Former President Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday met with former President Goodluck Jonathan at his Ibogun country home in Ifo area of Ogun State, and the two men held a closed door meeting which lasted almost two hours.
It is the first such meeting between the two men since Jonathan lost the 2015 election in a campaign that saw Obasanjo adopting a very critical tone against Jonathan.
Jonathan arrived in Ibogun in a private helicopter alongside a former Minister of Special Duties, Kabiru Turaki, as well as other close aides.
Afterwards, Obasanjo was full of praise for Jonathan, saying leaders have a lot to learn from the exemplary leadership style of himself and that of Jonathan. Gone were the virulent criticisms of Jonathan by Obasanjo who has repeatedly said that “Jonathan did not perform to the expectations of Nigerians.”
Yesterday, Obasanjo said, “I believe that not only Nigeria, West Africa and Africa and indeed the world will continue to tap into our experiences, our wisdom and I hope and pray that when the call is made to you, you will be more than ready to put your experience, the lessons you have learnt into the service of this country, for African and indeed for humanity in general.
“I have said to you (Jonathan) before and I will say again that there are plenty of opportunities out there, within the country, within West Africa, within African and indeed in the larger world where people will want you to make contributions.
“I believe that you (Jonathan) are resting now and when you have fully rested, you will be hearing from me because I have this opportunity to be around the world and I will mention your name in dispatch.
“Since you (Jonathan) left office, you hardly have time to sit down and relax like you have been able to do today and I hope, I sincerely hope and pray for more of such relaxed situation where we can reminiscence situations of the past that we have been through in this country and we can also look at what the future portends.
“When leaders come, they have little or no experience. When they have to go is when they have a lot of experience; where they have wisdom. For people like you and me who have the grace of God to bow out gracefully, if there is no more constitutional office, we have residual responsibilities to Nigeria.”
On the Nigerian nation, Obasanjo said the country was not created by error and “neither by chance.”
He said: “God has created it (Nigeria) to be and God did not make a mistake when he put all of us together and if he doesn’t want us to be together, no power in the world would have made us come together.”
He therefore, urged Nigerians, especially the leaders to continue to work together for the success of the country, saying, “Nigeria is a good country and we must never be tired of lifting the country up to the height that God has created it to be.”
Jonathan declined speaking to journalists, saying his visit to Obasanjo was private.
But Turaki on behalf of Jonathan appreciated Obasanjo for extending his hand of fellowship to him and for his consistent guidance.
He commended Obasanjo’s exemplary leadership, which he said Nigeria had enjoyed so far.