President Obasanjo was recently named by regional bloc Ecowas to officially mediate in the political crisis that has gripped Senegal since 2008 and which could affect elections scheduled for February 26.
The crisis was fuelled by a successful attempt by President Abdoulaye Wade, 85, to amend the country’s constitution to allow him to run for another term after his second mandate ends this month.
In 2001 he suggested a two five-year mandate but scrapped that in place of a seven year and indefinite mandate in 2008.
In June 2011, he attempted to modify crucial electoral laws which sparked bloody protests nationwide and forced him to withdraw the 25 per cent win requirement that would have avoided a second round.
This last attempt that led to several violent pro-democracy protests throughout the country pushed several local rights and civil society groups to support the opposition against the ruling party.
Five people are reported to have since been killed and dozens arrested while scores have been seriously injured as well as property looted and damaged across the country.
For several months now, the opposition has been agitating for the withdrawal of President Wade’s candidacy for the poll but the ageing leader insists he will run.
Since Thursday, the opposition and backed by civil society groups as well as musicians have been fighting street battles with the police in a bid to force President Wade to rescind his decision to contest.