By Tunde Olowu.
As Nigerians prepare to vote in a Presidential elections which had been rescheduled to March 28, this year, a top member of the ruling party in the country ,Peoples Democratic Party, PDP,Chief Olusegun Obasanjo has relinguished his membership of the party.
Obasanjo who is a former Nigerian President, a former Chairman, Board of Trustees of PDP and seen as the man who helped incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan to power,on Monday to the glare of his admirers publicly tore his PDP membership card to shreds at a short ceremony witnessed by his ward chairman in Abeokuta, Ogun State.
According to reports, chief Obasanjo dumped PDP, declaring that he was no longer interested in the party.
Obasanjo’s tearing of his PDP membership card is being seen by Nigerians as the peak of public face-off between Obasanjo and the administration of the incumbent President Goodluck Jonathan and the PDP.
Obasanjo told journalists: “They said they want to expel me from PDP, although I have not been told but I have my ears on ground. We’ve been trying to run away from a man but he pleads we wait for him at the other side of the river. I have told you before that I became president on the platform of PDP, once I leave PDP I will not join any party.
“From today on, in the presence of all us and with your support, I am not going to be in any political party in Nigeria. I am no more a politician but a statesman both internally and externally. The issued that they want to expel me from the party for, once you people are with me what other people am I looking for,” the former president said.
The Independent National Electoral Commission,INEC, the body responsible for organizing elections in Nigeria had two weeks ago announced the shifting of Presidential and other elections from February 14 and 28 as a result of security reasons in the country described as unfavorable for holding the elections.
Consequently,Obasanjo accused incumbent President Jonathan who is also PDP’s Presidential flagbearer in the coming election as doing everything possible to remain in power, because of his fear that General Buhari, the Presidential flagbearer of the All Progressives Congress ,APC, will send him( Jonathan) to jail if he wins the election come March 28 ,this year.
But reacting, the Presidency said Obasanjo’s recent verbal attacks on the presidency, where he accused President Jonathan of being desperate to remain in power is not unconnected with his grand wish to be named as chairman of interim government should elections be shifted from the rescheduled March 28 and the need for an interim government arises.
Obasanjo is a founding member of the ruling party and the first democratically elected president of the PDP. He was elected twice (1999 and 2003) under the platform of the PDP as Nigeria’s President.
Meanwhile, the Ogon State Chapter of PDP has announced that it has expelled Chief Olusegun Obasanjo from the PDP for what it termed anti- party activities.