by Akan Ido

Former president Olusegun Obasanjo has described the governor of Imo State, Rochas Okorocha as a political failure.

Obasanjo said this in Abeokuta yesterday at the grand finale of a civic reception organized in his honour by the South West Zone of the PDP.

Governor Okorocha had earlier jokingly referred to the former president as a “colleague” while recalling his days as special adviser on Inter-Party Affairs to Obasanjo.

He said most of the good decisions made by the Obasanjo administration stemmed from the good advise he gave while the ex-president was in office.

Okorocha said, “Obasanjo is indeed PDP. But in the actual sense, he’s a national leader. He does not belong to the PDP alone but a national leader of Nigeria. If I have another opportunity to advise him, I will tell him to be the national leader of the country and not the national leader of the party.

“We are here to give honour to whom honour is due. Obasanjo will remain immovable and unshakable. He is a man that is very difficult to describe. He represents different things to different people. But for me, he represents a former colleague. We both ran for the office of the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. And later when he appointed me as his adviser, I gave him all the good advice.

“All the good things he did for those eight years, I advised him but all the bad ones he did, I travelled out of the country. I want to join Nigerians to celebrate this icon — this great and steadfast Nigerian, who is not afraid of fighting any battle. But when he starts fighting he doesn’t stop until he finishes fighting. He’s a general’s general and a soldier’s soldier.”

In Obasanjo’s defense, governor Godswill Akpabio of Akwa Ibom state, who also addressed the gathering said, “I was not as lucky as Governor Okorocha to work with him Obasanjo. So I did not give him advice. I’m very sure that even the few things that he did were actually taken out of the bad advice of APGA where Rochas Okorocha must have represented. Baba, I say the good ones are from you, not from him (Okorocha).”

Obasanjo also fired back at the Imo governor wondering aloud how he can be described as a colleague to a “failure”.

He said, “I met Okorocha long ago by virtue of the fact that he was brought up in Jos — one of the few cities that I found in the fifties and seventies as a genuine melting pot in Nigeria.  He is a true Nigerian and when he wants to pull me down, he will say we are colleagues. How can I be a colleague of a failure? You are a failure in contesting the presidency of Nigeria!”

Vice-president Namadi Sambo who was also at the ceremony used the occasion to speak about the achievements of the Jonathan administration, while the party chairman, Bamanga Tukur assured the people that the party will come out stronger and better from its present crisis, likening it to a surgical operation to get the party over its current unhealthy state.