President Goodluck Jonathan on Wednesday joined a host of former Nigerian leaders in Sokoto, capital of Sokoto state, to felicitate with Shehu Shagari, a former president who turned 90. Also in attendance were Ibrahim Babangida, former military president; Earnest Shonekan, former head of the interim national government; and erstwhile heads of state Yakubu Gowon and Abdulsalami Abubakar. Shagari and his guests cutting the birthday cake It was the first time since the national council of state meeting of February 5 that the former and current leaders were coming together.
Muhammadu Buhari, another ex-head of state and presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress (APC), was missing, but he already released a statement on Tuesday to thank the nonagenarian for still showing him “civility and courtesy” despite ousting his government in 1983. As against the meeting of the council of state, Ex-president Olusegun Obasanjo was in Sokoto with the leaders, notwithstanding his feud with Jonathan, which reached a head nine days ago. Obasanjo and Shagari on Wednesday On February 16, Obasanjo, learning of the plot of the Ogun state chapter of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) to expel him, publicly renounced the party, directing Sunmonu Oladunjoye, chairman of his ward in the party, to tear his membership card to shreds. That was two days after he accused Jonathan of desperation to win next month’s presidential election by “hook or crook” or set up an interim national government. Jonathan, though, has largely restrained himself from being drawn into a war of words with the former chairman of the PDP Board of Trustees, but he granted an interview last week where he said that although Obasanjo remained his political father, he should endeavour to “watch his utterances”.