Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo did not beg me for 2003 ticket, says Atiku Abubakar

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Former Vice President Atiku Abubakar
By Idris Akinbajo

Reports that Nigeria’s former president, Olusegun Obasanjo pleaded for the support of his then vice, Atiku Abubakar, before securing the ticket of the Peoples Democratic Party to contest the 2003 presidential elections was false, Mr. Abubakar said in Abuja yesterday while addressing his supporters and members of the press.

The former vice president however, explained that many state governors called on him to run against Mr. Obasanjo then and that he declined because he believed his candidacy would be against the PDP’s zoning formula.

“There was never a time the President begged me to support him,” Mr. Abubakar said, while responding to questions by journalists. “Till we went to the convention ground, there were still some governors who were calling me, ‘can we vote for this man (Mr. Obasanjo),’ I said ‘yes, go and vote for him.” There had been various media reports that Mr. Obasanjo had to plead with his vice to secure the PDP’s ticket at the Eagles Square Abuja, venue of the PDP 2003 presidential primaries, because most of the governors, who controlled their states delegates, were loyal to Mr. Abubakar.

Mr. Abubakar, who also explained that he fell out with Mr. Obasanjo immediately after the 2003 presidential elections because of the latter’s third term agenda, said he did not believe that Mr. Obasanjo, who is the Board of Trustees chairman of the party, controls the fate of the party.

While calling for a reform of the PDP, Mr. Abubakar explained that he supported the reforms being championed by suspended former leaders of the party including Ken Nnamani, former Senate President and Aminu Masari, former Speaker of the House of Representatives. He, however, said he opposed their approach.

“If their objective is to have reforms within the PDP, internal democracy, even the independence of the party structures at the various levels, I support it. But whatever we are going to do must be in line with through due process,” Mr. Abubakar said.

One party state
Mr. Abubakar also declared that he was scared of Nigeria becoming a one party state under the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP). He made this statement while addressing journalists and supporters at a function to formally declare his membership of the PDP, at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel, Abuja.

“I am so scared of a dominant one party. Because, if you happen to get somebody in that party to be a president and that person does not believe in vacating office: one, he will use the PDP that has a majority in the National Assembly to amend the constitution and remain in power forever. He will get all the PDP state legislators to also carry out the same amendment. And then we will end up with a president for life and one party for life. And only God knows what will happen to us.”

While responding to questions on the future of the opposition Action Congress (AC) following his defection, Mr. Abubakar, who was the presidential candidate of the AC in the 2007 elections, expressed uncertainty about the party’s future.

“I don’t know what will happen to AC. If there is any disappointment or frustration I had in the opposition camp, it was because none of them was genuinely or sincerely interested in forming a viable opposition party.”

Atiku renews membership
The forum also provided an opportunity for the former Vice President to show the level of support he enjoys in his home state of Adamawa.

Mr. Abubakar, one of the founders of the PDP, left the party in 2006 following disagreement with former President Olusegun Obasanjo.


0 Feedback:

Site Meter