Obasanjo: Why I think Raila is the best candidate for AU Chairperson job

Obasanjo said he talks regularly with both President Ruto and Raila Odinga, and other leaders in Africa.

Former Nigerian President Olusegun Obasanjo has revealed that he played a pivotal role in mediating talks between political rivals President William Ruto and Azimio leader Raila Odinga mid-last year.

The disclosure came to light during a press conference Wednesday where Obasanjo officially endorsed Raila Odinga for the African Union Commission Chairperson position.

Obasanjo, a long-time friend of Raila, emphasised their history together, recalling the time when he faced treason charges back home in Nigeria for attending the burial of Jaramogi Odinga Oginga, the leader of opposition in Kenya who is also Raila’s father.

“Raila is a friend of many years. When I went to Kisumu to bury his father Jaramogi and was charged with treason back in my country Nigeria because the government said I wanted to topple the government of Nigeria and Kenya. Oginga was the leader of the opposition,” Obasanjo remarked, which highlighted the depth of their friendship.

The former Nigerian president revealed that his involvement in the talks between Raila and Ruto led to a significant development that allowed the country to go back to normalcy.

Obasanjo said that the outcome of their discussions in Mombasa resulted in the formation of a committee, with each party nominating five members.

Obasanjo expressed satisfaction with the committee’s progress and emphasised the need to witness further advancements in their efforts.

Obasanjo, who has been actively engaged at the top level of Africa political affairs for many decades, disclosed that he is regularly in contact with both President Ruto, Raila and other leaders in Africa.

He underscored Raila’s regional significance, stating, “Raila is not a Kenyan candidate but a regional candidate, and the rest of the continent will go with it. Raila has the credentials to lead,” Obasanjo said.

The  endorsement for Raila’s AU Commission Chairperson candidacy was made in the presence of the Azimio leader himself in his Karen home.

Obasanjo confidently asserted, “I have no doubt that my friend who is standing next to me is the right person to take over the mantle. If the EAC region backs him, I believe the rest of the continent will support him.”

The political landscape is currently experiencing with global uncertainties, and Obasanjo emphasised the need for a leader with experience and an understanding of the prevailing situations.

He said 67 wars are currently being fought worldwide, highlighting political unpredictability and instability on a global scale.

Six months ago President William Ruto acknowledged engaging in discussions with Azimio leader Raila Odinga, reaching an understanding that the opposition would cease their weekly protests.

Ruto emphasised his commitment to fostering peace and harmony in the country, citing this as the primary motivation behind the talks.