Worried that unresolved political feuds and petty elite bickering will continue to undermine Nigeria ’s political and economic progress, former Vice President Atiku Abubakar and his former boss, Olusegun Obasanjo resolved this week to work with other patriots and statesmen to address critical national challenges.
Giving an insight into some of the undercurrents that prompted the Atiku-Obasanjo reconciliatory meeting in Abeokuta on Monday, the Atiku Media Office said in a statement released in Abuja yesterday that national interest rather than personal political gains brought the two leaders together.
“The meeting was not about the 2011 presidential election as some people have misinterpreted it. The two leaders decided to bury the hatchet and focus their attention, redirect their energies and harness their collective experiences for the benefit of the country,” the statement said.
“It was not about the two of them. It is about the future of our beloved country. At a critical moment, such as this, in the life of a nation, great men and women must put aside political differences and work for the progress of the country. This is the context in which the Abeokuta meeting should be seen by all well-meaning Nigerians,” the statement added.
The Atiku Media Office cited the example of Nelson Mandela who spent 27 years in prison and went on to work as South African President with former foes without bitterness and in a spirit of forgiveness. It also cited U.S. President Barack Obama who has decided to work with those who fought him for the coveted position during the campaign.
“Republican Presidential Candidate John McCain sat down one-and-one in November in Chicago for a meeting with the man who defeated him in the U.S election, then President-elect Obama. They talked about how they could work together to solve America ’s economic and social problems. They realized that the country is bigger than both of them,” the statement said.
From the meeting, it was gathered that the two leaders have decided to forgive and forget. This should be encouraged. More so, Nigerians should heave a sigh of relief that a long-running political feud had finally been laid to rest. Politicians should learn from such rare show of the spirit of tolerance and forgiveness. Carrying animosity to the grave will never help the country.
The statement advised Nigerians not to see the Atiku-Obasanjo rapprochement as a sell-out by any of the parties. It called on them to encourage political leaders to demonstrate political maturity and sagacity in their dealings with one another.
“ Nigeria is bigger than all of us and true national leaders must be prepared to make personal sacrifices in the interest of the nation”, it concluded.
Atiku Media Office