Friday, August 29, 2014

Boko Haram: President Jonathan finally begs Obasanjo for solution

President Goodluck Jonathan has finally reached out to former President Olusegun Obasanjo for ideas on how to tackle Boko Haram insurgency which is ravaging the North-East region of the country, with the terrorists capturing Gwoza, a Nigerian territory, and declaring it an Islamic caliphate.

This development suggests a rethink by the Jonathan administration which had all along disregarded Mr. Obasanjo's proposal to commence talks with the extremist Boko Haram sect through an informal channel.

President Jonathan is so desperate for solution that he offered to fly to Abeokuta to meet with Mr. Obasanjo. But the former president however offered to travel to Abuja to meet Mr. Jonathan out of respect for the office of the president.

Mr. Obasanjo confirmed the meeting which took place on wednesday on arrival back to his base in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.

"Yes, I can confirm that I met with Mr. President on his invitation," he told journalists. "In fact, he had wanted to come down to Abeokuta, but as a sign of respect to the Office of the President, I had to go. We had discussion on the country's security issues and that is all."

The former President appreciated Mr. Jonathan's invitation and assured the administration that, in the interest of peace and progress of the country, he would continue to make himself available whenever solutions are being sought for knotty national issues.

Details of the discussions between the two leaders are unclear. It is also not clear whether Mr. Jonathan has now given the former President the nod to explore talks with the Boko Haram contacts he has identified.

The Special Adviser to the President on Media and Publicity, Reuben Abati, confirmed the meeting but said he had no details of what was discussed.

"It was a meeting between the two of them and only them can say what was discussed, Mr. Abati told PREMIUM TIMES.

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