Nigeria: Buhari, Obasanjo Meet in Ethiopia

President Muhammadu Buhari.
29 January 2018

Addis Ababa — President Muhammadu Buhari and former president Olusegun Obasanjo yesterday met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the opening of the 30th Ordinary Session of the Assembly of Heads of State and Government of the African Union.

This was barely five days after Obasanjo issued a special statement entitled "The Way Out: A Clarion Call for Coalition for Nigeria Movement" in which he advised President Buhari against seeking re-election next year, citing his "poor performance" in office.

The former leader, in his statement, had, among other things, accused President Buhari of nepotism, poor economic management and gross dereliction of duty.

He, therefore, asked Buhari to honourably "dismount from the horse" and join the league of former Nigerian leaders whose "experience, influence, wisdom and outreach can be deployed on the side line for the good of the country."

In his statement, the ex-president also called for a movement he tagged "Coalition of Nigeria, which he offered to be part of, to wrest power from the current ruling class "to lift the Nigeria up."

Yesterday, Obasanjo arrived at the Nelson Mandela Hall of the African Union Commission Headquarters in Addis Ababa, the venue of the summit, about 10 minutes earlier than President Buhari.

A former Head of State of Nigeria, General Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), who arrived the venue later, beat Obasanjo to paying homage to Buhari.

No sooner had Abdulsalami returned to his seat, Obasanjo rose to exchange pleasantries, first with some African leaders at the summit, before he went to Buhari.

Obasanjo and President Buhari shook hands, laughed and talked for about two minutes.

The Ministers of Foreign Affairs, Justice, Interior and State for Aviation as well as the National Security Adviser Babagana Monguno, who accompanied the president to the summit, watched with admiration as Obasanjo gave Buhari a pat on the back.

The scene turned dramatic when General Abdulsalami later joined Obasanjo in posing for snapshots with President Buhari.

This attracted the attention of other African leaders in attendance as photographers and cameramen tried to outdo one another.

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