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Bidi Akande: Obasanjo, Northern Elites Rejected Buhari’s 2015 Presidential Bid

Lagos: In a fresh narrative of the intrigues that characterized the emergence of General Muhammadu Buhari as Nigeria’s President in 2015,the pioneer National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC),Chief Bisi Akande, has alleged moves by former President Olusegun Obasanjo, Northern elites and some aristocrats to ensure it did not happen.

Chief Akande, in his memoirs – My Participations – which was launched in Lagos on Thursday, says Obasanjo worked behind the scene to stop the then fledgling APC from picking Buhari as its standard bearer.

The former Osun State governor recalls that while the former president declined to join the APC, he confessed having “his sympathy for us.”

He says: “He said he had decided not to join any political party since he left the PDP.

“Behind the scene however, I understood he was pressurizing some of our leaders not to use Buhari as our candidate.

“It got to a point when Bola Tinubu had to confront him thus: ‘It is not fair sending me to Buhari.Buhari was a soldier and he was one of your junior officers in the Army. Why don’t you call Buhari and let him know how you feel about his intention to be President?

“I don’t know whether Obasanjo stopped at it.From the start, he did not want Buhari to be President.”

He also speaks about opposition to Buhari from some quarters in the North.

“It was apparent from the start that Buhari would be our choice for President.That was one of the bases for the merger.

“However, there were pressures from the elites, especially from the North, including royal fathers, piling pressure on us not to allow Buhari be our presidential candidate.

“A prominent aristocratic leader from the North stayed several nights in Osogbo,persuading Governor Aregbesola to prevail on us not to field Buhari. He threatened that if we did, there would be trouble in the North.”

Akande says they reviewed all the threats and decided to go through it with Buhari.

He adds: “Buhari had been losing elections before because he had no structure to harness his support and transform it into votes.
He says: “He said he had decided not to join any political party since he left the PDP.

“Behind the scene however, I understood he was pressurizing some of our leaders not to use Buhari as our candidate.

“It got to a point when Bola Tinubu had to confront him thus: ‘It is not fair sending me to Buhari.Buhari was a soldier and he was one of your junior officers in the Army. Why don’t you call Buhari and let him know how you feel about his intention to be President?

“I don’t know whether Obasanjo stopped at it.From the start, he did not want Buhari to be President.”

He also speaks about opposition to Buhari from some quarters in the North.

“It was apparent from the start that Buhari would be our choice for President.That was one of the bases for the merger.
“However, there were pressures from the elites, especially from the North, including royal fathers, piling pressure on us not to allow Buhari be our presidential candidate.

“A prominent aristocratic leader from the North stayed several nights in Osogbo,persuading Governor Aregbesola to prevail on us not to field Buhari. He threatened that if we did, there would be trouble in the North.”

Akande says they reviewed all the threats and decided to go through it with Buhari.

He adds: “Buhari had been losing elections before because he had no structure to harness his support and transform it into votes.

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