<![CDATA[Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Saturday met with leaders of the Yoruba socio-cultural group, Afenifere, and other political leaders in the South West on the way forward for Nigeria.
The meeting is also about sustaining the unity in Nigeria, a source said.
The meeting which held behind-closed-doors at the Lekki residence of the Afenifere leader, Chief Ayo Adebanjo, lasted for almost two hours.
Those at the meeting included a former governor of Ogun, and the Director-General of Atiku Campaign Organisation, Chief Otunba Gbenga Daniels; a former governor of Ondo, Dr. Olusegun Mimiko, Chairman, African Newspapers of Nigeria (ANN) PLC, Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo Dosunmu, and Chief Kenny Martins.
Others included Sen. Femi Okunrounmu, Chief Oyewole Fashawe, Mr. Akin Oshuntokun and Dr. Tokunbo Awolowo-Dosunmu.
Also at the meeting were Prof. Banji Akintoye, Dr Amos Akingba as well Afenifere Secretary, Mr Yinka Odumakin.
Obasanjo, clad in a navy blue Agbada, however declined to speak with newsmen after the meeting.
But the Afenifere leader, Adebanjo told newsmen that the meeting was about strengthening unity in Yoruba land ahead of the 2019 general elections and beyond.
He said that there was the need for elders and leaders in the region to cast their differences aside and stand as one to chart a new course for the country.
“The meeting was nothing more than the fact that Nigeria must move forward.
“What is important is that we have our common goal. We are not endorsing candidates yet. We must agree and be united first, and that is what we are trying to achieve.
“If you are not united, you cannot achieve anything. And that primarily was the essence of the meeting,” he said.
Adebanjo said the leaders at the meeting had fruitful discussions on the way forward for the Yorubas and the country, describing the meeting as an achievement.
Also speaking, Pastor Tunde Bakare, the Convener of Save Nigeria Group, said that the meeting was about the way forward for the country at these critical times.
He explained that he and others met on fashioning the way forward for the country.
Bakare said that since it was a closed-door meeting, he would not provide details.
Asked if it was not strange sitting with Obasanjo whom he had always criticised, he said his criticisms of Obasanjo was not borne out of animosity but how to do things right.
He added that his faulting Obasanjo in and out of office did not mean he was his enemy but a call for collective reasoning for the interest of the nation.
“Being a critic is not an enemy of the state or the nation. The thinker is the enemy of the mob. If you say I have been a critic of Obasanjo, look at him now being a critic of Buhari too. Yet, he facilitated his coming.
“Critique is not the same thing as criticism; it is let us reason together, things are not going the right way,” he said.
On his part, Odumakin said that the meeting was friendly and that there was so much conviviality.
He added that everybody present played an active part in the deliberations.