The saying, “there are no permanent enemies in politics, only permanent interests” aptly captures former President Olusegun Obasanjo’s surprise appearance, Saturday, at the church wedding of President Goodluck Jonathan’s niece, Inebharapu.
Ine was joined in holy matrimony to Simeon Onyemaechi at a well-attended service held at the National Christian Centre, Abuja.
Obasanjo’s appearance was unexpected following his recent public spat with President Jonathan.
It would be recalled that the former president had on Monday said Nigeria was facing economic problems due to the failure of the present administration to plan for a rainy day.
He told eminent women leaders from the South-West, who visited him at his Hilltop residence in Abeokuta, Ogun State that the nation’s reserves, which as of 2007 stood at $67bn had been depleted to around half that figure by the Jonathan-led government.
The president fired back, although indirectly, when he described some statesmen as ordinary “Motor Park touts”.
Speaking when he received the executive and members of the Board of Trustees, BoT, of the Northern Elders Council, NEC, led by Alhaji Tanko Yakassai at the State House, Wednesday, Mr. Jonathan said being a statesman is not by virtue of the “big office” one has occupied before but by virtue of what one brings to the table. “Some people are hiding under some big names and creating a lot of problems in this country. Making provocative statements in this country; statements that will set this country ablaze and you tell me you are a senior citizen. You are not a senior citizen; you can never be. You are ordinary motor park tout”, he said.
But despite the Cat and Mouse relationship between them, Obasanjo attended the president’s niece church wedding accompanied by his long time protégé, Senator Andy Uba and some other aides.
His arrival attracted a loud ovation from those who were already seated, especially women and just as he was ushered into the hall, the ex-president got a standing ovation from his admirers as he took his seat at the VIP section.
He was later joined at the section by the Senate President, David Mark and his wife, Helen.
About 20 minutes after, President Jonathan entered the hall with his wife, Patience, and the bride.
Just before taking their seats, the president and his wife took turns to exchange pleasantries with Obasanjo, Mark and other dignitaries.
To underscore the significance of Obasanjo’s presence at the president’s niece wedding, during the recognition of special guests at the service, when his name was mentioned, the congregation erupted in a loud applause.
In his vote of thanks also at the service, President Jonathan specially recognised Obasanjo’s presence, calling him ‘our father’.
“Let me appreciate our father, President Olusegun Obasanjo, for being here with us. Thank you for coming”, he said.
The president advised the couple to embrace the virtue of endurance, saying they should learn to be resolving their disagreements in their bedroom without involving third parties.
He specifically advised the newlyweds not to bring their problems to him because he has more than enough issues to deal with already.