President Muhammadu Buhari and former President Olusegun Obasanjo were all smiles on Sunday when they met in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia, at the opening session of the 30th African Union (AU) summit.
The development came six days after Obasanjo issued a damning statement, asking Buhari not to seek re-election in 2019.
But when they met in Ethiopia on Sunday, Buhari and Obasanjo shook hands. Though the two leaders spoke for about two minutes, their encounter caused excitement inside the Nelson Mandela Hall, venue of the AU summit.
Minister of State for Aviation, Senator Hadi Sirika and Minister of Foreign Affairs, Mr Geoffrey Onyeama, alongside others members of the Nigerian delegation smiled as they watched from a distance.
Photojournalists were also said to be scrambling to take shots of the historic moment.
Former Head of State, Gen Abdulsalami Abubakar (rtd), later joined Buhari and Obasanjo for photographs.
The Daily Times recalls that the federal government had stated that though it took Obasanjo’s admonition in good faith, it added that the former President was too busy to notice the achievements of Buhari-led administration.
In a statement made available to journalists few days after, the Minister of Information and Culture, Alhaji Lai Mohammed, said Buhari’s focus at the moment is to fulfil the mandate which Nigerians gave to him.
The statement reads in part, “On whether or not President Muhammadu Buhari should run for another term, it is true that many Nigerians have been calling on the President to run again, while others are opposed to his return.
“However, we believe this issue is a distraction for the president at this time. This is because Mr President spends every waking hour tackling the enormous challenges facing the nation, most of which were bequeathed to his administration by successive past administrations.”
Vice-President Yemi Osinbajo also stated on Friday that Buhari is not thinking about a second term “at the moment”.