SaharaReporters has learned that former Senator Iyabo Obasanjo, the first daughter of President Olusegun Obasanjo, has refused to denounce or deny her authorship of a blistering letter in which she characterized her father, among other unflattering epithets, as a liar, hypocrite, manipulator and opportunist. A source close to Mr. Obasanjo told our correspondent that Ms. Obasanjo had so far defied pressures from friends and family to state that she was not the writer of the letter or that she did not share the views expressed in it.
SaharaReporters also discovered that Ms. Obasanjo, who currently resides in the State of Massachusetts, has refused to take phone calls from the press. Instead, she has only accepted calls from a select few people whose caller IDs she knows, according to a friend knowledgeable about her movement today.
The friend also disclosed that Ms. Obasanjo had virtually stopped taking calls on her cell phone, except from members of a small inner circle. Part of her plan was to thwart relatives and friends of her father who had been sent on a mission to convince her to dissociate herself from the content of the explosive letter in order to save her father’s image. Our source revealed that the former senator’s cell phone rang incessantly all day yesterday, but was hardly answered. Our correspondent ascertained that Ms. Obasanjo’s voice message box was full, making it impossible for callers to leave her any messages.
Since the letter was published yesterday, several blogs have claimed that Ms. Obasanjo had denied writing it, an assertion that SaharaReporters determined to be completely false.
Several sources at Vanguard newspaper told SaharaReporters that former President Obasanjo’s daughter spoke twice yesterday with editors of the paper and stood by her letter. One source added that the former senator also agreed to let the paper release a tape of her confirmation should the need arise.
Late yesterday, SaharaReporters contacted the Harvard University Advanced Leadership Initiative where Ms. Obasanjo is a fellow. Speaking to our reporter, John Kendzior, a director of the program, confirmed that Ms. Obasanjo was in Boston and enrolled in the program. He asked our correspondent to send an email to be forwarded to her for response. However, Ms. Obasanjo did not respond to an email we sent via the director. Nor did she respond to several text messages to her mobile phone.
The fallout between Mr. Obasanjo and his daughter is the latest in a long-running feud between the former president and several members of his immediate family. Several years ago, Gbenga, Mr. Obasanjo’s first son, made shocking claims in a divorce filing to the effect that his father slept with his estranged wife. The former president’s first wife, Oluremi Obasanjo, who is the mother of both Iyabo and Gbenga, also wrote a scathing tell-all memoir titled Bitter-Sweet: My Life With Obasanjo. In the book, Mrs. Obasanjo accused her former husband of physical and emotional assaults as well as philandering.
Former President Obasanjo has come under sharp attacks from aides of President Goodluck Jonathan after the former wrote an open letter accused Mr. Jonathan of deception, encouragement of corruption, and the undermining of Nigeria’s democracy.