Former Vice-president Atiku Abubakar has disclosed that he acted as a counterbalance to the scheming of former President Olusegun Obasanjo, his principal, who sought in 2003 to manipulate the electoral landscape in South Western states to bolster the Peoples Democratic Party’s (PDP) dominance in the region.
“…in 2003, the PDP took over all the South Western state with the exception of Lagos. I stood between Obasanjo and himself [Tinubu] and said no, you can’t take over Lagos. Leave it and he left it,” Mr Abubakar said.
The former vice-president was Speaking on Thursday in Abuja at a world press conference to address recent developments surrounding his quest to upturn the February 25 presidential election which he contested on the platform of the PDP against Mr Tinubu of the All Progressives Congress (APC).
The fierce legal and political battle to unseat President Tinubu have prompted questions about whether this is a personal betrayal of the friendship and camaraderie that once defined their relationship in the 2000s.
Mr Abubakar vehemently refuted these claims, asserting that it was, in fact, Mr Tinubu who owed him a debt of gratitude.
The discord between the two politicians reportedly originated when Mr Abubakar thwarted a plan to run a Muslim-Muslim ticket with Mr Tinubu during the 2007 elections. However, before this falling out, Mr Abubakar had stood up for Mr Tinubu’s interests in the 2003 elections, preserving Lagos State from the PDP’s sweeping ambitions.
Mr Abubakar remains committed to overturning the results of the 2023 presidential election. His focus has shifted from contesting the majority vote count to launching allegations of forgery against his opponent.
His legal team is gearing up to present their case before the Supreme Court, raising significant questions about the future of Nigerian politics and the potential ramifications of this legal battle on the nation’s political landscape.