Former President Olusegun Obasanjo
Claims to the contrary notwithstanding,
former President Olusegun Obasanjo did say at a
state Peoples Democratic Party [PDP]
stakeholders’ meeting in Yola last Sunday that
his former vice president Atiku Abubakar
vigorously lobbied him to support Atiku’s
planned return to the party of which he was a
Daily Trust had reported last
Monday that Obasanjo told the Adamawa PDP
leaders a story about how Atiku begged and
lobbied him to support his return to PDP. The
next day however, the Atiku Campaign Office in
Abuja issued a statement saying Obasanjo had
called Atiku on telephone and denied ever making
those remarks in Yola. A transcript of the tape
recording of the proceedings, which Daily Trust
obtained, however confirmed that the former
two-time ruler of Nigeria did make those
statements and many more.
The relevant part of the
transcript of the Adamawa PDP stakeholders’
meeting, which took place inside the Banquet
Hall of the Government House in Yola last
Sunday, March 29, runs as follows:
Governor Murtala Nyako:
Ladies and gentlemen, it is a privilege and an
honour to request anyone who has a sensible
question to ask our great, beloved and former
president, former Head of State, former GOC,
former Minister of Works and Housing, the
founder of Otta farm, the initiator of NAPEP,
the initiator of AU and ECOWAS. If you have any
question to ask, please you can ask. We prefer a
question that relates to reality, because we are
not here on political associations but practical
governance. If you have any question you may
wish to ask.
Question: My name is Musa
Kamale, Commissioner for Information, Culture
and Tourism. My question to the special guest
of honour is, we are very happy to hear from no
other person than the chairman, Board of
Trustees of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP.
Sir, we have our son of the soil, Vice President
Atiku Abubakar. Today he is no longer with us
in this party. Rumors are rife that he wants to
come back to the PDP. As party faithful we are
not concerned or rattled, but sir, if somebody
runs away from a house and the persons left
behind rebuilt that house to a state -of –the-
art and from nowhere, that person who had
earlier ran away wants to stage a comeback,
could that be possible? As the chairman Board of
Trustees sir, what is the position of this
hearsay that the former Vice President wants to
comeback or doesn’t want to come back to the PDP?
Thank you very much sir.
Obasanjo: Since we left
government we couldn’t talk. Last year I think,
when we had Shehu Yar’adua’s annual lecture,
that was the time we met. We were in the same
government, we were in the same party, and we
formed the same government and the journey
continued before things changed. The story of
how he came to see me is in phases. About six
months before he came to see me, there was a
lady who works with him. Her niece is a friend
of mine for a long time. She came to me, saying
that Daddy, may I seek your indulgence? Atiku
wants to see you. I told her to see me later on
it. So I thought that was the end of it. About a
month or so after that, the Governor of Osun
State came to me and said one of his colleagues,
a former governor, pleaded that the former Vice
President wants to see me.
I said, for what purpose?
Because one, he is no longer in our party. Two,
we are no longer in government, so for what
purpose? He said well, that is his desire. I
said, has he talked to you that he wants to see
me? Has he sent a formal correspondence to you?
He said no. Then I asked him to go and find out.
So he found out and it’s true, that they wanted
to come and see me. I said he should let me
think about it. While I was thinking about it, a
distinguished son of this state, a very very
distinguished person, one of the few Nigerians
that I cherish and respect very much, came to me
and said, “have you reconciled with the former
Vice President,” because he wants
reconciliation between former Vice President and
the former president. I said it is not inimical
to reconcile either with me or anyone else, but
I said let him go and find out if the man
himself really wants reconciliation. After
finding out, he came back and I said well, if
you see it’s worthy and by virtue of my status
in this country, my house is open for everyone.
About a week after that, the same person came
back again, and I told him what I earlier said.
After sometime I said well,
there is room that the former VP may want to
join our team. When I checked on the day he was
billed to come the following morning, I prepared
for his coming, then I told some people. I
wanted the former Governor of Nasarawa State to
be around so as to have a witness or official
from the party. So, on that aspect they came
with Governor Oyinlola. So he visited me but I
don’t know the purpose of this visit, which I
thought it was on 2011, but he said no.
After pleasantries, he said
he came to discuss issues of common interest and
importance, but I said to him I cannot be
threatened or intimidated because what you like,
I don’t like it. What I believe in, Atiku
doesn’t believe in it. I believe politics is a
way of service, he believes it should be
We are far different; I said
there is no personal thing. If you are
befriending my wife I will sue you because you
offended me, and if I’m befriending your wife
you can also sue me, you can say I offended you
personally. Then I joked, [I said] even on the
issue of women, your taste is different from
mine. So, we cannot trust you.
Later, I told him that if you
want to come back to PDP there are ways to
follow, does he want? He told me yes, he wants.
Then I said if you want to come back to the
party, you should begin where you begun before,
at your ward, and now you are not an ordinary
man who has left the party. You left the party
at the particular time and you know what to do.
Look, you can say there is Alex Ekwueme’s report
which says there should be reconciliation. Even
the president is aware, but why should I be the
one that will be sent? So, when I went to
Katsina for marriage of the president’s
daughter, I didn’t know that the former Vice
President will be there, until someone told me
that Atiku wants to see me. Hence he kept
phoning the governor of Osun State and the
governor kept pestering my life. The person
often calls. Then I told President that your
brother is pestering my life, please do
something about it, because I don’t like it, to
the extent that I had to change [telephone]
lines on three occasions.
I told him that the PDP’s
door is open. Do what is right, it doesn’t
matter who you are, or what you are, the
beginning of membership ticket is at ward level
and you should reconcile with the ward first.
Ticket of PDP membership is at ward level.
Thanks very much.