As congratulatory messages poured in for President Muhammadu Buhari over his re-election, former President Olusegun Obasanjo has kept disquietingly mum.
Telephone calls made to Obasanjo’s Media Aide, Mr Kehinde Akinyemi, by the correspondent of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) were not picked while text messages sent to him for Obasanjo’s reaction were neither acknowledged nor replied.
NAN reports that Obasanjo slumped into ‘quiet mode’ since February 23, after voting in Abeokuta and advising winners in the election to show magnanimity in victory, saying losers should also accept defeat.
“In any competition, there will always be winners and losers. That is what anybody in any competition must be prepared for as a good sportsman. Whoever that wins should show magnanimity. If I lose, I will also bow down graciously. That is what any competition is all about.
“If your purpose of going for any competition is that you must win at all costs, then that is no longer a competition. I know INEC will make amends for the shortcomings ahead of the next elections.”
After failing to deliver his polling unit in Abeokuta to Atiku Abubakar, candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party that he staked so much upon, including risking God’s wrath, Obasanjo has not been seen in public.
He had hoped his endorsement would enable Atiku defeat Buhari.
He also tried to create a third force and a coalition of groups to dethrone Buhari, but none showed any promise until he embraced Atiku.
The Chairman of the Independent National Electoral Commission (INEC), Prof. Mahmood Yakubu, in the early hours of Wednesday declared Buhari winner of the Saturday’s presidential polls. He polled 15,191,847 votes to defeat Atiku, his closest rival who scored 11,262,978 votes.
Prominent and well-meaning Nigerians as well as international leaders have since been congratulating Buhari over his victory in the election, widely adjudged as peaceful and credible.
But former President Obasanjo, who believes he could swing election to any aspirant has noticeably kept off the public radar, holed in his expansive home on the hilltop in Abeokuta, the Ogun capital.
Obasanjo, was quite vocal in the build-up to the election and campaigned against Buhari’s re-election with a series of caustic and malicious letters.
Then in an amazing and absurd turn, he endorsed Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the PDP, whom he had once accused and condemned over corruption claims.
He had told Nigerians that God would not forgive him (Obasanjo) if he ever supported Atiku to be president.
But for all Obasanjo’s vitriol against Buhari, the presidency repeatedly asked Nigerians to ignore Obasanjo, saying Buhari’s performance in office would earn him re-election.
Posted by Juliet Ekwebelam