The two patriots — and foes — met at last in Owerri.
It was neither at the Council of State meeting nor the home of any of them.
The first face-to-face meeting of the duo since Bola Ahmed Tinubu took office on May 29, 2023, was hosted by Governor Hope Uzodimma.
They were his guests at the governor’s second-term inauguration.
The two knew that they would meet. The organisers knew they would also be on the “top table.” They made a sitting arrangement that put Senate President Godswill Akpabio in between them.
Eyes were on the two August visitors, who always have an axe to grind over nothing but Nigeria.
Protocol was strictly adhered to.
Both were decked in white. President Bola Tinubu was resplendent in buba, with a red Igbo cap to match; former President Olusegun Obasanjo was decked in agbada, with a blue cap.
Tinubu beamed the hilarious smiles of a city boy as he stretched his right hand to OBJ, as the former president is fondly called. The General, a master of protocol, stretched out his two hands to the President and Commander-in-Chief, beaming hard smiles.
The two adversaries looked at each other in the face.
What was going on in their minds?
It appeared Tinubu was saying to Obasanjo: “Baba, this is me, the ex-governor you tried to stop from getting a second term; the man you fought in his first term by seizing his state’s local government funds.”
Obasanjo did more than that. His administration stopped the independent power project. In his book, ‘My Watch,’ Obasanjo also made unprintable statements about the former Lagos governor.
Obasanjo’s residual goal in life was to stop, if he could, Tinubu from getting to the presidency. He was never a fan of Asiwaju. During last year’s poll, the former president exercised his right to reject the All Progressives Congress (APC) standard bearer.
It was one moment of reality. Obasanjo embraced that reality in Owerri that despite his perception about BAT, he triumphed at the poll by the grace of democratic majority growth.
The Ota farmer smiled and muttered perhaps what only he could truly decode. OBJ, with both hands, grabbed Tinubu’s hand, with his accustomed wry smile. Who can decipher the thoughts of man, except his creator?
Obasanjo has his views about Tinubu. Those opinions may not have changed. It seemed the ex-president had much to say, but could not utter the peculiar words of contempt.
He may have muttered in his mind: “This idan boy, at last, despite all odds, made it to power at the centre.”
In another twist to the tale, OBJ suddenly stood while Tinubu was still reading his speech during the ceremony at the Dan Anyiam Stadium, and took his exit from the event.