country’s socio-economic growth. He later added that some leaders were behaving like motor park touts, a comment that was perceived to be aimed at Obasanjo.
However, Obasanjo attended President Jonathan’s niece’s wedding in Abuja, weekend, and was well received as he had warm handshakes with President Jonathan and his wife, Dame Patience Jonathan.
Thus, it was not surprising that the speculated Abeokuta meeting raised hairs. At press time, yesterday, there were different reasons the meeting could not hold during the day. One account said the meeting could not be held in the afternoon because President Jonathan snubbed Obasanjo. Another account said the former president avoided the president by leaving his house where the meeting would have been held on hearing that Jonathan had arrived in Abeokuta
As for the stated Hide and Seek game, it really played out because it was more or less dramatic at the initial stage.
Indeed, the former President left his palatial Hilltop building in Abeokuta, immediately Jonathan arrived the state capital.
Obasanjo who was driven out in his black SUV and one security Hilux van, shunned his main entrance and made use of his private gate.
A source close to Obasanjo’s Hilltop mansion in Abeokuta had earlier confided in Vanguard that President Jonathan was not in Obasanjo’s itinerary for the day.
He also hinted that Obasanjo jetted out around 2: 59 p.m few minutes after the helicopter that flew the President to the state, touched down.
Operatives of the Department of State Service (DSS) who had earlier besieged Obasanjo’s Hilltop mansion as early as 6a.m in anticipation of President Jonathan’s arrival also left the place at exactly 3.10p.m when it became obvious that Jonathan was not coming.
Jonathan, however, arrived at the M.K.O Stadium in Abeokuta at exactly 3.50p.m and headed straight to the state box from where he later moved out to acknowledge cheers from the crowd who had thronged the stadium venue of the campaign as early as 7. 30a.m.
Asked why President Jonathan ‘dodged’ Obasanjo and refused to visit him despite being in Abeokua, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Public Affairs, Dr Doyin Okupe, said: “Dodge Obasanjo? How? The president just left the stadium now and he is in the presidential lodge in Abeokuta, resting.”