Obasanjo should forgive Atiku whatever trespasses he had committed against him and help him out this time around
In 1998, former Vice President, Atiku Abubakar was one of the three musketeers who convinced then General Olusegun Obasanjo, just released from prison, to contest for the presidency of Nigeria. The other two were; General Abdulsalam Abubakar who was then Head of State and General Ibrahim Babangida. Vice President Atiku Abubakar, who is a protégé of late Shehu Musa Yar’Adua, was convinced that General Obasanjo was the right person to fill the void created by the demise of Chief M.K.O. Abiola. Atiku became close to Obasanjo through Shehu Yar’Adua, who was Obasanjo’s second-in-command as military Head of state between 1976 and 1979.
Therefore, when the search for a suitable Yoruba man who would be elected as President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria to pacify the Yoruba nation, it was not difficult for Atiku to recommend Obasanjo to the military ruling class at the time. Chief Obasanjo was in prison when the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) was formed in 1998 by late Dr. Alex Ekwueme and few other patriots.
But, when Obasanjo came out of prison, Atiku Abubakar with the support of few other northern PDP chieftains ensured that Obasanjo emerged as the PDP presidential candidate even when Obasanjo was not qualified to be the candidate of PDP having failed to deliver his booth, ward, Local Government Area and State to PDP as stipulated by the party’s Constitution. Without the efforts of people like Atiku, late Ekwueme and late Solomon Lar, that reason was enough ground to disqualify Obasanjo from participating in PDP transition programme of 1998.
Atiku was strong enough politically and financially to contest the 1998/1999 presidential election having tried the same office in 1993, alongside late Abiola, Alhaji Babagana Kingibe, Alhaji Basir Tofa, etc, but in difference to Obasanjo, he stooped low and contested for the governorship of Adamawa State which he won with Mr. Boni Haruna as his deputy.
However, Obasanjo releasing the enormous role played by Atiku in his becoming the presidential candidate of PDP, chose him as his running mate on his own volition without the prompting or pressure from the PDP party Appartchik. Somebody like late Abubakar Rimi was said to have lobbied clandestinely to become Obasanjo’s running mate but failed. If Obasanjo had chosen Rimi, would Rimi have become a better or loyal Vice President to Obasanjo than Atiku? Obasanjo and Atiku started on a very smooth relationship in the first term until their relationship broke down irretrievably in the second term. So many Nigerian are still bewildered on what could have brought about the strain relationship between them. Those of us who were not close to the corridors of power at the time read in the news that Obasanjo was accusing Atiku of controlling the government and the economy.
How could that have been possible? By the constitution of 1999 at the time and even as amended today, the office of the Vice President has a very limited roles or functions to play, the bulk of the roles are vested on the office of the President who is the Commander-in-Chief. Late President Umaru Musa Yar’Adua never accused Vice President Goodluck Jonathan of commanding more authority or powers than him until he died.
President Jonathan never accused or suspected Vice President Namadi Sambo of usurping his powers and controlling the economy or the government. President Muhammadu Buhari is fully in charge of his government at the moment and can only delegate functions to the office of the Vice President Yemi Osibanjo. How then was Atiku controlling the government?
There is an unfounded rumour that President Obasanjo knelt down for Atiku to help him secure the ticket of the PDP for his second term in 2003. This rumour is unsubstantiated as both dramatis personae are alive and none of them has ever corroborated this claim. In any case, even if it is true, for the fact that Atiku who was said to be controlling PDP delegates at the time, forgave Obasanjo and allowed him to secure the ticket of the party for the second term, Obasanjo should equally forgive Atiku whatever trespasses he had committed against him and help him out this time around. President Obasanjo, as a graduate of Theological school and a Christian should be fully acquainted with “Our Lord’s Prayer” where we are enjoined to forgive others their trespasses for God to forgive us own trespasses. When he reportedly knelt down to beg Atiku, what if Atiku didn’t accept his apologies?
Husbands and wives quarrel, children and their parents quarrel. Quarrelling and dispute are inherent in human beings. There was no way Obasanjo and Atiku could work for a whole of eight years without quarrelling, they are not angels. President Obasanjois an institution and there’s no way Atiku, as President, can send him to prison again in a democracy. If President Buhari couldn’t do it, Atiku, who is ever forgiving, will never contemplate such.
Atiku is broadminded and cosmopolitan. He is Pan Nigerian and less fanatical in issues of religion. And that was why when he as governor-elect of Adamawa State and was elevated to Vice President, he ensured that his then deputy who is a Christian, took over from him and become the first Christian governor of Adamawa State. Some People could have done otherwise if presented with such opportunity and ensured that a fellow Muslim replaced them as governors-elect.
President Obasanjo should cast his mind back and count how many people that offended him as President of Nigeria. And after doing so, he should equally forgive Atiku to clinch the ticket of PDP in next year’s presidential election to dislodge this divisive government of President Buhari, the worst government in the history of Nigeria. Most of the PDP presidential aspirants are not experienced enough or possess the Pan Nigerian clout to defeat Buhari. Or does President Obasanjo want Buhari to continue till 2023? God forbid!
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