How Atiku and Ekwueme alliance collapsed in 2003 – Obasanjo
Former President Olusegun Obasanjo on Thursday recalled how the alliance between his ex-deputy, Atiku Abubakar, and the former vice president in the Second Republic, late Dr. Alex Ekwueme, collapsed ahead of the 2003 presidential election.
Obasanjo, who spoke at the public presentation of the biography of former Oyo State governor, Chief Adebayo Alao-Akala, said the alliance between the two former vice presidents collapsed after Ekwueme was defeated in the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) presidential primaries held in late 2002.
The book presentation was attended by the Ekiti State Governor, Dr. Kayode Fayemi; Oyo State Deputy Governor, Rauf Olaniyan; the Alaafin of Oyo, Oba Lamidi Adeyemi; the Olubadan of Ibadan, Oba Saliu Adetunji, the Soun of Ogbomoso, Oladunni Oyewumi; the Minister of Youth and Sports Development; Mr. Sunday Dare; Dr. Saka Balogun, and former Military Governor of Oyo State, Brig. Gen. Oladayo Popoola (retd), among others.
The ex-president described as incorrect a section of the book where the author claimed that Atiku backed down before the primary election.
He said: “Again, Atiku did not back down as you claimed until Alex Ekwueme was defeated at the primary of PDP in 2003. 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 the 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.”
He also faulted the roles played by Alao-Akala in the South West futile bid to produce the Speaker of the House of Representatives in 2011.
He added: “Bayo (Alao-Akala), 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 May 12, 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 you and, of course, I am here. That too has also passed into history.”