The penultimate governor of Osun State, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola has narrated how President Muhammadu Buhari as a presidential contender in 2015 begged Dr. Olusegun Obasanjo for endorsement ahead of the election. Oyinlola said that Buhari begged Obasanjo in 2015 in the presence of several living witnesses.
Oyinlola in a lengthy interview disclosed that Obasanjo was initially not disposed towards Buhari but was swayed by the pressure brought on him by some prominent leaders of the All Progressives Congress, APC.
Oyinlola told Saturday Punch that among those who were present when Buhari begged Obasanjo for support were Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Senator Bukola Saraki, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, Alhaji Kashim Ibrahim-Imam among many others.
“The last person to accept Buhari’s candidature was Obasanjo and I say that one with every emphasis because I was involved. Yes, Baba (Obasanjo) had fallen out with Jonathan. His projection then was ‘any option but Jonathan’. That was his stand.
“Taking a look at those candidates from other parties, there was no other person we felt could handle the delicate governance of Nigeria better than Buhari among the contenders that time. That was why the choice of Buhari became the order.
“That, coupled with the fact that he had been at the helm of affairs in the country before under the military, so he has that edge over all others. But Baba (Obasanjo) was the last to subscribe to the idea. I can tell you that it took a team of Saraki, Amosun, Bola Tinubu, Kashim, Imam and myself, that went and bombarded Baba (Obasanjo) at Ota around 7am before he succumbed to our pressure.
“That day, he said Buhari that he knew would try in the area of military matters, but outside that, Buhari knows next to nothing; not economy, not foreign affairs and he has been proven right.”
He listed those who were present on the day that Buhari begged for support to include Tinubu, Amosun, Saraki, Prof Yemi Osinbajo, Chief John Odigie-Oyegun, Senator Olurunnimbe Mamora, Chief Bisi Akande among others.
Rephrasing Buhari’s words at that time, on how Buhari begged Obasanjo in 2015, Oyinlola said:
“Your Excellency, under whom I served the most lucrative appointment of the Minister of Petroleum Resources for three and a quarter years before he sent me on course.
“When I set about the programme of going round the states, (campaigning) somebody had the temerity to ask me that when I come to Ogun State, shall I call on Chief Olusegun Obasanjo?
“I don’t think I answered the man, I just looked the other way. I think that I should not come here (Abeokuta) in whatever capacity without calling to pay my respect.
“Sir, it’s a fact that you know more than all we know about the problem that we are in. But what we will do is to convince you to believe us that we are going to do better.
“We expect your understanding and support, although you insist in remaining in PDP. I have reached a certain degree of frustration in my attempt for you to try to shift a bit but you have refused.”
Obasanjo was to subsequently endorse Buhari and also publicly tore his PDP membership card.