Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has said the alliance of his former deputy, Vice President, Atiku Abubakar, with the late Dr Alex Ekwueme during the 2003 presidential primary election of the Peoples Democratic Party collapsed after Ekwueme was defeated at the poll.
Obasanjo said this in Ibadan on Thursday at the public presentation of ‘Amazing Grace’, a biography of former Oyo State Governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala.
Obasanjo, who was the chairman of the occasion at the book launch, gave the explanation to correct an aspect of the book where the author claimed that Atiku backed down before the primary poll.
Obasanjo said, “Again, Atiku did not back down as you claimed until Alex Ekwueme was defeated at the primary of PDP in 2003 as Atiku’s agreement with Ekwueme was to be Ekwueme’s running mate and Ekwueme, as President, spending three years and resigning for Atiku to complete the fourth year and then for Atiku to contest election in his own right in 2007.
“It was after the result of the primary that Atiku backed down, if you put it that way, it was when there was no other choice.”
Obasanjo also faulted the roles played by Alao-Akala in the failure of the South-West to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives which Aminu Tambuwal eventually won.
He said Alao-Akala first proposed Ajibola Muraina and he, Obasanjo, and others accepted him but said Alao-Akala later began to lobby for Mulikat Akande, who was eventually defeated by Tambuwal.
Obasanjo said, “Bayo, I will not say much on the issue of Muraina and Mulikat for Speaker of House of Representatives as reported on page 391 as you put it, ‘I sinned against this man once and that has marred our fantastic relationship’.
“The story as you put it down is not correct. You proposed Muraina for the job and we all accepted him for South-West and started to work. As a result, the then National Vice-Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo, wrote to the then Acting Chairman of PDP, Alhaji Haliru Mohammed Bello, on 12 May 2011 to put forward Muraina.
“I got a copy of that letter as Chair of BOT of PDP. It was unbelievable for me to hear that you later surreptitiously started prompting Mulikat, a lady from Ogbomoso, and you had started working behind the scene for her without coming back to tell me what had changed and why, nor go back to the South-West caucus. That, to me, is duplicity and I don’t play such a game.
“Alhaji Tajudeen Oladipo told me later the game that was played and in the end, you and the South-West were the losers. But you have apologised and I have forgiven and, of course, I am here. That too has also passed into history.”
Alao-Akala described himself as a product of God’s grace, saying God used some persons to lift him up.
He said God used former Inspector General of Police, late Sunday Adewusi, late Chief Lamidi Adedibu, and Chief Olusegun Obasanjo among others to lift him up at different times in his life.
The public presentation of the book was attended by dignitaries including Ekiti State Governor, Dr Kayode Fayemi; Oyo State Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan, who represented Governor Seyi Makinde; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oladunni Oyewumi; the Minister for Youth and Sports Development; Mr Sunday Dare; Dr Saka Balogun, former Military Governor of Oyo State, Brigadier General Oladayo Popoola (retd), Senator Brimo Yusuf and others.