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2019: Obasanjo Declares Support For Atiku, Describes Ex-V.P As President-To-Be

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Obasanjo, Atiku, Kukah, Gumi in handshake after meeting

…..Says He Has Forgiven Atiku’s Sins

Former President, Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday declared support for his former deputy, Alhaji Atiku Abubakar to become Nigeria’s president come year 2019 general elections on the platform of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

The former president openly made his declaration while hosting Atiku and members of his presidential campaign team who visited him at his Olusegun Obasanjo Presidential Library (OOPL) residence in Abeokuta, the Ogun state capital.

Obasanjo said he was supporting Atiku’s presidential ambition on the ground that his former Vice has the capacity to perform better in office than the incumbent in addition to his perfect understanding of the nation’s economy better and as such would make his “administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs.

“You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways.

“As Pastor Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, “You are a wazobia man.” And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and shunning nepotism”.

Led by the Director General of Atiku Presidential Campaign Organization, Otunba Gbenga Daniel, the Atiku team had arrived Abeokuta around 1: 05pm and went into a closed-door meeting with the former president.

Those in the Atiku’s presidential team that visited Obasanjo at his Abeokuta residence included the PDP National Chairman, Uche Secondus, former Governor of Cross Rivers state, Senator Liyel Imoke, Senator Ben Bruce as well as the former governor of Osun state, Prince Olagunsoye Oyinlola.

Others included the General Overseer of the Living Faith Church, Bishop David Oyedepo, Islamic Cleric, Sheikh Ahmad Gumi, Catholic Bishop of Sokoto Diocese, Rev. Fr. Mathew Hassan Kukah, former Chairman of PDP’s Board of Trustees (BoT), Bode George as well as a stalwarts of the Pan Yoruba Socio – Cultural Group Afenifere, Elder Fasawe.

Addressing journalists at the end of the closed-door meeting which lasted about an hour, Atiku described the meeting with his former boss as historic one that afforded the two of them to unite and work together towards repositioning Nigeria on the path of unity, growth and prosperity.

“Today’s meeting is historic one for both of us and for this country because, like I said last Sunday when I paid tribute to him, I couldn’t have been where I am today without his wise counsel; without his picking me as his Vice President for eight years and without the training that I got from his tutelage and his leadership.

“I believe the time has come for all of us to unite and work together so that this country can be repositioned on the path of unity, growth and prosperity.

“Today is one of the happiest days of my life. I said a few moment ago: after your presidency, we have had three presidencies in this country. The only president you have trained is myself. And I said I am going to commit my presidency, if I become one, to the continuation of your own presidency, a legacy”.

While appreciating the former president for the opportunity of the meeting, Atiku also prayed that God grants Obasanjo a “healthy long life to see what he had bequeathed to the country”.

Responding however, Obasanjo said he had forgiven Atiku’s ‘sins’ and decided to support his presidential ambition having been convinced that Atiku will mend fences across the country in the spirit of national unity.

Obasanjo also explained that Nigeria’s presidency under the PDP administration which he headed was designed in such a way that Atiku would have taken over from him in the year 2007.

“From what I personally know of you, you have capacity to perform better than the incumbent. You surely understand the economy better; you have business experience, which can make your administration business-friendly and boost the economy and provide jobs”.

“You have better outreach nationally and internationally and that can translate to better management of foreign affairs. You are more accessible and less inflexible and more open to all parts of the country in many ways”.

“As Pastor Bakare, one-time running mate of the incumbent President said, “You are a wazobia man.”  And that should help you in confronting the confrontable and shunning nepotism”.

“As you know, along the road to where you are today, many leaders and ordinary people cooperated and overtly and covertly worked hard. On your behalf, I thank them all.  May their coast continue to be expanded”.

“And when you become Nigerian President which, insha-Allah, you will be, remember what we did together in government – we ran an administration by Nigerians for all Nigerians where merit and performance count more than blood relationship, friendship or kith and kin.

“Although some time and ground have been lost, you should endeavour to start from where we stopped and recover some lost ground, if not time.

“Please uphold truth, integrity, principles, morality and fight corruption, crimes and insurgency. The fundamental law of the land, our constitution must be scrupulously defended.

“I make one demand and one demand on you today: I need you to say before God and man that you will always remain irrevocably committed to upholding All the provisions of the Constitution of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and the whole country will remain your single indivisible constituency.

“Constitutionalism, popular participation and inclusiveness are pre-conditions for reversing the deficits of the past three and half years. They will ensure abiding faith in our indivisibility, oneness and faith in the survival of all against none.

“The fundamentals for our development, economic growth and progress are hard and soft infrastructure. Remember to always give adequate places in your administration to our youth and women.

“All the authorities involved with the preparation, all processes and conduct of the election must ensure that the election is free, fair and credible.”

Commenting on the quarrel between him and Atiku which had for long put the two of them on war path for many years, Obasanjo said he had forgiven his former vice since he has shown remorse and apologised for his misdeeds.

“Let me start by congratulating the President-to-be, Atiku Abubakar, for his success at the recent PDP Primary and I took note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.

“Yes, when it started, it was meant for Atiku to succeed Obasanjo. In the presence of these distinguished leaders of goodwill today, let me say it openly that we have reviewed what went wrong on the side of Atiku. And in all honesty, my former Vice-President has re-discovered and re-positioned himself.’

“As I have repeatedly said, it is not so much what you did against me that was the issue but what you did against the party, the government and the country.

I took the stand I had taken based on the character and attributes you exhibited in the position you found yourself. I strongly believe that I was right. It was in the overall interest of everyone and everything to take such a position.

“From what transpired in the last couple of hours or so, you have shown remorse; you have asked for forgiveness and you have indicated that you have learnt some good lessons and you will mend fences and make amends as necessary and as desirable.

“Whenever or wherever you might have offended me, as a Christian who asks for God’s forgiveness of my sins and inadequacies on daily basis, I forgive and I sincerely advise you to learn from the past and do what is right and it will be well with you.

“Obviously, you have mended fences with the party and fully reconciled with the party. That’s why today, you are the Presidential Candidate of the Party.

“In addition to appreciating all that the party has done for you, may I advise you to work together with all those who contested for the party’s flag with you as a team for your campaign.

“There are still areas, nationally and internationally, where you have to mend fences and make amends. You will know how to handle what is already out and what may yet be put out by the opposition. But, I am convinced that if you continue with the attitude that brought you here with these distinguished leaders of goodwill, with remorse and contrite heart, the rest of the coast within and outside the country can be cleared.  And if there is anything I can do and you want me to do in that respect, I will do.

“I am sure with the right attitude for change where necessary and by putting lessons learned by you to work, you will get the understanding, cooperation, support and mandate of all at the national level”.

“With Nigerians voting for you, it will mean that you secure their forgiveness and regain their confidence. It will be with the hope or assurance of a Paul on the road to Damascus Conversion. After all, change and conversion are of man. I believe that with a contrite heart, change is possible in everybody’s life and situation.

“For me, relatively and of all the aspirants in the PDP, you have the widest and greatest exposure, experience, outreach and possibly the best machinery and preparation for seeing the tough and likely dirty campaign ahead through”.

 





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