+How ATIKU Offended Him
Its no longer news that ex-President Olusegun Obasanjo does not like his former Vice, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar one bit. Since they both left office, Atiku had repeatedly made overtures to Obasanjo for him to paper over all the cracks that were noticeable whilst they were in office, but all to no avail, Obasanjo has refused to forgive Atiku who was his VP for 8 years.
City People gathered that Atiku’s main offence has to do with the remarkable influence and power he wielded when he was Vice President.
Obasanjo didn’t like how suddenly all power and influence revolved round Atiku. He also didn’t like how Atiku had immense control over a lot of political players at that time, from the various Chairmen of the party to all the major governors who served at that time. So, OBJ didn’t like this. It was as if Atiku went against one of the major 48 laws of Power, which is, never to outshine your Master.
Although, Atiku had since made ammends by repeatedly begging and pleading with OBJ,
Obasanjo insists that his opposition to Atiku was based on principles.
OBJ had also accused Atiku of corruption despite the fact that Atiku had never been tried for corruption by the EFCC or any anti-corruption agency.
That has been OBJ’s repeated accusation, but many political watchers have wondered why the EFCC uptill now has not indicted Atiku. Atiku himself had wondered why years after he left office the EFCC has not found him guilty of any allegation despite the fact that EFCC was set up by Obasanjo himself.
In his book, My Watch, Obasanjo made many damaging allegations against Atiku, which Atiku had ignored since the book came out in 2014. Atiku had told his friends and political associates that Obasanjo was better left alone, instead of him to engage OBJ in any verbal war.
That is also Atiku’s response to OBJ’s recent statement that he won’t support Atiku’s move to be President.
A source close to Atiku said when Atiku read OBJ’s book he just smiled and wondered aloud why Baba, as Atiku calls him, was desperate to destroy him by all means.
Recall that OBJ was also the one who made sure that Atiku did not succeed him in 2007.
City People gathered that OBJ’s open hatred for Atiku stems from what OBJ sees as the humiliation he suffered in the hands of Atiku when OBJ had to beg Atiku and some of the serving governors in his tenure for support for his 2nd term bid.
City People gathered that as the general elections drew near at that time, OBJ had problems rallying round the governors then for his 2nd term bid. Governors like James Ibori, (Delta), late Alamieyeseigha (Bayelsa) were opposed to him but they were loyal to Atiku.
As the story goes, after OBJ convinced Atiku to support his 2nd term bid, Atiku convinced the governors and invited them to a formal meeting where OBJ had to practically beg and almost postrated for them. OBJ never forgave Atiku and all the frontline governors of that era who tackled him.Then came OBJ’s 3rd term bid which Atiku as his Vice reportedly opposed.
Why did OBJ settle for Atiku when he did in 1999? We can tell you that Atiku came in as Obasanjo’s running mate. At that time Obasanjo revealed what he was looking for in a possible running mate “I had received different pieces of advice” wrote OBJ in Volume 2 of his book My Watch “Some had suggested picking a man or woman of my age who would not have ambition to suceed or upstage me. Some had suggested a person who by his ability and political position would not be an heir apparent.”
“However, I decided to look for a person who could work with me for my full terms in office and understudy me so as to learn to take over and maintain continuity and consistency. I considered all candidates that were available and what I knew about them. I had earlier collected information about some to beef up my knowledge of them. That night, I settled for Atiku Abubakar. Some of the reasons were: he worked hard for the project. He never indicated interest in the job to me, he had worked closely with Shehu Yar’Adua and Shehu never passed any adverse comment on him. He had been elected as a Governor, which already put him on the pedestal to move up politically. But he had been short changed in the election that would have put M.K.O. Abiola in power and he seemed to have some national outreach.”
These were the reasons OBJ gave for choosing Atiku and for the first term, he practically left the running of the Economy to Atiku, until OBJ quarrelled with Atiku and the story changed. The same OBJ who had praised Atiku to high heavens now wrote, “what I did not know, which came out glaringly later, was his parental background, which was somewhat shadowy, his propensity to corruption, his tendency to disloyalty, his inability to say and stick to the truth all the time, a properity for poor judgement, his belief and reliance on marabouts, his lack of transparency, his trust in money to buy his way out on all issues and his readiness to sacrifice morality, integrity propriety, truth and national interest for self and selfish interest.”
OBJ wrote that Atiku’s appointment was an error. I fully accepted responsibility for the genuine mistake”. He then added. “And knowing all that I discovered about him, what would have been an unpardonable mistake and sin against God would have been to foist him on Nigeria.
Part of why OBJ is unhappy with Atiku is, according to OBJ, Atiku’s move to succed him, as if that was a crime. According OBJ, Atiku took it to the level of obscenity. Right from the moment, we were sworn in at Eagle Square, Atiku’s banner for 2007 was hoisted and displayed everywhere in the arena. I, of course ignored it. He had showed his hard much earlier when his marabout assured him that I would not complete the first term before he took over. He believed it and acted accordingly. He touted the Mandele model, in expectation that he would take over in the 2nd term. The final prank he played was trying to get Na Abba to impeach me. The find one before the 2003 election was his arrangement with Alex Ekwueme to be his running mate and after Ekwueme had won, he would serve only three years and then resign for Atiku to complete the term. As a result, they would have no competitor in the 2007 election.”
According to OBJ, Atiku’s offence was OBJ’s discovery that Atiku was working to succeed him in 2003 or 2007. He alleged that one of Atiku’s schemes in preparation for his ascension in 2007 was to get the whole South West AD governors to support him. Without informing me, he went to work out a deal with the 6 AD Governors. He told them that PDP would not contest against any of them in 2003, and in 2007, they would not present any presidential candidate, but adopt and vote for PDP presidential candidate which, of course, would be Atiku”.
Of course when OBJ got wind of this, he took it as Betrayal and decided that Atiku would not succeed him. According to OBJ, “as I moved on with my programmes for the 2nd term, I had no clear indication about who would succeed me. If Atiku had been a loyal, faithful, dutiful, and committed second-in-command, I would not have doubted. After all, I picked him purposely for that in mind.”
What was clear from OBJ’s book was that the hatred OBJ has for Atiku was based on all the hearsays he picked up from friends and fellow politicians in the PDP. And he took it personal. In the book, OBJ abused Atiku and called him all sorts of names. He went on to call Atiku a liar. He said “in the 4th quarter of 2004, an associate of Atiku came to my residence at the Aso-Rock Villa from Atiku’s official residence. He settled to tell me the story of what had just transpired in Atiku’s residence. I listened with rapt attention. He went on to say that Atiku told him that for him (Atiku) to become the President of Nigeria, the 2007 elections were only a formality and that the 7 ingredients he needed for his enthronement were already in his hands”.
OBJ went on and on to reveal all he was told. That was when OBJ drew the line to fight Atiku. OBJ took it as a big fight against Atiku. This is clear in page 202 of his book where he wrote, “Atiku and his group regarded themselves as perfect tacticians in the game of politics, forgetting that I was also a reasonably successful tactician cum strategist in the game of war from where politics took over.”
According to OBJ, a good strategist, like a good dog, must not bark or fight all the time. There is time to fight and time to be gentle or even wag the tail. But when you fight after full and due appreciation, the chances of success will be more than 50%. My assistants had moles within the Atiku Group. Anything they planned would be reported…”
So, bad had their relationship become in 2006 that when Atiku was about to contest for the 2007 Presidential election and wrote OBJ a letter of notification OBJ took it badly. He was incensed.
In several chapters of the book, he heaped all sorts of blame on Atiku.