Update: Nigeria needs vibrant opposition party to thrive, Obasanjo insists


Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has again reiterated that good governance and democracy would only thrive in Nigeria when there is a solid ruling party in government with a vibrant opposition party in place.
Obasanjo said this, on Tuesday, while fielding questions from journalists, shortly after meeting with the national caretaker chairman of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), Senator Ahmed Makarfi, at the Green Legacy Resort and Hotel, Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL), Abeokuta.
Makarfi, accompanied by the caretaker chairman of the party in Osun State, Sarafa Tunji Ishola, national caretaker vice chairman, Southwest, Eddy Olafeso and other top party members, had arrived at the venue of the meeting around 9.30a.m and headed straight into a closed door meeting with the former president.
Obasanjo, who maintained that no government or party in power would get away with impunity if there was strong opposition party in the country, added democracy would equally wax stronger under such condition.
He said, “I have said that publicly before and I will say that again. For our democracy to thrive and to continue to be strong, we need strong party in government and strong party in opposition. It has to be that way, otherwise the party in government will get away with impunity and that is not good for democracy.
Asked what was discussed at the meeting which lasted for about two hours, the former president simply told journalists that Makarfi was in Abeokuta just to greet him as a former colleague.
“So, chairman has come to greet me and I greet am. So, now that we have greeted ourselves, chairman will be going. You, gentlemen and ladies of the press can now go and leave the chairman alone”, Obasanjo said in pidgin English.
He, however, maintained that though he had bade farewell to partisan politics, he will always show concerns and identify with anything that is good for the country saying “Nigeria is my passion until death do us part”.
“Before, I was in PDP but not now. God forbid, when a dog vomits, it goes back to eat its vomit. No, I’ve said no partisan politics for me again and no partisan politics for me again.
“But Nigeria is my passion until death do us part. And anything that concerns Nigeria, the good of Nigeria, you’d see my involvement.
Meanwhile, the factional chairman of PDP in Ogun State, Bayo Dayo, has described as untrue, the claim that party members had converged on the party state secretariat, to protest against the visit of Makarfi.
Dayo, who later addressed newsmen at the party secretariat, said contrary to false claims being circulated on the social media on the purported attack on Sen, Makarfi and his entourage, the party members had only gathered to give a rousing welcome to the national caretaker chairman of the party.
He, therefore, blamed a former governor in the state, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, for being the brain behind the rumour, which Dayo termed as “wicked and unfounded”.
“Only yesterday night, we heard that out national caretaker chairman is coming to Ogun State. We quickly sent messages across the 20 local government areas, telling them to join us in welcoming the great leader from Abuja.
“Because we learnt that in his itinerary, he’s going to visit our Baba Obasanjo and our office here is a stone’s throw to Baba’s house. If somebody is going to Baba’s house, we will see him. So, we assembled party men so that we can welcome the national leader and tell him our grievances about what is going on with the Ogun State executive.
“But unfortunately, we did not have the opportunity to see him and all the party members did not have the opportunity of welcoming him to Ogun State,” Dayo submitted.