A former presidential aide, Doyin Okupe, has prostrated repeatedly before former President Olusegun Obasanjo, begging the former head of state to forgive him over insults he hurled at him while he (Okupe) served as spokesperson for ex-President Goodluck Jonathan.
Mr. Okupe visited Mr. Obasanjo on Sunday at his Hilltop G.R.A. residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun State capital.
The former presidential aide made the surprise visit to the former president to seek reconciliation after remaining estranged from the former leader for years.
One source said security operatives at Mr. Obasanjo’s residence initially blocked Mr. Okupe from accessing the former president’s home but that he was allowed in after “baba came downstairs and told the boys to let him in.”
Sources said General Obasanjo initially rejected Mr. Okupe’s plea, saying “you cannot abuse me in the papers, on TV, on radio and on the streets and then come here to privately apologise.”
“Why don’t you mount the same platforms you used in abusing me to apologise to me?” a witness quoted General Obasanjo as saying.
“Baba said he was baffled to see Okupe verbally assaulting him in the media just because he was given appointment by Jonathan,” the source said. “If he were a true son of Yorubaland, he would not have gone to that extent because Baba was the first to appoint him a media aide over 16 years ago.
“Baba appointed him as one of his first aides when he became the first president after democracy returned to Nigeria in 1999, only for him to turn his back against Baba when he got a similar appointment from Jonathan many years later. Now that he has gone to bite more than he can chew, he’s desperate for Baba’s forgiveness.”
“There’s an adage in Yoruba that says when a dog has gone to put itself into fury inferno, it will become desperate to return to its owner,” the source added.
After a brief intervention by those present at the meeting, sources said, Mr. Obasanjo agreed to forgive Mr. Okupe because he (Obasanjo) is an elder statesman and father to many.
“Baba said he has forgiven him because of his respected position as an elder statesman, but that may not stop him (Mr. Okupe) from committing the same offence in future,” the source said.
In an interview with journalists, Mr. Okupe confirmed he visited Mr. Obasanjo to seek reconciliation.
“I went to Obasanjo to settle and resolve my long-standing misunderstanding with him,”
Mr. Okupe said, adding that “Obasanjo is like my father and I am his political son.”
“In Yorubaland, when an elder is angry with you, the younger person begs. I am not ashamed to beg Obasanjo,” Mr. Okupe said.
Okupe said, “Last sunday , in the company of some friends I met with Baba Obasanjo principally to try and settle and resolve the misunderstanding that has existed between baba and I since I joined the Jonathan administration.
“Vintage baba, he descended on me heavily and vented his anger copiously. I prostrated and held his feet as a well trained Yoruba man and pleaded earnestly for his forgiveness, occasionally given short explanations for areas I considered my actions were misunderstood.
“Also typical of baba, ever willing to forgive a repentant son, we embraced; I even kissed him as a loving son.
“Politics sometimes is such a bad business, you hurt your friends and even benefactors, but all is well that ends well.”
It will be recalled that during the build-up to the last presidential election, Obasanjo had openly criticised Jonathan.
He alleged that Jonathan had recruited a team of snipers and also said Jonathan was afraid that the then presidential candidate of the All Progressives Congress, Muhammadu Buhari, would jail him if he won.
Obasanjo had also torn his membership card of the Peoples Democratic Party which attracted condemnation from Jonathan’s men
Okupe had openly condemned Obasanjo in the process of defending Jonathan.
Doyin Okupe prostrates, begs Obasanjo for forgiveness
Photographs of the visit obtained by pressmen show Mr. Okupe prostrating repeatedly and pleading for forgiveness.