Atiku Abubakar, the presidential candidate of the Peoples Democratic Party PDP), is gradually making headway in his mission to win the heart of former President Olusegun Obasanjo.
Obasanjo is not the biggest fan of Atiku’s, the duo having endured a fractious relationship for more than a decade, starting from the latter years of their Aso Rock reign.
Just in April, Obasanjo, when asked if he would support Atiku’s presidential aspiration, answered: “For what”? “How can I be on the same side with Atiku? To do what?” he had asked.
“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.
“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.”
To Atiku’s credit, he launched a charm offensive on his former boss minutes after he was declared winner of the PDP presidential primary on Sunday, telling the crowd towards the end of his acceptance speech: “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 learned 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.”
Obasanjo’s hard stance against Atiku is gradually softening, and he is poised to “eventually endorse Atiku”. “Baba believes that Buhari is too rigid, and you know Baba said a long time ago that Buhari should go and rest in 2019,” a source close to the Owu-born politician said on Tuesday.
“Yes, Atiku and Baba have a history. But these days, he has been saying Atiku, despite all his foibles, will at least create more jobs and help to revive the ailing economy.” Since leaving office in 2007, Obasanjo has publicly backed or rejected an incumbent or incoming President.
He rejected Goodluck Jonathan in 2015 while endorsing Buhari; however, in January 2018, he rejected Buhari’s re-election bid with a ‘letter bomb’.