By Ese Awhotu
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo has endorsed the candidature of former Vice President Atiku Abubakar as the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party, PDP, in the 2019 election.
Obasanjo declared his support for Atiku today after a close-door meeting with the former vice president, Chairman of the PDP Chief Uche Secondus and a former governor of Osun and Ogun states, Olagunsoye Oyinlola and other leaders of the PDP in his Abeokuta home in Ogun State.
Obasanjo said today that he has reviewed his decision not to support his former deputy for the presidency of Nigeria.
He said he believed Atiku has ‘re-discovered and re-positioned himself’ and is now good enough to enjoy his support in the next election.
He congratulated the Atiku for his success at the recent PDP Primary, taking note of his gracious remarks in his acceptance speech that it all started here.
His word; “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.”
Recall that Atiku was vice president to Obasanjo ruled Nigeria between 1999 and 2007.
Obasanjo, however, fell apart with Atiku over controversies surrounding his third term bid and other issues for which the ex- vice president declined his support.
The former president had declared that he would never forgive Atiku neither would he enjoy his support.
But, following Thursday’s closed door meeting with Atiku and other leaders of the PDP, the ex-president has finally thrown to the pits the seeming disagreement between the duos and declared his forgiveness and support for his former vice president ahead of the 2019 elections.