He hailed the party as being on course in enhancing democracy in the country.
He said, “As an opposition you are enhancing democracy, you are at home, you are welcome to being at home,” Chief Obasanjo told a high power delegation of the APC at a meeting at his Abeokuta residence, last night.
On the APC train were the party’s national chairman, Chief Bisi Akande, former military leader, General Muhammadu Buhari, APC national leader Asiwaju Bola Tinubu, Alhaji Kawu Baraje, Governors Ibikunle Amosun (Ogun), Rochas Okorocha (Imo), Abdulfatah Ahmed (Kwara), Rabiu Kwankwaso (Kano), Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers), Abiola Ajimobi (Oyo) and Murtala Nyako (Adamawa) as well as the interim national publicity secretary of the party, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, Senator Bukola Saraki, former Governor of Borno State, Alimodu Sheriff and Chief Bob Effiong.
However, Obasanjo advised his guests to play “politics without rancour, without bitterness, with decency, that has Nigeria at heart.”
He described himself as an ‘incurable optimist about Nigeria.’
“I am totally committed to Nigeria and nothing will divert me from that commitment,” he said.
He said he was honoured by the visit to “come and present your party and tell me the objectives. But let me start somewhere. I am a card carrying member of the PDP but the politics I play traverses Nigeria, Africa and world in that order. I am a democrat and one of the essential ingredients of democracy is opposition, a democracy that has no opposition built into it is not a democracy.
“In whichever party for whatever office that a person contested or aspired in Nigeria since 1999 such a person young or old man or woman can claim to be my political child and I can claim to be by virtue of political office I have held I can also claim to be political father.”
Chief Akande who led the visiting team said they were in Abeokuta to introduce APC, its leaders and governors among others to Obasanjo.
Akande also said the party was in support of the 18 – page open letter the former president recently wrote to President Goodluck Jonathan, adding that he (Obasanjo) acted in the best interest of the country.
Also speaking, Tinubu told their host: “You have come out of tribulation and held the highest position in this country. We are here because of your courage .Nobody can claim that he has information more than you. You have surmounted a number of crises.
“Nigeria is divided (now), more than before, to realise a stable Nigeria we want to encourage you to continue to speak the truth. We’re resolved and determined to rescue Nigeria, we want you as navigator.”
Governor Okorocha who spoke for the Progressives Governors said many of them passed through him politically and that the task to rescue Nigeria from its challenges is not only for the benefit of upcoming generations but also a task that must be accomplished.
The APC delegation started arriving Obasanjo’s mansion on Segun Osoba Hill – Top at about 5.23pm when a convoy of three jeeps carrying Chief Femi Fani – Kayode and former anti – graft Czar, Mr. Nuhu Ribadu, came in.
They were followed at 5:50pm by a convoy of over a dozen vehicles including buses. In the convoy were most of the governors, Chief Akande and Asiwaju Tinubu.
General Mohammadu Buhari, followed six minutes later.
Governor Rotimi Amaechi (Rivers) drove in at 5.59 with ex-FCT minister, Mallam Nasir El – Rufai on the passenger seat with Governors Ajimobi and Amosun trailing them
The APC leaders had arrived Abeokuta at around noon and met with Governor Amosun, at the Government House, Isale – Igbein, Abeokuta, strategising before proceeding to see Chief Obasanjo who had earlier in the day flown to Akure to commiserate with the chiefs and people of the town on the recent passing away of the Deji of Akure, Oba Adeniyi Adesida.
Chief Obasanjo and the APC delegation emerged from their meeting at 7pm for a photo session with newsmen.
The meeting ended at about 8pm with Asiwaju Tinubu telling reporters that the APC visit was not to woo Obasanjo but one borne out of “patriotism, dedication and commitment to Nigeria.”
Tinubu said: “It is to be able to set Nigeria on the right path and for all men of goodwill to come together to rescue Nigeria. It is not a matter of wooing (him), an elder statesman.
“Yes, he is a very unique person in his own way based upon the experience of life, tribulations one way or the other, he saw power, tribulations and then back to power. If you want to grasp the life of this man from zero to grace, zero again and then to grace. And then you will see what you get in such a person.
“And you will need that wisdom not necessarily to join our partisan politics, but just to draw from the experience of an elder statesman.”