Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has asked the national leadership of the Peoples Democratic Party to consider the pedigree of those aspiring to lead the country in 2023 before picking its presidential candidate.
Obasanjo, who hosted the members of the National Working Committee of the party at the Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library on Thursday, said the party should also look at the way the president of the United States of America emerges from the two dominant political parties.
The former chairman of the Board of Trustees of the party, was visited by the members of the party’s National Working Committee led by its Chairman, Prince Uche Secondus.
On February 16, 2015 and in a dramatic turn of events, Obasanjo ended his 17-year relationship with the party by publicly tearing his PDP membership card, but refused to join any other political party.
In July, he insisted that he was done with politics, denying claims that he was planning to float a new political party.
A reliable source, who was part of the Thursday meeting , said the PDP leaders told the former President not to “siddon look” during this critical time.”
The PDP source said, “We went to him and told him not to ‘siddon look’ as things are getting worse in the country. We also reminded him that the PDP gave him the platform that made him the president and also served as its chairman of BoT. Therefore, we asked him not to be unbothered about happenings in the party and the polity.”
Though the former president was said to have reiterated his earlier position of no interest in belonging to any political party for now, he was also said to have counselled his guests on the need to settle their rifts and focus on the task of producing a nationally-accepted presidential candidate in 2023.
The source told Saturday PUNCH that Obasanjo expressed gratitude for the PDP chieftains’ visit, adding that they needed to think about how to face the future as a party and concerned Nigerians.
“Obasanjo said we should go and study how presidents emerge in America. He said leaders emerge through processes and that those leaders must have seen, learnt, practised, and taken part in leadership processes. He said in the US, the people followed a particular pattern.
“He said we should not pick anyone just because such a person has money. He also said in America, they follow a particular pattern. He said the presidential candidate in the US emerges either from the Congress, from the Board of Governors, or he is an established businessman.
“He also told us about the way the prime minister of the United Kingdom is elected. In all, he said someone who knows the country, the system, is knowledgeable in foreign affairs, economy and security, among others, should be allowed to lead the nation,” the source said.
It was also gathered that Obasanjo expressed his worry about the way the country had been busy accruing debts by borrowing money all over the world.
The former president was said to have informed his guests that, while he was in office, governors always informed him about how much they had been able to attract as foreign direct investments into their states.”