He is only a few minutes into his emergence as presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) at the 2019 general election, but former Vice President Atiku Abubakar is already setting about the business of wooing both his friends and enemies, all in a bid to bolster his arsenal ahead of the battle ahead.
While delivering his acceptance speech after he was officially declared winner of the primary with 1,532 votes to Aminu Tambuwal’s 693, Atiku thanked former President Olusegun Obasanjo for picking him as his Vice President in 1999, saying without this, he could never have become the PDP presidential candidate today.
Atiku’s words were clearly to woo his ex-boss, who has minced no words in saying he would never support Atiku to become President.
Only two months ago, Obasanjo had said: “How can I be on the same side with Atiku? To do what?
“If I support Atiku for anything, God will not forgive me. If I do not know, yes. But once I know, Atiku can never enjoy my support. I do not have personal grudges with anyone. If you do not do well for Nigeria, you do not do well for all of us.
“It is not a question of working with or not working with an individual,” he said. “If you are working for the good of Nigeria, I am working with you. If you are not working for the good of Nigeria it does not matter who you are I am not working with you.”
Despite having knowledge of Obasanjo’s perception of him, Atiku said on Sunday while accepting to be PDP candidate: “Finally, on a personal note, I wouldn’t have been standing where I am today if my former boss, President Olusegun Obasanjo, had not made me his Vice President.
“Under his tutelage, I learnt quite a lot, and I believe the experience I have got is going to impact on how I eventually govern this country. I wish to pay my personal tribute to him.”
It remains to be seen if Atiku’s latest charm offensive would convince Obasanjo to pipe down on his aversion to the presidential ambition of his one-time deputy.