A former President of Nigeria, Olusegun Obasanjo, has explained why journalists were shut out from a meeting on Thursday, attended by some elder statesmen and some eminent Nigerians, at Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.
Obasanjo, who spoke with some newsmen on Friday in Abuja, said the group, under the aegis of Committee for the Goodness of Nigeria (CGN), agreed in principle to formally present their resolutions to President Muhammadu Buhari, before any public disclosure.
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He declined further comments on the resolutions or outcome of the meeting.
His comment was coming less than 24 hours after the high-profile meeting barred journalists from across the nation from covering the proceedings.
The nine-hour marathon meeting started at 11:00 am and ended at 8:15 pm with two breaks for prayers and meals.
He, however, said that the stakeholders spoke frankly amongst themselves after discussing relevant issues affecting the country, including security and economy.
“We are made up of former Heads of State and President, former Chief Justice of Nigeria, former National Security Adviser (NSA).
“It also included organised labour, academia, women and groups representatives.
“Those who couldn’t be physically present sent apologies like the former president, Dr Goodluck Jonathan, Prof. Wole Soyinka, Emeka Anyaoku.
“We acknowledged the letter written in response to our own letter informing the President about our meeting and his goodwill message that the outcome of our meeting will be of interest to him.
“We decided that our communique won’t be issued until after submitting our report to the President. We were long on statements but short on action,” Obasanjo said.
The former President, however, hinted that anxious Nigerians would soon be aware of the motive of the coalition through its actions.
He said: “Actions on our part and other people’s part that are of immediate requirements, you will be seeing them.
“We pledge to ourselves to change the narratives. We have to start building confidence and be reaching out. From now on, you will hear from our actions on the outcome of our deliberations.”
Those who attended the meeting were a former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd); Sultan of Sokoto, Alhaji Muhammadu Sa’ad Abubakar III, Emeritus Catholic Archbishop of Abuja, John Cardinal Onaiyekan; President of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) Dr Samson Ayokunle and CAN National Secretary Barrister Bade Daramola.
Also in attendance were a former National Security Adviser (NSA), Gen. Aliyu Gusau (retd), a former Attorney General of the Federal (AGF), Chief Kanu Agabi (SAN); Ooni of Ife, Oba Adeyeye Enitan Ogunwusi; and Etsu Nupe, Dr Yahaya Abubakar.
Others were former Minister of Agriculture and Chairman, Arewa Consultative Forum, (ACF) Chief Audu Ogbeh; President, Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC), Comrade Ayuba Wabba; and President of Ohanaeze Ndi’gbo, Prof. Ralph Obiozor among others.
The CGN is a coalition that included the Interface Initiative for Peace led by the Sultan of Sokoto and John Cardinal Onaiyekan; National Peace Committee (NPC) under the leadership of former Head of State, Gen. Abdulsalami Abubakar (retd) and the Sociocultural Consultative Committee (SCC) led by Chief Olusegun Obasanjo.