“I stood between Obasanjo and himself and said, ‘No, you can’t take over Lagos. Leave it and he left it.”
A former vice president, Atiku Abubakar, says President Bola Tinubu should be grateful to him, claiming he persuaded then-President Olusegun Obasanjo against taking over Lagos.
Obasanjo was Nigeria’s president from 1999 to 2007 under the then-ruling party, the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) while Tinubu of the defunct Action Congress (AC) was the Lagos State governor within that period.
While fielding questions from reporters during the event, Atiku denied claims that he betrayed Tinubu as speculated in some quarters.
“Those of you who are old enough will also remember that in 2003, the PDP took over all the South-Western states with the exception of Lagos. I stood between Obasanjo and himself and said, ‘No, you can’t take over Lagos. Leave it and he left it’,” he said. “There are other things that I would not want to go into. But I vehemently deny that I stabbed him in the back.”
‘He Broke Away’
Recalling his relationship with Tinubu, Atiku said the former Lagos governor wanted to be his running mate in the 2007 election but he objected because they are of the same faith.
“Yes, it is true. In 2007, we came together to form AC. And in Lagos at the convention, I emerged as the winner and got the ticket. After I got the ticket, he sent about five or six party men – some of them are hear. I can even name them but I don’t want to embarrass them,” the PDP presidential candidate for the 2023 election said.
“They came to me and said to me that Bola wanted to be my running mate. I said: ‘Gentlemen, you are all old enough, and virtually all of you are Christians with the exception of only one person. What would be your reaction to having a Muslim-Muslim ticket? All of them said, ‘We totally object to it’. I said then, ‘Why did you not tell him: Mr Tinubu, the message you are giving to us, we don’t seem to agree with it? Why are you then coming to me?’
“And that was the end of the political relationship. He broke away, went, and supported Umaru Musa Yar’Adua. So, where is the ground for him to say I betrayed him?”